|It was a great night for some Storm Highway photography. Friday nights like these were optimal, since I could stay out late and drive as far as I needed to catch a storm - then sleep in the next day. The flashes on the nothern horizon looked very promising this night, so I headed north on Interstate 79 toward them.
At Clendenin, I was getting closer, and it was time to hone in on an intercept. I exited the highway and continued north on the parallel two-lane road in search of a good place to set up the cameras. It wasn't long before I was right under the cells, driving in pouring rain. I wanted to try and get north of the storms, and let them pass slowly over me while my cameras rolled. But doing so would be tricky on the wet, curvy roads I was on.
I was no stranger to slick roads while covering storms. I'd seen cars spin out before, and wasn't about to tempt the same fate. I eased along at 40 MPH on the 55 MPH roads as I entered the small town of Walton, in Roane County. I passed through the streetlight-lit center of town and back into the dark, driving rain. I then rounded a gentle left-hand curve to see my headlights illuminate a house and garage less than 200 feet directly in front of me.
I had either missed the signs warning about the abrupt, 90-degree turn just outside town. Either that, or there were no signs. My inital reaction did nothing but lock up my front wheels. Within seconds, I was off the road. I corrected the slide quickly with several pumps of the brake pedal, and came to a stop - in the middle of a driveway of someone's house, 20 feet from their garage door, and only 30 feet from a truck parked alongside the road. No scratches, no collisions, no ruts, no damage. My tires never left a paved surface, I had slid straight down a driveway! I backed up onto the road and continued north - knowing I had yet another story to tell.
. . . Lord, you're the best.