I’ve done some driving in bad conditions. More than once I have driven in weather so bad that I stopped driving to spend the night in the middle of wherever. I have seen snow on the road.
Driving from Connecticut to Maine one time the visibility was so poor we couldn’t see the road and had to spend the night at a random hotel. Before I moved to Burlington we spent a day apartment hunting in a snowstorm. The drive back from the queen city was a slow slog on the interstate with swirling snow and cars off the road. A long drive.
Yesterday I drove from Milton to Hinesburg. That was not a speedy drive. I left later than I had planned. Get a little more work in, you’ve been there, no? I was in a windowless room, so I had no cues to how the weather had become so fierce. The snow was heavy on the car when I brushed it off and packed on the roads.
I made two stops before I hit the interstate, so I had time to consider whether I should even take the interstate. Would it be better to travel on roads where others would drive more slowly? Or should I just take the most direct route? Popping in for toilet paper (stocking up for the storm!) then filling the tank with gas (and getting a warm cup of decaf) I decided to go for the big road.
It was some of the most dreadful driving I have encountered, pretty much ever. It is not a drive for which I would have opted if I were leaving home rather than heading toward it. The worst moment of my journey last night was on a bridge, a semi passing me on the left and whooshing a cloud of snow so dense I could just see my hood. When I could see a little more clearly I was way too close to the guardrail.
I moved over soon enough.
When I finally exited that four lane highway, slowly, behind another (or perhaps the same) semi, a car too close behind me, on the icy exit ramp, I was somewhat relieved. Then I had to navigate traffic. To travel about two miles on Dorset Street took me at least an hour. I was passing the mall, along with all that other strip development, and it was the final Friday before Christmas, but still, those traffic lights slowed me down lots. The keystone light on Kennedy Drive must have cycled red and green twenty times before I drove through it.
I did make it home. The car was coated in ice and snow. I was too hot (I had to keep the heater blasting to keep the windshield from icing–it was 7 degrees out there!). I needed to take a leak. I was hungry. It was dark and late after a long work day. But I was home to a warm house and a beautiful wife and some smiling children and pizza hot from the oven.
I ran the gauntlet, and the reward was great. It is enough to make this man happy. Last night, the snow falling heavily through the darkness, I slept well. And in the morning, the snow kept falling.