A Little Ice on the Road


Last weekend we headed to Boston for a quick visit, just one night. We went to take advantage of our New England Aquarium membership. We had gone last April and bought a membership as it was the best deal for multiple visits. We figured we would head down there before it expired. We did have a great trip to the city. The trip home, however, was a long one.

The first issue was our van. That van has been a trusty vehicle. We love the van. It is easy to load, holds a lot, is versatile. Overall, it has done us right. But this time, when we got into the city, when we started actually driving in traffic, the transmission stopped working. We’re talking hit the gas and it does not produce forward motion. That made it a challenge to maneuver, or to get out of the way, or to get where we needed to go. Overall. it was not doing us right.

We managed to limp to our hotel and then had to deal with getting a tow and finding a place to which our vehicle might be towed (OK, really my wife did all that while I took the kids to the aquarium, but we’re a team, right?). We would have to figure out how to get home but that would be manageable. It turns out that my wife’s sister had come down to Boston from Vermont on the same weekend. Perfect! They have a big car and could give us a ride! It would mean heading back to Boston some time soon to get the van, but hey, details to figure out.

So Sunday when it was time to go, we all piled into one car and started driving north. We had planned to leave by noon as poor weather was forecast. We wanted to miss any freezing rain or sleet or snow. We ended up leaving more than an hour before noon. Still, we were in for some trouble.

We crossed the line into New Hampshire just fine, with light rain starting but then BOOM, as happens with freezing rain, the road was suddenly slick. We quickly found ourselves among ten or so cars off the road, smashed by each other and spun around. We weaved through that but passed more cars in the same situation. And more. It was a skating rink, for real. We kept crawling forward. At one point, however, we watched a big old sedan spin completely in a circle and then slide toward the exit ramp nearby. We headed toward that exit and kept going. There wasn’t much choice.

That exit turned out to be the longest onramp ever to a different interstate highway. We inched along that but then found ourselves headed south instead of north, but before we could get very far we saw flashing red and blue lights ahead. Traffic was stopped so we just pulled over. That wait was close to an hour before we could move again. We ate candy and trekked to the woods to take leaks. Once we started moving we took the next exit we could and headed into Manchester to find some lunch and to take a break.

We had hoped the freezing rain would abate while we were stopped and it seemed to. So off we headed in search of I-93 North. When we finally started heading in the right direction again we were relieved, but soon saw a sign that said the interstate was closed ahead. So the next exit was ours. We stopped three times in search of a map, hoping it might help us to see the big picture better than a tiny smart phone screen. Apparently no one carries maps any more.

We slowly drove through Concord and then found I-89 north. We made our way toward Vermont, seeing plenty more cars that had slid into the median or been bashed by other cars. I’m guessing we say at least 30, not counting the ones we could not see behind the rescue vehicle lights. We were tired, a little grumpy, but happy to back in the Green Mountain State. About 8 1/2 hours after we left Boston we pulled into our icy driveway, five hours longer than it usually takes us.

I guess this is why people move to Phoenix. Today, however, the sun has come out and shines on the snow that fell Sunday and yesterday. It is a stunner of a day–blue sky and white highlights in the trees and the mountains. I am happy to be here. We won’t be making that drive again any time soon. Oh, wait, we have to go get the van once it gets repaired. I guess that won’t be so bad if we wait until the weather is clear. The repair should be covered by warranty. And I have a few hours of podcasts to catch up on. As long as I don’t have another drive like the one on Sunday, they should last me down and back.

3 thoughts on “A Little Ice on the Road

  1. Happy to hear you all made it home safe and sound… It’s sad to know paper hand held maps are extinct ~
    Take care and happy motoring to ya in the future. From, Laura ~

  2. We got a United States atlas last summer. I’ll have to make sure it stays in the car. I am a fan of the paper map. It definitely gives one a big picture view better than a screen.

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