Yeah… so forever remember November 15, 2018 as the most insane weather I’ve experienced. The amount of snowfall wasn’t the most we ever had, however it was definitely one of the most unexpected and terrible drives I’d ever had to do. I got out of work at 3pm, and didn’t arrive home until a bit past 8:30pm. Granted, I camped out at a Starbucks for over an hour, but it was still crazy out there. At first, I was patient and thought it would maybee take two hours, so I tried my best to whack the snow off my car windows although I didn’t do a great job with my umbrella. I went to my usual gas station in Union to fill up before heading out on the roads, which was a very fortunate move that definitely helped avoid a bad situation turning into worse. I tried to get more snow off my windows there, and on the local roads I couldn’t see the lines and couldn’t tell if it was one or two lanes. My car slid around a few times which was terrifying, but again, all the cars inched along carefully. Before I reached the gas station, I couldn’t see out of my rear window at all, Once on 78, everyone was again, inching along, and I began to pass by a truck or car on the very side of the highway, diagonal as if it had spun out of control or just headed to the side with their emergency lights on. I didn’t think too much of it, and kept going. After about probably an hour, my GPS updated, telling me I could save half an hour if I exited from 36 instead of 33, or my usual 29 to get onto 287. This update was a huge mistake, and I made an impromptu judgement call to trust Google Maps.
Allison called me while I was on 78, and we both complained about how slow it was and how bad the roads were. At this point, my phone was still relatively charged, and it was plugged into the car charger, so I didn’t worry too much. Once I exited 36, the real trouble began. Stupid me didn’t listen to Allison, and decided to try to make it through Warren, but Warren is hilly, and at this point it began to rain too. On the main roads, people were continuing to inch along, but then civilization slowly started to disappear as my car followed a few other cars into very local routes into woody neighborhoods. As I was about to reach a turn there, I knew something was wrong. A police car with two officers was stationed at the corner, and up ahead, as well as to the left where I wanted to turn, a few cars with their emergency lights blinking were scattered. A truck included. We all were stationed there for 10 minutes… 20 minutes… 30 minutes… at this point, I started to panic a little bit. I was at the turn when an old man with a mustache, probably in his late 60s, came to my side and told me that both road options were uphill, so the cars couldn’t make it up. The car ahead of me had managed to make it through with some pushes from him and another kind man, and he told me I could try after that car. However, in the opposite lane where the car had escaped, a huge plow truck was approaching, and then I realized I was stuck in the way, unless I tried to squeeze into the right lane turn, so I did. After the plow truck was eased through a few minutes later, the old man came to me again and told me I should probably turn around the way I came and try to escape that way, as this hill was icy too. He helped push my car around, and I drove the way I came, slipping and sliding around, even at around 10 mph or less. At this point, the panic was really beginning to become apparent that I might not find civilization or get out of the woods for hours.
As I tried to follow my GPS, I went against its directions a couple times as it kept trying to lead me up hills and darker neighborhoods. But the next best hope I had going had a roads closed sign up, so I had no choice but to make the right turn before it. I saw more stranded cars just stuck on the side of the roads, and another car that had apparently spiraled into the back of a truck. Many accidents. Another turn, and I was in another neighborhood, where a bunch of cars were struggling to make it up hill again. I quickly made a left turn so I could turn back the way I came, but behind me, a plow truck showed up, and I was stuck behind it. I realized my phone charger was not outpacing its usage, and I was at about 7%. I called my dad, almost broke down, and quickly shared my location with him and asked him to help me find a route out that wasn’t uphill or closed. I felt a sense of helplessness settling in, because I realized I could be stuck here forever where I had no idea where I was, with no phone or GPS to help me, and I would end up cold and lost and dying in this weather and situation. Again saved by luck, as my phone was down to about 3%, I quickly searched for the nearest Starbucks, and luckily there was one 1.4 miles away, and the plow truck moved out of the way so I could leave. I was relieved to pull into the Starbucks, where there was warmth, other humans, and some electricity. At this time, it was around 6:30pm, and I was tired, anxious, thirsty, and desperate to charge my phone and pee. Thankfully, I had a pretty speedy outlet charger with me, and I sat there and called my dad, and Meaghan talked to me as well, trying to help me figure out a path home.
I rested, bought a drink and asked for hot water, and sat back down where I saw about three other people also sitting around. Meaghan told me the road that my parents and I had agreed on trying was closed further on, and so I would do best to avoid it and try Route 22 through a safer detour that wasn’t hilly. I saw on the map that Route 22 was all in red, so that made me nervous too. Thankfully, there was a chance I could take a route downhill, since it wasn’t uphill I could probably make it and it wasn’t closed off. I saw a tall black lady walk in, asking the baristas for help and directions to Route 22, so I came up and told her what I knew, and we both chatted for a bit and it helped calm us down. Soon, one of the Korean girls who had been there before me chatted with us too, and she said her car was a rearwheel and straight up was stranded in the snow; she tried to call a tow truck company but they said they wouldnt get there until 5-6 hours later. Thankfully, a police car pushed her out the snow and told her to head to a Starbucks to wait it out.
I was worried about trying to head out, but I told myself I’d wait for my phone to charge to at least 70%, and then at about 7:50pm I wished the ladies luck and got into my car. The roads looked a bit abandoned at this point, ground still frozen looking, my car still sliding around, at one point at another intersection, it wouldn’t let me brake and continued sliding right into the intersection through a stop sign as cars from the right were moving forward. I really thought this might be the end, and we’d all be in a giant accident, but we were all moving carefully enough that the cars saw me and slowed down even more. A few times, my car almost didn’t budge, which was also terrifying.
I finally got onto morning glory road, which was a pretty steep downhill on the mountain, but thankfully there weren’t many cars besides another stranded car, and once on Route 22, I felt much better. The cars were moving slowly, but the first half of it the roads were pretty clear, and it wasn’t all jammed up like it suggested in red on the maps. I got home a bit past 8:30 and Meaghan had called me about 5 minutes before I arrived home.
I was so stressed out and in shock, my body was tense, and today my dad told me to take off as the roads were still bad, and especially in our local area, it really looked like nobody had come to plow it. After talking to Meaghan, I decided to listen to their suggestions and called my boss to take off. I went back to sleep and woke up at 3pm, with a bunch of really terrible dreams that did not help calm me down. Meanwhile, in California the wildfires have burned down an entire town and over 50 people are dead. Is it just me, or the world feels like it’s apocalyptic all around? Are the 7 signs of Jesus coming here?
Today, because I had to go out a few times last night in the cold, my lungs were wheezing a bit, and I’m not sure why I still live here.