I hate to be a drama queen, but it was the worst half hour of my life.
Let me back up. Friday morning, I left Columbus, OH at 7:45 a.m. amidst threats of a Winter Storm Warning. The snow was supposed to start at 4:00 a.m., but when I left the house, there was nothing. Gabe called while I was on the road and said, “Be careful. It’s supposed to be icy in Marysville (30 minutes away).” But when I got to Marysville, nothing.
I got to Bellefontaine and stopped for a quick visit with Heather, my old neighbor (Hi, Heather!). Then on to my friend Courtney’s. We left her house at 9:00 a.m. Several local schools were canceled. Some had already planned early dismissal. But not a flake had fallen.
We hopped in Courtney’s SUV, leaving Gabe’s little Civic parked on the street, windshield wipers in the air (at his request), and headed due north. We chatted without ceasing, interrupted only by a phone call from Gabe. “It’s dumping snow here. Dumping.” Courtney and I saw nary a flake.
An hour later, Courtney’s husband had the same news. “Here comes the snow!” We saw nothing.
At 2:00 p.m. we had arrived safely in Michigan, the only danger being food poisoning from some of the nastiest “Mexican” food ever. If you should happen to be hungry and see Panchero’s, run the other way. As a Chipotle fan (and now, a Freebirds fan), I thought it might be worth a try. Now I know why a glance at the map shows Ohio and Texas to be mercifully Panchero’s-free.
The single mom’s retreat was awesome (my reason for going to Michigan), and I’ll blog about it tomorrow, but this post is about the snow.
Courtney and I were on the road by 9:30 Saturday morning. Courtney checked her phone messages and gasped when she saw the pic her husband Brad had sent her. It was their 6yo daughter standing in a snow drift OVER HER HEAD. Were we going to make it home?
There was the tiniest, finest dusting of snow on her SUV when we left, but it wasn’t snowing anymore. The sun was shining brightly, and a couple times during the first 2-3 hours of our trip, we drove under “snow clouds” for 5-6 minutes, then it was over.
As we left “Pure Michigan” behind (do any of you Michiganders want to explain your sign?), we noticed that not only did the speed limit change from 70mph to 65mph (drat), we saw a lot more snow on the ground.
Long story short, on the last 90 minutes of our trip, we began to see what all the fuss was about. Piles of snow on the sides of the road, then snow covering the roads, people driving slowly, snow plows everywhere. Cars, trucks, semis in the ditch all over the place. Surreal.
Twenty minutes from Courtney’s house, we turned the radio on. I joked about it probably being a Level 3 emergency and we weren’t supposed to be out in it. Two minutes later, a squeaky-voiced teenage DJ says, “Logan County is under a Level 3 Snow Emergency. Stay home! Any vehicles out on the road are subject to arrest.”
Thanks to Courtney’s mad driving skillz and her fabulous Honda Pilot, we made it to her house unscathed. Every car on her street was buried in snow, except for mine (bless you, Brad!). Courtney let me leave, against her better judgment. I promised her I had a great story should I be pulled over by a cop. I hoped and prayed the main road from Bellefontaine to Columbus would be clear.
It was not. And thus began the scariest half hour of my life. The 4-lane road was solid snow and ice. It might’ve been plowed at one time, but plenty more snow had dumped since. My car slipped and slid, and I couldn’t see the center line. I knew people wanted to pass me, so I tried to give them room without swerving into the ditch. Everyone who passed me was in some sort of huge truck or SUV. My head hurt, my chest hurt, I never stopped praying for even one second. I honestly thought there was no way I was going to survive. When would it end?
There was no place to pull over, and that wouldn’t help anyway. I couldn’t ask Gabe to drive (with the girls) 45 miles to rescue me and leave the car on the side of the road.
I kept going. It got worse. A semi passed me, and I could feel my car sliding. What would I do if I slid into him? After he passed, I couldn’t take it any longer and burst into tears.
“I can’t do this, God!”
And then I kid you not. 10 seconds later, I looked up ahead. A green sign on my right. Leaving Logan County, Entering Union County. There was a line in the middle of the road. On my side–2 or 3 inches of ice and snow. On the Union County side? 100% clear roads. Surreal.
I burst into tears again. This time thankful, grateful, unbelieving tears. I flipped on the radio and sang praise songs all the way home. On clear, clear roads.
Did you pray for me? Praising God for you!