“C'mon,” he mumbled to his windshield “Clear up a little. I have to see a little better.”
The windshield of his Ford Focus was fogged except for two little clear spots near the defroster vents. Dave had to lean forward and side to side to see through his portals to the road. Dave was going to fix the defroster, as soon as he got home, as soon as he decided where home was going to be.
Highway 340 is in the western edge of the northern half of Virginia. It is a two-lane highway that was ten miles east of Interstate 81 snaking its way through the poor, rural areas. Dave had left Interstate 81 an hour earlier. Several accidents in the snow and ice had all but stopped traffic on the Interstate. Dave pulled off on an exit near a town whose name he couldn't remember to try this road. Someone had told him about the scenic drive on this highway four hours earlier. He was lucky he remembered that brief conversation while getting gas. He thought he was lucky when he exited the Interstate, but now he was reconsidering.
Dave had been driving for 13 hours. At least he thought it was 13 hours. He had passed through towns named Grove Hill, Newport, and Battle Creek. Luray was coming next. Or had he passed through Luray? Or was Battle Creek next? The signs on the side of the road had run together in Dave's mind. He rubbed his cheeks with the sleeve of his shirt. It was wet from vainly wiping at the windshield, and the cool wetness revived him for a moment more.
Dave sped up when the road became straight and black. He slowed when it became curved or white with snow and ice. Speed up, slow down, wipe the windshield, wipe my face, repeat the cycle. There were no other cars on the road at this time of night – or was it morning – so drift over the center line here and there to straighten the curves and miss the snow.
Every now and then the windshield wipers would groan when the windshield became dry. Those wipers weren't doing much good as they were coated with ice. It must be 25 degrees or something below freezing out there. Ice also coated the radio antenna. It grew thicker until it was like a pool cue, then it would all clunk off and start forming again. Dave had tried several times in the last hour to find a radio station, but nothing was there. He was sure his radio worked, so it must be the mountains or the weather stopping the usually clear AM stations at this time of night.