Ben's Babbles: I'll leave the spinouts to the pros, thank you very much

January 21, 2012

I grew up wanting to be an astronaut. Or a baseball or basketball player. I don't think rally car driver was amongst them. And after Sunday, it still probably won't be.

As I was returning to Hood River Sunday night I passed through a snowstorm between Corbett and Multnomah Falls. Then the snow gave way to clouds, and the clouds to clear skies as I traveled east of Cascade Locks.

I was thinking to myself how easy this trip wound up being considering I was expecting snow the whole way.

Then as I came down the hill just west of Mitchell Point, I looked down at my odometer. I was speeding up, and I didn't have my foot on the gas. Nor did I seem to have much control of the car.

I was on black ice.

I slid toward the ditch on the right side of the road, corrected, and then hit another patch.

The result of that was a 540-degree spin. I just missed the center divide once, and then missed it again on the next spin around and wound up facing the wrong way on the freeway.

It's funny what goes through your mind as the world spins. My first thought was to wonder which way you turn in an ice skid, with it or against it (go with the skid). Then as I saw the center divider slide past my windshield my next thought was: "Oh come on, I just paid to have the windshield replaced; can we not do this today?"

Thankfully, the oncoming semi was far enough away that it was able to go around, as were the three cars behind it. I was able to pull a three-point turn, remove myself from the cloud of burned rubber smoke, and get home.

I saved any thanks to my guardian angels until after I was already home; I figured anything more than a brief "Thanks" while sitting on the highway would be inviting another semi to come along.

At least now I?can say I've done a spinout in my car. It may not have been in victory lane, but hey, we take what we can get.

I have now driven alongside an actual rally car driver, Ken Block, and done a semi-decent ice impression of it myself.

Now about that professional baseball contract, or astronaut training ...

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