Neither black nor ice

During the winter, you get lots of warnings about frozen zones on the road that you can’t see at night; you don’t get so many about unfrozen zones on the road that you don’t notice in broad daylight. One of the latter got me yesterday afternoon after a grocery run.

The scene: Eastbound on NW 36th at Portland. There’d been about a quarter-inch of rain, and everywhere the pavement is irregular, there’s likely to be a puddle of some sort. (And as anyone who drives 36th knows, there are lots of places where the pavement is irregular.) The light turned green; I gave Gwendolyn a light tap on the throttle, she moved forward a couple of inches, and suddenly we found ourselves separated from the pavement by a thin layer of either greasy water or watery grease. (There are two filling stations at that intersection, which may or may not be a factor.) The tach rose with vigor, topping out at about 5400 rpm, before the transmission felt compelled to shift and the tires started to bite again.

To the presumed delight of the folks in adjacent lanes, I did not spin; my progress out of the pond was straight and true, if a little nerve-wracking. (Traction control? Never heard of it.) As is typical with jackrabbit starts in this car, the 1-2 shift happens faster than the accumulator can accumulate, so there was a palpable thump. No harm, no foul; but I kept the speed down a bit for the rest of the trip home.

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