Wondering about wild grapes

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wandering into the fog. . .

It is foggy throughout all East Texas this morning. It is not too thick, but I have been fooled before. Back when I was talked into taking on a full time job for a short period, I would leave home here with light fog like you see in these pictures that I took this morning:

The white dot in this next picture must have been from the flash going off and catching a water droplet in the air:
After I left the house and started out toward the Houston area, it would get thicker and thicker and thicker until you couldn’t see two car lengths ahead of you.

What was the thickest that you ever saw fog? I remember three times when I was in fog so thick, if you stuck your arm straight out in front of you, you couldn’t see your hand!! Well, almost.

Yep, you guessed it; I am going to bore you with the three stories. I will tell them in chronological order.

The first was when I was a young teenager and out deer hunting in the woods behind my parents’ home. There were still patches of snow left after a warm spell melted most of it and then the temperature dropped quickly to the dew point and the fog got so thick that I couldn’t see to get home. It was the strangest and spookiest thing I had ever seen. It happened so fast and it was so thick that you couldn’t see more than two or three feet. I just had to lean against a tree and wait until the fog lifted to find my way home, and I knew that woods like the back of my hand. It was unbelievable.

The second time was when my date (my future wife) and I were returning from a school basketball game. We got into such a thick fog that we couldn’t see the road. In fact, we couldn’t see the hood ornament. Being on a narrow country road, and knowing that no one could see to drive in this, I drove over to the left side of the road, opened my door and looked straight down to see the edge of the road, and drove on that way. Had my future wife watching for headlights or anything that might show up in front of us. We crept along until we got to where the fog was lifting and then all was well.

OK, I have covered driving and walking; now I will tell you about boating. Anyone who has spent any time at all boating in fresh or salt water has been in bad fog a time or two or so. It can be very confusing. Back before GPS systems, it could get dang right scary. Even if you had navigation equipment back then, depending on how many radio signal sources you could receive, you could only get a general location. Usually it was not good enough to find an inlet in thick fog.

When I was working a project on the East Coast, a neighbor had a small 18 or 19 foot boat with one outboard motor. He would ask me to go along when he wanted to go offshore fishing. Since I loved offshore fishing, I gladly went along, even though I knew that was not the safest boat to be out 20 or more miles from shore.

We were only out about 10 miles or so one day and spotted a strange dark mass moving up the coast. At first we thought that it was a storm and after observing it with binoculars, it was determined to be a very large and thick fog bank and it was heading straight for the inlet; strange thing for the middle of the day. My neighbor headed straight for the inlet as fast as his little boat could go. We didn’t make it. Fog got there first.

He got us to where he believed the inlet was and headed slowly into the fog. You couldn’t see the front of the boat from the rear. I was sent to the bow to watch for breakers. He didn’t want to run up on the beach. The boat would then be swamped from the breaking waves. I hung over the bow trying to see. It all sounded like surf, but until I saw the water start to break away under the bow, I didn’t realize just how close we were. I yelled for him to reverse and fast.

Whee yooo, we just made it out of there, barely. We did make it in, but not without a few close calls.

Fog makes for some beautiful pictures. It can be real pretty but at the same time, it can be real deadly. It is also amazing that when you can not see anything, you loose all sense of direction.

How is the fog in your area today, and do you have any good fog stories to tell?


  1. Like you I have experienced the dense heavy fog near the oceans. The earliest I can remember had to be about 1965 or thereabouts, headed into Houston on ole Hi way 59. It got so thick that I had the drivers door cracked open to see the yellow strips and my buddy was watching for the white line on the other side. ran a couple of stop lights that we didn't see till it was too late.

    Out in Galveston Bay early one Sunday catching fish like crazy when the fog rolled in on us. like you could barely see the front of the boat from the back. Fired up the motor and eased East till I could hear the big ships in the ship channel, then turned due north and eased a long till I "thought" the entrance to Clear Lake and home should be to my left. turned 90 dgs and kept at an idle till I could hear car traffic on the highway then just slowly idled along till we heard the horn on the draw bridge and turned toward that. The pilings and the lights on the bride were a welcome site for sure. Made it back into my home port. Scary,,
    We experienced a lot of weird weather along and just offshore the Texas coast those years, including outrunning and dodging tornadoes/water spouts.

  2. Yep Ben, we were camping at Galveston State Park on winter and the fog got so thick you could walk along the edhge and hear the breakers but couldn't see them. Also was fishing in the bay and got drenched by a water spout.

  3. I ran into thick fog years ago driving home late one night in tennessee, I didnt get lost, but thought I was going to. And I had also traveled this road many times, I was by myself and it was scary. I am following your blog, you are welcome to follow mine as well, Blessings jane

  4. I have driven through thick fog near Hazelton, PA several times, as well as the tule fog that plagues the Central Valley of California this time of year. The worst I have ever driven is was in Ireland. I lived at the end of a peninsula and was surrounded by the sea, and shouldn't have even been out at night on such a foggy evening, that got worse as it got later. Fortunately I didn't meet anyone else on the twisty roads.

  5. Jane, thanks for taking the time to read my blog. My first two fog stories where in the Eastern Pennsylvanian hills, similar to Tennessee. Your last post to your blog was so heartwarming.

    Gypsy, I'll bet that peninsula in Ireland was really foggy. Glad you didn't meet anyone. I guess you and me are the only crazy ones out there in the fog :-0