Friday, December 11, 2009

Racing the Apocalypse/Perfect Storm/White Hell

As you have probably gathered from my recent spurt of commenting, I did indeed make it back… barely. So I'll start with the end first and perhaps write about the earlier part of my recent trip later when I get caught up at work and home.

My brother was flying out of Atlanta early Monday morning for his honeymoon and asked if we wanted to join him and his new bride Sunday night in Atlanta for a night out. We agreed and left Sunday morning leaving them to pack while we explored downtown Atlanta and got caught up in a horrible traffic jam by the stadium where some event has recently gotten over. Our aim had been Centennial Park, site of the former Olympics venue in Atlanta, and it was only after driving around that we finally found parking. We walked around until we were good and frozen before going to pick up my brother and bride at their hotel and went out to eat at the Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse. The food was excellent and so was the show though Little Abbey got a little gun shy after the initial pyrotechnic display of what happens to oil on a hot piece of iron when ignited.

The next morning being the dutiful husband that I am, we found ourselves outside a cake decorating superstore waiting for them to open so that the Mrs could load up on hard to find supplies. That is when we learned about the Perfect Storm heading for Iowa with forecasts of a foot of snow and blizzard conditions. Our leisurely drive back to Iowa over the next few days suddenly turned into a thirteen and a half hour driving marathon as we tried to beat the weather home. We crossed the Iowa border just as the snow began to fly and forty five minutes later were safe and sound at home but physically exhausted. I'm not sure how sitting for that long in a car does that to a person but it does, no question about it. We poured an already asleep Little Abbey into her bed and leaving everything in the car, went to bed ourselves.

The next morning, four inches of snow were on the ground and more fell throughout the day, into the night and throughout Wednesday as well. The only difference was that Wednesday had howling 50 mph winds to accompany the snow. In total, we ended up with nearly a foot of snow while the other three feet or so ended up somewhere a lot closer to the east coast than Iowa. We had a little freezing rain among all of that snow which meant that the road plow through chair sized boulders of snow across the end of my driveway and piled up four feet high. It took me three hours using a maul and a shovel to clear that and the twenty other feet of my driveway only to repeat the shoveling Thursday morning in minus 3 degree temperatures (minus 21 with windchill) to clear away the drifts so the Mrs could drive to work. If it hadn't been for that cellphone call Monday morning, I have a feeling that I would still be somewhere in southern Illinois waiting this out in a motel.

Since the roads won't likely improve enough before today for me to risk driving to the Urban Jungle, I'm probably stuck here this weekend and will most likely enjoy a good portion of it in front of a roaring fire working on a dollhouse for a little girl's Christmas present.


R. Sherman said...

I did a similar drive from Big Bend NP back to Missouri, always being about 30 miles in front of a major snow/ice event. I was a zombie by the time I got home after 18 hours. I remember it rained most of the trip and I kept watching the outside temp plummet into the 30's, praying it wouldn't it 32.


Glad you made it.


Beau said...

Memories made... you need a blower or something! Building that doll house should be fun.

Ed said...

R Sherman - Up until this drive, 12-1/2 hours had been my record with the one exception of a 18 hour drive that I split evenly with my brother once on a drive back from SE Utah. I hope this drive is my final record as I have no desire to repeat it.

Beau - I have been thinking about a blower but I'm too cheap and we don't often get big snows like that. Perhaps if I find a cheap used one somewhere....

malor said...

The fire surely looks nice and warm. It's just what we need in Iowa right now.

TC said...

Driving long distances is always tiring. You made good time!

Murf said...

Trying to park in downtown Atlanta looked like an adventure when I was there in is taking the easier way (walking) and running into men in need of change every few steps.

Nice video. Is that a kids show I hear in the background? ;-)

geri said...

13 hours!? Oh my. And I wince at the thought of shoveling all that snow. A fireplace makes a lot of difference, ask Tom :)

Ed said...

Malor - It does a nice job but I'm glad it isn't my sole source of heat. It also made me nervous once my daughter learned to crawl until she understood the concept of hot. Always a careful eye on her makes it hard to relax. Fortunately we are past that stage now.

TC - I thought we made excellent time. In total, we were stopped only 50 minutes out of the entire journey back.

Murf - We didn't see anyone asking for money but then it was below freezing with a brutal wind when we were there. It probably is or the real deal herself.

Geri - Fireplaces are great to enjoy once kids are old enough to understand that they are hot. I especially like naps in front of it!

sage said...

I tried to post here earlier... I like your fireplace scene, wonder if I could get a video of mine with my toes wiggling? Glad you got home safely.

Bone said...

Yeah, I don't know how being in a car does that, either. Driving, I can see, because you're mentally focused. But even just being a passenger, it wears you out.

So nothing blogworthy happened in Alabama?

Ed said...

Sage - I'm sure Murf would like that.

Bone - I think I've got two more posts in the work. I technically only had about three unscheduled hours during my two days in your fair state. Definitely not enough time.