Heading back up the hill, it was rainy and foggy, but not at all troublesome on the roads. Until I came to the last road of the night.
Roughly a mile of road, almost entirely downhill, twisting and turning, paralleling a stream and a major gully for a good bit of it, and only halfway paved... The paving was fine.
Below the paving, where it had been well sanded and graded snow on my way out -- it was a sheet of lubricated ice for my return, as the rain had washed away the upper layers of snow and sand. I was doing 20 mph or so when I hit it.
This was faster than I wanted for that surface, and I tried to gently brake -- and had my first real encounter with ABS as my brake pedal fought back at the lightest touch. Not a good sign. OK, so I down-shifted to second and then to first, and gently corrected for the minor fishtailing shimmy I developed...
Still going faster than I wanted, and not entirely in control, I drifted between the snowbanked sides of the road for a bit, had a brief encounter with the right-hand snowbank, hoping it might slow me down without requiring a full crash, and then was back to the left -- this time, not eating snowbank, just hugging it, and having more, almost normal, control.
Slowing down became possible as I hit one of the brief terrace/uphills, and I brought things down to 5 mph for the remaining chunk of road, as I passed the neighbor's houses, and pulled into the driveway for the night.
I parked well away from the buildings, as much of the driveway was just as much of a rain-slicked glacier as the hillside, and I felt better about falling on my ass than bumping into anything else with the Brand New Car...
Over the next half-hour or hour, the others who would make it home drifted in -- with tales of a 270° spin, a 360° spin, another 360° spin... and I felt better about my own handling of the nasty road. One carload called after having slid off the road, and announced they were staying at the top of the hill with a neighbor.
This afternoon when I left, the town road crew had been at work, and there was no longer any ice or snow on the road -- neither on the tar nor on the dirt.
Along my drive home, I stopped to get a burrito from Fresh City, and I noticed that I had actually done a small bit of damage to the front fender. I'm not sure it counts as damage, as it *appears* that I'm just missing some plastic body-pins that hold the mudguard to the fender. I'm hoping I can get those replaced quick-and-easy, and that there's not actual damage from their forcible extraction.
Now, it's An Inconvenient Truth and the "update with Al Gore" that is included on the DVD, on Showtime. Later, it will be The Dresden Files and Battlestar Galactica, and then to bed.