Friday, February 15, 2008

White as snow, Black as ice..

So for some reason nature likes to fight me on the ONE day a week that I have to go to work. So on wednesday, all the wee little weather people said "This storm won't be that bad, it'll be over by 9 or 10." Now, I am quite paranoid about driving in the snow, because when I was 17 I got in a car accident because someone (Brandon Rockwood) spun out in front of me and I of course hit them as they were pointed at me in my lane. Then, after deciding to work it out between just us Mr. Big Bad Rockwood sued me, took me to court and got $2500 because I was the car BEHIND.

ANYWAY, I freak out about driving in the snow. Especially with a child. Not because I'm a bad driver, but obviously because I can't trust anyone else. So I figured since the weather wasn't going to be "That Bad" I could handle it. (Althouh, I have cancelled out on work 3 other times due to weather.)

I should point out, I live in Holladay, and my work is in Lehi, off the Highland/Alpine exit, way down the SR-92. Which happens to be a floating two-way road, with nothing but fields on both sides of it.

So I head off after dropping Jack off at my mom's at 3:30, and the Point of the Mountain was a little rough, meaning windy, but the roads were still clear, not much snow accumulation. So I get off the Exit at 3:50 and head east up the 92. Suddenly I can't see ANYTHING. Mountains? Roads? Cars? Traffic lights? The wind is blowing 70mph gusts from the North forming a foot of snow on the left side my car, and I'm driving in a complete white out. 4:00, I can barely see the lights of the car in front of me, and if I back off more than 5 ft, not at all. So I stick close, because we are only going 5mph. Suddenly, everyone on the road stops moving. We all sit there, as our cars shake in the relentless wind. I have never felt so helpless (other than my son being on an operatin table..) sitting there at a standstill in the middle of the road not being able to see how far I am from work, let alone the car in front of me. So I call work, tell them I can't see them (I'm less than a mile away and the Ivory Ridge structure tends to stand out amongst the fields...) and they say if I get a chance to turn around, to do so and go home. So I look to my left to see the side of my car creamed with snow, and roll down the wind. A tornado of snow blows into my car and the foot of snow stuck to my window lands in my lap.

Blindly, I turn around. I inch my way beack west toward the I-15 entrance, not having ANYONE in front of me to follow, and not knowing whether I'm really in my lane or not. So I freak out thinking perhaps I should wait it out, but if I "pull off" to the side, I may go off in a ditch, or someone may hit I keep going. There are two lights before the freeway...I saw none of them..and made through the intersections alive, and missed the freeway entrance cause it was now invisible so I parked at the Maverick right off the exit. 5:00, I called family and told them of my perdictament, and called my work telling them I was close-yet so far away.

I sat in my car watching this:

I went into Marverick where a few more people were waiting it out, and the Maverick chick was teling us we couldn't park there and wait. (Psh.) So I go out to "get gas" to bide my time, and there's 3" of ice on my gas cover and I had to hammer it of to open it. I decide this is obsurd and I don't want to wait in the disgusting Maverick, or in my car cause it may not start later if I do.. and I call Josh to tell him I am going to the hotel behind Maverick, cause I can't handle watching the road anymore.

I so trek my way .1 mile to the Hampton Inn. (Though I thought it was a La Quinta until I was later sitting in the bath observing the shampoos..) I checked in and cheerfully went up to my room.

I took a nice bath, watched some American Idol, and periodically looked out my window. This is what I would see, a standstill on 1-15.

A semi had jack-knifed and no one could move. So then they shut down the entrance altogether, and the freeway became a parking lot, as did the whole area surrouning it.

I was hungry. I figured I could make it back over to Maverick and get some food. Plus my lips were chapped. So I go downstairs to the lobby and there are 75 people filling the place, and the poor girlat the desk has a "NO VACANCY" sign up and people are angry and want rooms and she can't help them. There are mothers with little kids, truckers, businessmen, what have you.

I hide my room key and walk over to the Maverick, as I don't want my parking spot to be used as a pseudo hotel room. Maverick, is ALSO full of people, and cops, and EMT's looking for some "baby with a broken leg" that had been called into the Amublance and couldn't be found cause the place was such a mess with cars everywhere. I grabbed my stuff and ran.

