Monday, February 15, 2010

Post-Valentine's Day report

Today's entry has NOTHING to do with the normal subjects, but is simply how I spent Valentine's Day...

I spent yesterday driving for 993* odometer-verified miles from New Hampshire to Indiana! What a way to spend Valentine's Day! While I was genuinely upset to leave my daughter/new-Mommy-herself, Liz, and new granddaughter, "Chuck," (a psuedonym to make her more anonymous online) and son-in-law, Ben, in their cozy, warm, apartment, I was also genuinely excited to have myself a little road trip!

The start of day was sunny, and I got off only a half-hour late from my plan. I interrupted myself several times that morning for potty breaks (It was nearly as bad as traveling with kids). I could also swear that New England hides both gas stations and McDonalds when you get off the interstate! Driving through those little towns to FIND needed stops take a LOT of time, even though it's a historical gold mine. Taking all this time did nothing for making time, and by 3:00, I'd only driven 296 miles! My goal for the day was 963! (Thanks, GoogleMaps!) How was I ever going to make it?

Did I mention that I have neither a speedometer or a GPS? Luckily, Pennsylvania has a unique system where they post tenth-mile markers along the highway. Using my own "unique" system, I used my cell phone and called my genius daughter, Karen. I asked, "If in one minute you drive 1.2 miles, how fast are you going?" "You are going 72 miles per hour," and from that I was satisfied that my cruise control would keep me going up and down the mountains at a safe and legal speed. (Doesn't "legal speed" mean 5+ mph above the speed limit?)

Another part of my plan for the day was to meet up with HILLSIDE SLIDE/Tina a fellow blogger and even a commenter on this very blog! Tina and I made acquaintance via the blog and several e-mails, and I was so glad to get to meet her. Fortunately, the snow that began about 5 P.M. was not too heavy, and I had plenty of window-washer fluid to keep a clear view after the semis passed me. I couldn't use the cruise, and I just kept in contact via cell phones. Tina and I had a wonderful meeting, and thanks to her dad, we were both treated to dinner. Thanks, Mr. C.!

By then it was 9 P.M., and I had another 350 miles to go, give or take a few. As long as it wasn't bad weather, and I didn't get tired, I was going to keep driving. What I didn't expect was the TERRIBLE freezing fog that occurred near Celina, Ohio! I noticed that my car showed it was 2* - a drop from 37* that had registered earlier in the day, back in New Hampshire. There were times I could see NOTHING but the white line along the side of the road. Thank goodness that it wasn't snowing and I DIDN'T get tired (which I usually do quite easily - just ask someone who knows me. I sometimes think I'm narcoleptic.) There was about 45-60 minutes where the fog was so dense, I wondered if I'd have to stop in a farmer's driveway, or pull in to a Wal-Mart parking lot - IF I could see it ahead of time - to spend the night. I wondered what I was supposed to do, and also thought of all the pile-ups I've heard about in fog. It was scary. I prayed, "Help me, Jesus." Then, by the time I got to Bryant, Indiana, it suddenly cleared and I was able to drive the remaining way home. "Thank you, Jesus!"

I was so glad, at about 2:30, to pull into my snow-cleared driveway. I had called from New Hampshire to my "snow-man" making sure he included me on his list of clients. With a "winter weather advisory" posted for today, I wanted to be sure I prepared, so, just in case, I backed into my garage. (I drive a big Suburban, so this can be tricky.) Because of the snow piled in front of the garage door, I had to shift to 4-wheel drive for the first time of my trip.

Once I pulled into the garage, backwards, and closed the door, I sat there and texted all my family, with a cell phone photo of the inside of that wonderful garage door - MINE. And some people (some who are even younger than I am) say, "What good is texting?" I must remember to tell them: So you don't have to wake everyone up at 2:30 A.M., just to say, "I made it!"

So much for thinking the New Hampshire winter experience was going to be rough. Nope, it was Indiana fog and new snow that gave me any trouble, and I was so glad to be home. A long, challenging, fun, road trip that took 16 hours to complete - and Valentine's Day, to boot!

*a little "off" due to one missed turn and the back-track required.


Anonymous said...

993 miles!! Never again will I complain about the 515 mile drive to my mother's house.

You're a true road warrior, Carol! Glad you made it safely.

deb said...

I can't even imagine doing what you did. I drove about 70 miles Friday night in a 'blizzard' (probably was lightly falling snow, but it LOOKED like a blizzard to me), in the dark on a country road, and it scared me so much I was grumpy and anxious for the next 24 hours! I don't know how you did that. Besides that, 9 hours is the most I've ever been able to do in one day. I just can't even imagine. You must be part driving machine.

Tim Morris said...

Glad to have you back!