Monday, January 8, 2018

Nick of Time

Between the aquarium and our dinner date, we tried to visit a art museum but the kids and especially my mother-in-law were just too tired. So we tried again the following day. It was more successful but about half way through the experience, I made the mistake of checking my social media while letting the girls rest on a bench in a gallery. I instantly saw reports of bad weather back home and felt that we should probably cut our day short. I don't like driving at night in winter anyway but when it is precipitating, I dislike it even more. Fortunately my wife agreed and after we got everyone found from the various galleries, we started for home.

About halfway back, we ran into a freezing drizzle. Almost immediately afterward, even though the roads were not slick yet, things went south. Due to the cold winds, our defrost, along with just about everyone else defrost, could not keep up with the freezing drizzle. My view of the road was only the bottom eight inches of the front windshield. The rest was just a sheet of ice that I occasionally thawed out with massive squirts of windshield washer fluid every few minutes. Much of the last half of our journey is on small two lane roads and I found going through towns where the wind was blocked and our speeds were much slower, the windshield would gradually clear of ice but as soon as we reached the outskirts of town and got up over around 30 mph, the ice would again freeze on the windshield blocking our view.

The roads never did get really slick but by the time we got to town, the front of our car was a sheet of ice except for a hole right above the defrost vents. We made one stop at the grocery store for a few supplies which allowed the windshield to thaw and a hole to melt in front of the headlights but other than that, our van looks as it did.

I was really glad to be home but felt we left some things "on the table" in Kansas City. But that is okay with me because it gives us an excuse for another mini-vacation sometime down the road.


Bob said...

Glad you made it back safely. A couple years ago my wife and I were driving back from Dallas and had a similar experience. The sensors on my car were frozen over and thus “sensed” an obstruction which was actually ice. Crazy. As I recall, we found a hotel room and waited things out.

You didn’t mention going to Hallmark. Definitely something for next time if it was not part of this trip.

Kelly said...

Even just reading this filled me with anxiety. I'm not a winter person, particularly where precipitation is concerned, unless I'm in the comfort of my warm home with nowhere I need to be.

I'm sorry you had to cut your trip short, but it was obviously the right thing to do. And as you said... it's just an excuse to go back again!

Ed said...

Bob - We went to Hallmark a couple years ago with my brother-in-law and his family which is how we noticed the Sea Life aquarium and made the note to see it the next time around.

Kelly - When it comes to winter weather, I don't like to take chances. So when we headed north and it immediately began snowing and then later drizzling and we were over a hundred miles from home, I immediately was anxious. Fortunately the roads never seemed to freeze or we would have just found a hotel room like what Bob mentioned.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

My time in New England was spent along the sea coast, so most of my New England winters consisted mostly of freezing rain and ice. That is very scary stuff to drive, even walk around, in. I remember that low level, just under the surface, anxiety that would always creep up in any kind of winter travel whether driving or having to take a flight out in that weather. As much as I miss the seasons, I don't miss that feeling. I'm glad you made it home safe and sound and that you followed your instincts to leave when you did.

Ed said...

Pumpkin Delight - One does get "used" to driving on it with experience but it is never so fun since you have to go really slow. We get a lot of ice here as the jet stream and various fronts swing over us this way and that.

Susan said...

There is nothing worse than ice. There are very good uses for social media - as in weather apps!

Vince said...

That's why you Americans laugh at us here when we worry about driving in 'bad' frost.