Magazine January 23, 2012, Issue

Rural Repast

At Norm’s Diner in Los Angeles, Calif. (Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters)

What in the world was that? Ahead of us on the dark road (night falls before five o’clock this time of year, and there are few houses to break the gloom), six red lights appeared, arranged in a triangle: three-two-one. A Christmas tree? Some unknown traffic signal? They moved along ahead of us at cruising speed for a mile or two as we followed the creek. But at the stoplight before the bridge, we caught up to them, and saw that they were lights on the back of a large fuel truck.

Only an emergency would bring such a rig out

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