Well, our son was supposed to return from Winter Camp at Crystal Lake tomorrow, but because of this snow storm (some say blizzard) on the east coast, he called to tell us he was headed home a day earlier. We expected his train to come in sooner this evening, but
finally heard at 10:15pm that he was stuck in a train station 45 minutes from here, with the last leg of his trip home cancelled.
So it is a good thing I’m from Michigan, and I have a nice four-wheel-drive car with a stick shift. The above photo is from my dashboard when I headed off in blinding snow on icy unplowed roads in my new car to retrieve our kid who was sitting (gloveless! and in a thin leather jacket) waiting for me out in the storm. The photo below is when we returned two minutes before midnight; he slept the whole riveting way home.
He doesn’t think I’m a genius for executing this trip both flawlessly and expeditiously; he says any parent would have done the same. And while that may be true, this daunting sojourn would have given many of those less stalwart great pause for good reason.
Mentally I was fine, but every cell in my body was on such high alert that my muscles are still tense. You forget how much we are used to a sense of traction between the car and the road until you have none. The only traction I had was between me and the steering wheel, which I gripped altogether too tightly to compensate. I reflected while I drove that it felt more like steering a boat or a sleigh.
Have you ever been alone driving on an eight lane highway with your wipers flapping on the highest setting, the defroster roaring at top volume to give you a wedge of windshield to see through, coasting along with absolutely no other cars in sight? It is an erie feeling being in dark isolation with limited visibility in a place that normally is so bustling, knowing that other sane people aren’t out there doing this.
But while no other moving vehicles on the road made it unnerving in one way, it certainly made it easier in another. Stop signs became mere suggestions– especially on hills– instead of mandatory laws. I made pretty great time, considering, mostly in third gear but often gliding toboggan-like with my foot completely off the accelerator. I think you could actually call it “calculated careening.”
Anyway, all’s well that ends well. This harrowing adventure which I set off on within minutes of being asked, is over. Our son is now home for the next two weeks, and I’m looking forward to going nowhere tomorrow!