I thought all I had to do was throw my stuff into my car and drive out of Gone West. And that was true, to a certain extent, except that it turned out that I had a lot of stuff. A lot a lot of stuff. More stuff than could fit into my car.
It took me about six hours of tetris to fit most of it into my car, and also I threw away things I intended to keep, and also I left a few things in my old basement that I will have to pick up the next time I am in Gone West (sorry, roommates!).
By this time, it was 2 pm, and it had started to snow.
It doesn't snow in Gone West very often, so everyone panics when it does. Cars line up to flee the city.
I joined them, but for a different reason. I wasn't trying to flee.
Just outside of the Gone West metro area, I moved left and slowed down to drive around a group of stopped cars, only to see that one of the cars was actually a van, on its side. I stopped, along with a couple of other cars, to see if there was anything I could do. I was certified in CPR a couple of years ago, I reminded myself.
There was only one man in the van, and he was bleeding pretty badly from his head, but the rest of him seemed okay. He had apparently been driving westbound on the highway before he flipped the van three times onto the far side of the eastbound lanes. Several people from the westbound lanes stopped, too, and one of them said that the van had passed him a ways back, going way too fast. "I'm surprised he made it this far," he said.
Once we-the-group had established that the guy was okay, found some blankets that had fallen out of the back of his van to cover him, retrieved gauze from someone's first aid kit to apply to his bleeding head, determined that emergency personnel were on their way, and removed most of the debris from the middle of the highway (apparently some people carry brooms in their vehicles), most of us left. Soon after I drove away, I saw the ambulance and police car heading toward the scene.
I thought the weather would clear once I got out of the strange little weather system that is Gone West, surrounded by mountains, but this did not happen.
For hours, I drove through whiteout snow, trying hard to keep my car on the road, watching the reflector poles on the side of the highway to gauge if I was still approximately in my lane. Semis roared by me. I rarely got above 40 miles per hour.
I gave up and got a hotel around 8 pm. I'd barely made it 200 miles from Gone West, but at least I had gotten started.