Saturday, February 06, 2010
Just A Simple Drive Home...
It's nearly 1 a.m. - sleep here or risk it? Smart people choose the former...
When a massive blizzard and snow thunderstorm hits the city, most sensible people go home and stay home. Some people stick it out until the snow starts before going home. Smart people don't wait until nearly a foot has fallen before making their way home.
Instead of being one of those smart people, I decided to hang out, chat and reign victorious at Wii Bowling. As the snow started to accumulate, I was getting beaten at Wii Table Tennis. When the snow was pouring hard and the lightning dancing across the sky, I was drinking too much. At ten o'clock, when the snow had reached about six inches, I was still engaged in lively debate and the much victorious round of Wii Bowling.
By the time I started heading home, it was nearly 1 a.m. and there was about ten inches of snow on the ground. Should I go home or sleep at the shop? The weather people were predicting at least two feet of snow, my truck was parked on a snow emergency route and I would have to clear the driveway at home in the morning. No choice other than to drive home.
A photo to prove that I was here - in case I didn't make it.
I've driven in snow all my life. I'm rarely fazed by it. In fact, I want to get out there and drive in the snow. But tonight was bad. Some of the worst conditions I've ever experienced. The snow was so thick, I wondered if my Sonoma's undercarriage wasn't churning the snow beneath it. The snow tires threatened to lose traction every 100 meters. By the time I reached Cold Spring Lane, I thought this was a bad idea. Smart people would turn around and sleep in their shop.
By the time I reached Northern Parkway, I could barely feel the road through the steering wheel. Take Falls Road all the way north, or risk getting on the 83 North freeway? Falls Road was relatively flat but being a narrow, two-lane road through the woods meant a greater chance of skidding off into a snow-covered gully and freezing to death in this Snowpocalypse. Might as well take the freeway.
The ramp onto the freeway wasn't too bad, but the transition from the ramp to the freeway felt like a deathtrap. I was certain the truck was no longer riding on the freeway and merely gliding across the deep snow. The freeway itself was thick with snow and I tried to follow the tracks of the intrepid drivers before me.
But something was amiss. Why were those headlights growing in my windshield? In a moment, a dark blue Hyundai drove past me to my left, heading south on the northbound fast lane. That was weird. Was there some sort of massive carnage ahead? Was Godzilla around the next turn ready to munch me and my Sonoma?
On the southbound side of the freeway, a three vehicle accident occupied the highway. No traffic backup, just confusion.
Pretty much my view the whole way home.
I've often wondered exactly how people ended up skidding off the freeway. Tonight I nearly found out firsthand. With near zero visibility, one resorts to following the exposed tracks of the unknown vehicle who came before you. This set of tracks can actually meander across the width of the freeway, at times putting you into the emergency lane and dangerously close to the median strip. One false move onto the gravel median and wipeout. Time to freeze a frozen death.
I nearly ran straight off the roadway at least four times on the ride home. I passed several vehicles abandoned or that had flown off the pavement and into the: a) concrete median, b) guard rail, or c) into a ditch. Luckily, I wasn't one of them.
Smart people stay home in storm such as this one. Really smart people sleep at friends houses or their own shop. Foolish types hang out until the wee hours of the morning then attempt the treacherous road home - even though they know they should have headed home hours earlier so as not to risk their lives.
But it was absolutely worth it.