Opening the Road—A Tale of “Not Too Smart”
About three miles west of Soda Springs, Idaho, and right next to highway 30, is a body of water known as Alexander reservoir. When I was in high school in Soda Springs during the early1950s, there was a road that was part of a loop around the south side of this body of water.
It was a county road not normally kept open during the winter months. The Bear River ran in a configuration that required a bridge across that stream at both ends of the reservoir. The one on the east end was dubbed by local residents as the first bridge; the one on the west was the second bridge.
It was a nice warm spring day in April. A bunch of us guys were riding around during our lunch hour wondering what we could do until it was time to go back to class.
Someone suggested we take a cruise around the backside of Alexander reservoir to the second bridge. This was a loop of about eight miles; four miles down the back country road and across the second bridge where we would pick up highway 30 and head back to town with ample time to make it to class by one o’clock.
So that’s what we decided to do. We were in a classmate’s 1949 Chevrolet convertible. It was dark maroon with a white top. It was a classy car, often referred to by our peers as the girl magnet. But I digress. We started around the road toward second bridge. We crossed the first bridge and were tooling down the road when a couple of snow drifts loomed up ahead of us.
As we approached these drifts we contemplated whether we should try going through them, or turn around and abandon our adventure. As we got closer, our classmate who owned the car turned to me and said, “Looks like we’ll have to turn around. We can’t make it through that snowdrift.” He owned this car in partnership with his older brother, and he knew if he caused any damage to this vehicle, he would be in deep trouble with big brother. I looked at the drifts and thought they were not all that formidable. I was certain they were soft enough, and small enough, that with a little speed and momentum, we could smash through them. Beyond those drifts, it looked as though the road was bare and dry, and we would have clear sailing the rest of the way around the loop. I conveyed these thoughts to my friend.
Still, he was apprehensive, and he started to slow down in preparation to turn around. There were six of us in the car, three in front; three in the back seat. I was in the middle in the front seat. I was still certain we could make it through, so I reached over with my foot and pushed the accelerator to the floor. The car surged ahead. The first drift was not as soft as I had anticipated. In fact it was more like a sloping iceberg. When we reached it, the drift served as a ramp. The car rolled up to the top where it became airborne for about twenty feet landing in the middle of the second drift which was much softer.
This stopped us completely. The impact caused the hood and trunk lids to pop open, scattering debris from inside the trunk helter-skelter all around the car. Add to this the fact that we were also stuck. Needless to say, my popularity rating took a sudden nose dive at that point in time. Fortunately, no major damage was inflicted on the car, and luckily, amongst the debris, were a couple of shovels. After about two hours of intense shoveling, we managed to dig ourselves out. We made it back in time for a couple of late afternoon classes, but had some explaining to do about why we were late. If there is a positive note to this tale, it would be that our little excursion, and my lapse of common sense, saved the county the expense of opening the road to future travelers.
Now, I’d like to take a minute to tell you about a new novel I have written, entitled LouIsa—Iron Dove Of The Frontier. It’s a story about a well educated strong, but genteel Western woman of the Frontier. She rides, herds cattle, and shoots with the best of men, but also has the finesse to fit right in with Vassar graduates. She also plays classical piano in Frontier saloons. You can read more about her and read some excerpts from the book by clicking on the “Books” page at the top of this website. Enjoy.