Of cookies, car crashes, and cream

Before I tell you how my car and I ended up in a 9 feet deep ditch, stuck in about a feet and a half of snow, I need to tell you about the cake I bought just before that happened.

I don’t normally buy cake. Not because I’m on a diet, because I’m not, but because – well, it’s such an inconvenient snack. I can’t eat a whole one, they’re kind of expensive, and on top of that they’re impractical to eat while driving.

But I bought one anyway, in a surprisingly well stocked supermarket in Buffalo, Wyoming, just before I was going to drive through Bighorn National Forest, where my car would spin out of control and I would end up in the aforementioned ditch.

I was looking for protein, and I found it too, a nicely roasted chicken from the deli, which for some reason was positioned not one yard from the bakery, where my gaze fell upon this cake. It was a cookies and cream cake.

We don’t have those in Holland, but we really should. I mean, cookies AND cream. That’s like having nirvana AND heaven, all at the same time, except this would only cost me seven bucks, not some lifelong commitment to a religion.

I just had to have it.

The elderly gent at the register asked me if it was my birthday or if I just thought it looked good. I responded affirmatively to the latter, still not really understanding why I was buying this cake myself.

My state of being utterly confounded with myself only increased when, back in the car, I ate my lunch: two huge pears and a muffin that I had pocketed at the breakfast buffet at the Marriott in Deadwood, where I had left this morning for the 513 mile trip to Jackson, Wyoming.

I put the cake in the back of my Honda and securely fastened it before driving off. Yesterday’s storm had long since passed and the roads were in reasonable condition. I expected to arrive in Jackson at about half past five. That is, until I hit a patch of black ice at 55 miles an hour.

Turns out that those slippery driving courses are only modestly effective in teaching you how to deal with road surfaces that are made of teflon. Maybe that’s too harsh. They helped a little. Near the end, I managed to recover out of the spin, which was good. The bad thing was that by then the Honda was within inches of the ditch. I was going down.


I smelled oil, I smelled ozone, but the car still worked. Yet, despite having an all wheel drive vehicle, the snow was stacked too high to break loose.

It didn’t take two minutes for someone to stop, and that is how I met Gerry and his 5.6 liter truck. Apparently I was lucky, said Gerry, because this road normally wouldn’t have been that busy this time of year. This didn’t stop three other cars from pulling over within the next ten minutes. Funny, how it gets crowded just when it’s convenient.

Gerry and I managed to get the Honda back on the road within ten minutes. After that, Gerry wanted to drive off towards his cabin in the woods (yes, I am a Whedon groupie). Then I remembered.

The cake.

I told Gerry to wait a minute and opened the back of my car. The cake was still there, and completely undamaged. I gave it to Gerry, who politely refused to accept it despite looking at it greedily. I didn’t need to insist too firmly.

He drove off, and so did I, to traverse the remaining 300 or so miles to Jackson, where I’ve just arrived after a 81 mile drive in the dark through a mountain pass where it had started snowing again. But apart from swerving a couple of times and encountering several near-suicidal deer, nothing eventful happened.

Bit tired and hungry now.

Glad I’ve still got that chicken.

(I wrote this story on December 17, 2015. Interested in hiring me? Click here and let’s work something out. I’m looking forward to working with you!)