Driving in the wind has always caused me anxiety—especially since I have had a car that is a little less than stable in high winds. Loose suspension or something like that. It’s an older car, but a really nice car. Classic Beemer. It’s fine in normal conditions—which definitely did not apply last night.
Driving to the Bay Area, in the light of late afternoon, was fine, although a big windy, moderate wind. But the return trip was a different story. Wind buffeted my car along the 680 corridor, causing a tighter grip on the steering wheel. Then, the bridge.
The Carquinez Bridge. The first new suspension bridge built in the Bay Area since 1937. Even with the list of “features” to assure: the first suspension bridge in the U.S. with an aerodynamic steel deck, concrete towers, shaft foundations, concrete towers in a high seismic zone, the wind, and driving 400 feet up over cold currents, erased all “safe” thoughts.
A quick Google—today, on a calm day with just enough breeze to ruffle the autumn leaves—reads: High winds on I-80 W Westbound on Carquinez Bridge (Vallejo) Traffic Advisory in effect. Had I known that, I would not have crossed. The moment I passed through the toll gate and got out over the water, I felt the power. Winds sweeping across the Carquinez Strait, causing a death grip on the steering wheel (and my knee under the wheel for extra stability). Everyone creeped across at speeds around 30 mph so I wasn’t alone. The three-quarters mile across felt like a million as I focused on singing along with the “70’s at 7:00” station, even the stupidest songs ever written, not willing for a split second to take my hand off the wheel to turn the dial. If this wasn’t enough, dead ahead, in my lane, I saw a shadowy figure (I have new spectacles on order for night driving) and as I squinted to see just what it was, I saw a huge, metal wheelbarrow smack in front of me! Thank God, I had time to maneuver around it without being hit. I did get a honk, but hey, what were my options? My shoulders felt as if they were being pulled out of their sockets as my fingers went numb grasping the steering wheel, and then, I was, once again, on land.
Wind continued along the dark stretch of freeway but now, it was huge rolling tumbleweeds that rolled by in a fluff and not metal wheelbarrows. I asked myself, was it worth it? The trip? The potential outcome? The chance to create freedom for my future? To help someone? My answer: YES. Doing things we fear—even ones we don’t plan for—makes us tougher and more able to withstand the obstacles we face. Not physical obstacles like big, rusty wheelbarrows, but things such as: indifference, negativity, folks with no direction in life; financial struggles, unfulfilled dreams and so many more. Lesson learned. And a sunny, calm day for a reward. Thank you God.