Five times a year, I go back there. I don't know why it isn't six or twelve; five just feels right.
It's a quiet drive, but not peaceful; although it's only a hundred miles as the crow flies, the mountains make it into a 300 mile squiggle of steep ascents and sudden turns. I thread my car through their twisting gray slopes, like a Parkinson's patient doing needlework.
In the winter it's damn near impossible to get there in anything less than seven hours. Minutes tick by as I get stuck behind one tractor-trailer, then another. They struggle up the grade, and I follow in their slushy tracks. When my tires slip, which they always do, my heart beats a thumping staccato in my chest. I've hit a lot of gray sludge that made me think twice about the whole thing, but I've never turned around. I always make it.
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