Outside again,

the roads around Maverick and the Hampton in became full, with parked cars, abandoned cars and emergency vehicles.

However, my lips weren't chapped anymore, and I tried to utilize everything in the room to get my money's worth.

I imagined myself sleeping alone- with no child to listen for...and it looked pretty sweet.

But then I realized how NASTY my mouth felt after eating fast, gas station food for dinner and I longed for my toothbrush. So on a whim, I went back downstairs into the lobby, where if anyone of those people found I had an extra bed in my room could start a riot- and I asked the front desk if they had any toohbrushes...

So I nestled in, feeling pretty bad for all the people outside my window, and below my comfy room. I watched out my window at the northbound 1-15 mess, that didn't start to move steadily till 11:30 pm. But I was warm...and my lips were well mentholated.

The next morning I woke at 6am, I called my dad to see if he was driving to work (BYU) and he had just arrived. He told me how he thought I was just being a baby, till he got up and watched the news, to see the footage of the 92, and all the cars stuck there, and the closed exit, and the emergency vehicles surrounding the Highland/Alipn exit and the ridiculous driving condtions HE had to deal with.

A "baby". GEEZ.

So I figure it's get out now, or get out never. So I go to check out and start my car.
My car looks like the Dolorean just returned from the future.

It took me an hour and a half to get home. The SR-92 didn't open till 11:00am the next day, because of all the abandoned vehicles on hit sitting eastbound, and the plows couldn't plow, and the tow truck had to take them one by one. I counted 18 cars that slid off the freeway and were left...and the road northbound was not well plowed because of the people sitting on it till 11:30 the night before.

So, long story made long- I should NOT have gone to work. And not only that, but instead of making $45 dollars that day, I spent $100. :)

But I am alive, and I get to say that I was in the worst place, at the worst time- but neener, neener, neener, I got a hotel room.


Haley said...

oh...I want to move back sooo bad now. NOT! It wad 70 degrees here yesterday and it dropped to 40 degrees today with a little rain, and I am complaining about that! I guess I am the lucky one.

Anonymous said...

Man..I didn't see your first pic! Craziness. Gotta love camera phones. That seriously is like a movie adventure.

Kelly said...

Wow! Those pictures say it all. I had to pick up Chloe at 3:30 that day and I couldn't see three feet ahead. It was BAD. But may I say I was a wee bit jealous of your night of not having to listen for the baby? And I'm thanking my lucky stars that Carter made it past that exit!

J n' J said...

Glad you survived! Sounds insane! Maybe we should all move to Texas. =)

Theresa Rodriguez said...

That was the greatest story. I felt like i should have gotten some popcorn to eat while reading it. It was really exciting to hear what was going to happen next. Youre great at telling stories, I am however happy you are alive and safe and were able to get home to your family.

Haley said...

Yes, I think you should all move to Texas!

CorieAnn Scarbrough said...

Yikes! We leave around the corner from the Maverick. You should have come stayed with us! It was CRAZY out there for sure.

Ilene said...

I admire your forethought for getting a hotel room. Knowing me, I would have been one of the losers stuck on the freeway. I would have never thought of the hotel thing.

I appreciate the pictures you took too. You gotta have proof.

Tony the Tiger said...

Yes, Marissa, Kathy and I just recently watched "The Day after tomorrow" and your experience reminded of that. How did you get the picture of you lying in the motel room bed? YOu either have really long arms or are totally uninhibited about getting people to take your picture.

Laura Lee said...

That is really scary. This is why i don't like to leave downtown.

We'll Call her "Lisa" said...

...yes, downtown is the safest place in Salt Lake.

The Ross Family said...

What an experience! I'm so glad I wasn't out on the roads that day! Instead I was home sick...not fun but better than the alternative! :)

Thanks for saying hi! It is so good to see what you are up to! Your little boy is adorable! I was really sad that I missed out on the January get together! My little bro left on his mission the following week so we had family stuff going on. Important to be with the fam but I missed seeing everyone.

Tell Deb hi for me as well. I have been wondering how she is doing. Do you have a number for her? Sorry for the long comment but I was so excited to hear from you!

kimberlee shaffer said...

you should write a book, i was enthralled in your story. I think its time you come down to our 70 degree weather and visit me (=