Saturday, December 19, 2009
I tend to think that I can handle all sorts of situations. The first night I was ever in Los Angeles there was a 7.1 earthquake at 3:30am and I was riding my bed on the 25th floor of a downtown hotel - no sweat. Then there was the time I was rock hunting in the upper peninsula of Michigan and came within 20ft of a full grown cougar in the wild, piece of cake. Venomous snakes in North Carolina? Pllllease. Yesterday though I truly felt I was in some real do-do.
The whole point was to grant a Christmas wish for my daughter Miss Geoness. She really wanted to spend the holidays with her family in Michigan. It's all she really wanted and I was dead set to getting her there. Until I saw on Thursday about the blizzard that was going to go through directly along out path. The only possible solution was to leave REALLY early on Friday instead of Saturday and try to beat the storm. If I couldn't make it back to Raleigh until Sunday then no big deal but at least Amanda could make it to Michigan.
The plan was pretty straight forward. I would leave 4:00am and drive straight through to Marietta, Ohio and meet up with the Grand Parents. That was a little more than half way and they could take her back to their house. Then I would book it back to North Carolina and try to beat out the storm. Ah the greatest plans of mice and men. The first part went very smoothly and we were out the door and travelling as expected. I was listening to the weather reports telling me how western North Carolina, Virginia and southern West Virginia were expecting anywhere from 12 to 28 inches of snow later in the day. This was not giving me that warm fuzzy feeling by any means. Yet I felt good when I made it to Marietta in just around 6.5 hours and it was only 10:30am. I said my greetings and gave my daughter the biggest hug before watching them drive north. Now it was my turn to drive into the belly of the beast.
Heading south I listened to each and every weather report I could in West Virginia. It sounded like the storm wouldn't be hitting Charleston until around 7pm so I was pretty confident that I wouldn't get stuck in a snowbank anywhere in West Virginia. It sprinkled slightly every once in a while in the mountains but no major concerns, onward I drove. Then came Virginia. Like someone flipping a light switch the heavy snowflakes came down and visibility dropped to about 100 feet or so. I knew this was the area that was going to get it the worst and I had to just buck it up and get through it.
"I can do this", I said to myself. Then I hit my first 5% truck grade. In all my driving experience I have never physically soiled myself but if there was ever a time that this unfortunate condition was going to transpire, this was it. Looking down the very long slope which just happened to end in sharp left turn with nothing but a guardrail and the promise of eternal sleep waiting at the bottom. I put my car in Low Gear #1, slightly applied the brakes and prayed. Much to my delight the car stayed where it was supposed to and did not slide as I expected.
Phew that was hill number one of many. I wasn't worried so much about my driving but all the
other idiots around me and there were whole
ditches filled with them. I seriously lost count after the first 50 or so. Everything from those little half tennis shoe looking cars to full sized tractor trailers laid waste before me as I puttered along.
Long story short I made it home between 8:30pm and 9pm in an exhausted heap. Which means it took me 10 hours to make it back. Thank the Big Guy upstairs all in one piece. I quite frankly never want to be in that situation again. I will fly to Michigan again before I take another adventure in the Virginian hills during a blizzard.