Trina Machacek: Sun Seen
When you plan a road trip here is a tip. Leave early in the morning. Really early. Like just before the sun comes up early. The driving that early is great. It is a little cooler, the traffic is usually light. Seeing the sunrise is such a spirit lifter! A new day starts and you get to take a stab at making as many mistakes as you did the day before. How lucky is that? But, yea I’m sticking a but in here. But travel this early only if you are going west. If your trip is taking you to the east you might consider leaving a little bit later. Here’s why…
I took off from my house on a trip to Reno, which is west of where I am. I left at around 6 a.m. It was just as I said, really a nice drive down Highway 50, yes, yes the loneliest highway in America, and I like it. Saw some deer, coyotes, the odd gathering of crows, (or were they ravens?), munching on a fresh breakfast of squished rabbit and I even passed a few hearty souls traveling by bikes. Every time I see bike riders slugging out the jaunt of Highway 50 I remind myself that as soon as I get home I’m going to get on my bike and work toward doing that ride. Good thing I have a short memory. Whew, dodged that bullet. Well, maybe one day. Peddling along.
It just happened to be a full moon so as the sun was coming up behind me the moon was setting in front of me. Kinda magical actually. Anyway I was zipping down the road and the sun came up in my rear view mirror and then it started to happen. The drivers I met suddenly were in the spotlight. Each one, as the sun rose, were thrust into a very bright light that put them in my line of sight in varying stages of brightness.
I do not recommend traveling east as the sun comes up because let’s face it, as you face the sun you just can’t see very well for a while. I noticed the first of an ongoing show as a little car and I met just as the first rays of sun shone brightly—in his face. As we passed all I could see was a hand and his lower lip. I don’t know if he even saw me he was covering his eyes so much.
The next vehicle was a few miles further and maybe 10 more minutes had passed which took the sun up a little further. But not far enough. Even though he had his visor down he was still trying to use his hand to blot out the bright yellow dot in his field of vision. I know all he had in his view was a thin line of brightness and me coming at him at 70 mph. Spooky huh?
Then there was a stretch of no cars until I got a flash of light in my eyes that reflected the sun off of a flat windshield of an 18 wheeler. By the time we passed my eyes were fine but he on the “other” hand — he was using that “other” hand to block out the sunshine and he also had the brim of his cap pulled down enough so that all I saw of him was that he had one of those beard/moustaches that surround a man’s mouth and that his mouth was wide open as he was yawning. So in a flash I got sight of a big ole open mouth and a red tongue surrounded by hair. All happily displayed by the sun’s brighter than a Broadway opening light display.
OK, to recap the visual: he couldn’t see because of the sun, he’s driving, covering his eyes with his hat and with his hand and he was yawning so his eyes were probably already partially closed because remember it was like 6:45 by then. How safe do you feel now? Guess what I’m getting at is that if you find you have to travel east in the morning, leave just a little later so the sun is up enough that you don’t have to fight it. Like those poor guys did. Truthfully, would 30 minutes really make that big of a difference?
As I write this I am in Reno and I will be going east toward home tomorrow. I want to get an early start because as soon as I get home there will be like a million things to do so I want to get home early. But I have decided that I really don’t need to leave until Mr. Sunshine will not be sending daggers into my eyeballs! Apparently recent events in my life have made me a titch more in tune with ease and safety. Live ’n’ learn every single day!
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at email@example.com. Really!