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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A snowy end to a warm vacation

Well, your RT Cave RT is still alive and well, but a bit slow to get back into the swing of things after a great vacation in Florida.

In my last post I wrote how I was dreading the ride home. It's far better when we are driving toward the warm weather, as every time we step out of the Dodge Caravan the weather is that much warmer. On the way home it's the opposite: colder and colder.

The ride home wasn't so bad until we re-entered Michigan. With every mile driven the snow seemed to come down thicker and thicker from that point. It was bad, but nothing we hadn't driven through before.

As we passed through the last city about an hour from home it was snowing pretty heavily, but we could still see the roads pretty clearly, and traffic was rolling along.

"If we don't stop here," my wife said, "we're definitely driving all the way home, because I'm not stopping 20 miles from home."

"Sounds good to me," I said. "I'll leave the decision to you, considering you're the driver."

"As long as we get home before dark," we said together. We were both anxious to get home, and, needless to say, the kids were getting on our nerves by this point.

Our plans were dashed as we neared the Near Ego exit, about 40 miles from home. An emergency vehicle was parked in the middle of the expressway, and a volunteer fire fighter was directing traffic off the highway.

My wife rolled down her window as we passed the firefighter. "What's going on?"

"An accident," the man said.

"That was a dumb question, hey," she said while rolling up the window and looking at me. "So, now what do we do? Do we wait here for the accident to be cleared, or do we travel in unfamiliar territory?"

"I have no idea," I said.

I had never taken this exit before, and the wife had once. We knew there was an old highway somewhere near here. So, here we were so close to home, so close to a nightfall we dreaded, and we were driving down barely visible side roads unfamiliar to us.

It's one thing to direct traffic off the main highway, but don't you think they should at least tell you how to get back on?

Well, they didn't. And, by the time we found a ramp ten miles down the snow was falling and blowing so hard we couldn't even see the expressway, traveling 15 MPH through pure whiteness. We could just barely see the markers on the side of the road.

For you guys not familiar with driving through blizzards, you do not want to stop even if you can't see, because you might not be able to get started again on the thick snow. You just keep chugging along as best you can, and hope no car has stopped in front of you, because if that happened you'd smack right into it.

"Wifey," I said finally, "We are definitely stopping at the next hotel."

She didn't argue. We were only 20 minutes from home pulling off the expressway at a Comfort Inn. At first we weren't sure we'd even be able to see the exit, but again we were thankful to the road markers.

The kids were not happy -- that is, until they found out the hotel had an indoor pool.

Actually, staying at this hotel was kind of a relaxing end to a nice vacation. We swam in the pool, loafed in the hot tub, slept in, did the pool thing again in the morning, and waited for the snowplows to go through before topping off the vacation.

Today I learned that a semi had jack-knifed on the expressway and there were several cars involved, and that's why we were roughted off the expressway.

Anyway, I suppose I shouldn't be telling people we had to whimp out so close to home, but at least we're all alive and well.

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