That is how quick that I developed my newest, most intense fear.
It happened last year, but I was reminded of it today with our less than stellar weather.
We were on vacation, nonetheless, when this developing took place.....
Yes, here I was, out with the family, immediate and extended, enjoying ten days of riding four-wheelers in the mountains.....
when BAM!, I turned into a freakin' scaredy cat to the core. And I must say, rightfully so.
Now my version of what happened varies from Steven's version. This is expected. He is, after all, a man. And well.... you know how men are.
The first day of riding was fairly uneventful....(snicker, snicker)....if you consider the descent and ascent of the Devils Punchbowl uneventful. (If you are wondering......check it out here. I do not know these people but their description is fairly accurate.)
The second day of riding, well, it didn't go as well. We started out going through the ghost town of Tin Cup, CO. We enjoyed breathtaking scenery...beautiful lakes, gorgeous mountain views...it was truly picturesque. We crossed over the continental divide and made our descent into another ghost town, St. Elmo, and yes, this one did have a fire.......
After climbing to a lofty, 16,000+ feet, we returned the way we came, stopping to eat our packed lunch on the side of the road, in St. Elmo.
This, my friends, is where the fun began.......
Quicker than I ever thought possible, the sky turned pitch black. I MEAN BLACK. Rainfall-read: a downpour- seemed inevitable. We all donned our rain suits and started the trail back home, and yes, back over the continental divide. The group took off fast.....with the us being somewhere close to the back of the pack. We had to head through 10 miles of timber along the mountain side before the treeline stopped and we climbed the next 3 miles to the continental divide. We were making decent speed while trying to go slow enough not to jar us to death. The rain had started to come and I was shielding the kids from the onslaught. Although we had no roof, we had a windshield that took the brunt of the rain.
Yes, please take note, we (second from left) did indeed, have a windshield.......
We continued picking up speed to catch up with those ahead of us. We came upon my sister and her boyfriend in the middle of the trail.
"What are you doing Sarah?", I yelled up ahead to her, only to notice that she was crying. Hysterically.
"What is wrong with you?"
"Lightning! It hit not 20 feet over there" pointing her finger while sobbing.......
"Well," said me with my sisterly wisdom, "we aren't getting any closer to the trucks sitting here....we have got to get back..... Let's just continue on...."
So, we did. God, however, had other plans. AGAIN.
We, along with Sarah and Jason, made it approximately 50 feet when lightning streaked in front of us while our windshield, and only protection, simultaneously exploded.
And, yes, exploded is the only word that accurately describes what it did.
Folks, it did not look like this. Imagine a gazillion little pieces of glass in a 20 foot radius of the Ranger......
The kids were miraculously unharmed, and Steven and I only received a few minor cuts to our hands and faces.
Now it was my turn to be the one hysterically sobbing.
Picture, two women hysterically sobbing, two kids looking at us for answers why, and two men thinking we were nuts.
I still maintain that they, the men, were as scared as us, but couldn't (wouldn't) act like it.
We stayed put for approximately 30 minutes....the whole time Sarah begging to go back to the vacant church in St. Elmo. I wonder if she would still feel that way if she knew it was haunted?
Lucky for us, we managed to slide in behind the first storm and stay in front of the second as we skirted over the top of the Continental Divide. The other members of our group who went ahead of us got caught in wicked lightning and hail...... we managed to hardly even get wet. Once again, God slowed us down. And I am thankful......I would have preferred a deep gentle voice reminding me from somewhere beyond the mountain top, but instead, I got lightning......
and because of that, a goose bump raising fear anytime I hear the menacing sound of thunder.
If I am inside the house, I am good. If I am anywhere outside in the elements.... um, not so good.
As I said earlier, Steven and my story differs. And this is why:
He, in his I-am-a-man-i-know-everything-about-mountains-and-four-wheelers-way, thinks that apparently, we must have struck a rock at the EXACT, hear me, EXACT millisecond that the lightning flashed and SOMEHOW that caused the windshield to explode..... Um, sure. Whatever.
While I might not go as far as to claim that I have survived actually being struck, or rather, the Ranger actually being struck, by lightning, I do believe......with all of my scientific knowledge, that the extreme temperature change (cold, rainy mountain top vs. extremely HOT lightning bolt) caused our windshield to meet its demise. This makes sense to me. Because I am telling you, THE LIGHTNING WAS THAT CLOSE!
So, Sarah, as you are now on your relaxing, spa resort vacation, just think about how even if the weather is less than stellar where you are now....... it could be worse. Much worse.