Last week I promised to update you on my 2019 travel plans but that will have to wait until another time. After yesterday’s ordeal, risking life and limb to get home, the idea of becoming a snow-bird has become more enchanting to me. Leaving the cold northeast at the first sight of snow for the tropics is much more appealing than dealing with unforgiving wintry weather conditions. Therefore my upcoming trip in a few short weeks to Barbados can’t come soon enough, and I’m out of here!
I left Long Island in New York just after 1:00 p.m. to take a two hour ride to my home upstate New York. The first snow fall had begun. Traffic flowed with an occasional bottleneck here and there. Sometimes you make choices and in hindsight you wonder why you did. Well, last night was one such night. I could have chosen the wide-lane thoroughfare the I-684. Instead, I chose the winding, narrow, mountainous road the Taconic Parkway.
I made my decision and there was no turning back. As I traveled further and further away from the city limits into the suburbs, the snow piles on the road was more evident. Many times, traffic slowed to a crawl. Still my chariot was performing without any hindrance. The first time I saw a car in front of me spinning out of control, wheels turning where the driver didn’t want it to go, was my wake up call. I started to pray. Yes, I prayed for that driver, myself and all the spin-outs I would later see along the way.
I immediately slowed down and proceeded cautiously. This would become the routine for the rest of the night. The snow was falling fast and furious and it seemed my wipers could not keep up. Suddenly, the wiper blades stopped swishing back and forth. I could not see the road. I cried out to Jesus for help. I pulled over to the side and removed the frozen snow stuck to the blades and windshield. This would happen three more times at places on the road where stopping was dangerous. Several times my car fish-tailed as I crept uphill, sometimes barely missing another vehicle, and blocking the path of others. The feeling of losing control of the vehicle is terrifying. I prayed even harder asking God to help me proceed without hurting anyone or myself. Patience and calmness were the two emotions that came to the fore as I drove. But for God’s mercy and grace, I made it through the treacherous Taconic Parkway and on to another route traveling westbound. This highway has much wider lanes, but no sooner than I got on did I realize the travel situation was no better. This highway is used by many truckers and so big rigs ply their trade up and down the corridors of the I-84.
Sandwich between two truckers, my reasoning being, they will make the tracks I need (a mini-ploughing) to follow in, when history almost repeated itself. About 11 or 12 years ago, while coming home from work, there was a heavy snowfall, some of the biggest snowflakes I have ever seen. So much so, they covered my car’s windshield and I often had to stop and clear it to continue. The snow quickly accumulated grinding traffic to a halt. The highway became impassable. Every vehicle came to a standstill. There we waited with engines running to keep warm. We waited for the ploughs to come and remove the snow but to no avail.
That night turned into day and by the time the police came along to check on the situation, I had run out of gas, was shivering under blankets, frightened that I would not make it home. Then I wondered last night if history would repeat itself.
Déjà vu? It certainly was, at least in part. Here I was stalled for hours in the same location as many years ago before the trucker in front of me moved a few yards. I prayed often asking God to allow everyone to reach their final destinations. Even though there were many scary moments, I quickly realized there are many things you can do to help yourself in the event you run into a tempest.
- Be always prepared. I had my blanket, water, flashlight, scraper and a full tank of gas.
- Drive with caution. Whether you have a big ride or small humpty, the humpty often passes the big ride in the ditch.
- Occasionally stop to clear accumulated snow from the car’s wiper blades, wheel wells, front and back windshield, and headlights.
- Do not panic. If you feel the car sliding gently try to maneuver out of the slide.
- Turn hazard lights on immediately if you have difficulty driving or feel as though you are losing control.
- Keep your eyes on the road and call for help if needed.
- Make sure your smart phone is fully charged.
Well, I arrived home safely. Just after midnight I pulled up to my driveway covered in snow. More than a foot for sure. It took me all of 11 hours to cover a two hour distance. Now, do you wonder why I like to jet off to warmer climes at this time of the year? I have no more tolerance for Old Man Winter, but rather need temps of 75◦ Fahrenheit or higher just to keep my sanity. I thanked God for bringing me home safe and sound.
Community Peeps, what has been your experience dealing with weather conditions whilst traveling on a road trip or otherwise? What tips would you like to add to those above? Please share.
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