These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Friday, December 14, 2007

Never Again!!!

Well, I certainly had an experience today. Something I have never experienced before and hope to never experience again! Let me explain.

I left the house early afternoon, going to the Gallery for a while. It was bright and sunny, with a temperature around 37, so I grabbed my denim Levi jacket to wear over my sweater. The forecast was for some light snow or snow showers in the evening, so I thought that would be sufficient as a coat. I spent a couple hours at the gallery, leaving shortly after 4:00. the sky had darkened and clouded over, as one might expect. I went across the street to pick up a few things for baking this weekend, and as I exited the market, there were some snow flakes falling. They were fairly large, but very sparse. I thought, good timing!

I made one more stop at a barbecue place to get some ribs for dinner, and visited with the owner for perhaps ten minutes. When I came out my truck was lightly covered with snow and the fall had obviously picked up for momentum. Again, I thought, I should just have time to get home.

I drove about three blocks, turned onto the highway for another half mile, and as I topped the hill, I was hit with a blizzard! No kidding, I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of the car! It was coming down like crazy with a wind blowing it straight toward my windshield. the road was white, but it was still visible, and I was driving just about 20 or 25 miles per hour, so I was OK.

Another mile and I turned onto the gravel road, a shortcut across the mesa. I debated about taking the highway, but this road is my normal route, and it would be as inclined to be packed as the paved roads. I had to travel between 5 and 15 MPH, however, because the snow fall increased at this time. It was coming directly toward me, and I couldn't see diddly-squat! Every couple minutes I had to blink my eyes to see. I literally felt as if I were blind much of the time. I know now what a "white out" is. It is not fun. Not in the least.

I had to resort to looking at the side of the road to know where I was. I could see the ditch on the left side, and as long as I met no other vehicles, I was OK. I putted along at this slow speed and watched the ditch, driving essentially down the middle of the road. Occasionally I would have a few seconds with no idea where I was on the road, then I'd see the ditch and sigh inwardly.

I stopped a couple times and cleared the snow from the windshield wipers. It was caking up, turning to ice and not clearing the windows well at all. The temperature had definitely dropped. When I got home it was just 22 degrees. Yep it was much cooler than when I left home. And I had only the light denim jacket in the car.

While this was going on, I realized that if I made a mistake, if I wound up in a ditch, I would be in real trouble. As I said, the jacket was light. And I was in an area where the cell phone signal drifted in and out every few yards. I might not even be able to call for help. Yeah, I could have a problem. Therefore, staying on the road took on a whole new importance.

As I passed various landmarks, I was relieved to know where I was and that I was making progress, but it was maddeningly slow. I wasn't panicked at all, but I was certainly alert and processing every detail. What would I do with the dogs if I stalled? There are only two houses on the road, so getting to one of them would be a challenge. I had boots, gloves, and an "space blanket in the car; would that be enough?

About 50 to 100 yards from the highway (I really don't know because I couldn't tell where I was most of the time) the snow became so heavy that I couldn't see anything. At all. Nada. I couldn't see the road, the ditch, zip. All I could do was slow to a creep and pray. Then I saw a sign that told me I was just feet from the highway. Whew!

On the highway I had an advantage. The wind was coming from the side now, and while the snow was still falling at an incredible rate, I could actually see ahead far enough to be reasonably relaxed. Just over a mile on the highway, then I turned into the wind again, but the snow fall seemed to ease up a bit. It was at least enough that I could see where I was going, at least most of the time. Another 1-3/4 mile got me home.

I had between three and four inches of snow here at home. I got the kids out of the car and into the house, put on a coat, and went back out to bring in the groceries and ribs. Geez, was it good to be home!! I wasn't any worse for the wear, but home just got quite a bit sweeter! I looked at the clock and realized that it took me over an hour to drive home from town. It's only nine miles!

The ribs were good.

I'm in bed.

PS - If you live East of me, look out!!



  1. OH*WOW!!! I am so thankful you made it home safely!!!!

  2. I too have been in a similar situation, and I know the relief when you walk through your own front door. Heavy blowing snow and dense fog are terrifying to me.
    We are expecting 20 - 30 cms tomorrow. (30 cms is approx 12 - 13 inches, and guess where its coming from? Would you believe Texas? We have enough of our own right now without importing it LOL
    Wonder if thats considered FREE TRADE. Have a good weekend and stay home with your ribs and a good drink.

    Ruth in Canada

  3. That snow blindness would have been terrifying, Lynilu.

    Been in it often enough in Idaho years ago to totally undrestand what you were facing.

    No fun at all, especially without waterproof/snow boots, proper knee length down coat, gloves, hat/earmuffs, flashlight, extra water in a thermos so it won't freeze, protein bars, etc...

    Glad that you are home safe, and I'm betting you will put extra things in your car for the winter 'just in case' !

    p.s. Please say hello to Ruth in Canada for me, and thank her for leaving the comment on my blog again.
    I was concerned that she know that I will always publish her comments after I check in to my blog, but that only the most recent 5 show up in the sidebar.

    oving Annie

  4. So glad you made it home with no problems. I know the roads you were driving and you are really brave for driving in those conditions. I think if I lived where you do I would probably not leave the house during the winter. I would be too afraid of the roads.

    Have you thought about putting a little "emergency" kit together for when you are driving in the winter. That way if something ever does happen you will be prepared.

    So far we have only received about an inch of snow, but they are calling for heavier snow this afternoon. Now if my techs all show up, I believe today could my perfect day. :)

  5. Daisy - Thanks, me, too!!

    Ruth - It was certainly no fun at all. Pounding rain is a bear, too, the kind that blocks vision.

    I'm guessing that it is the same system we just had that is heading your way. Several friends along the path between you and me are expecting 3-10 inches, so it must be gathering strength as it goes. Yeah, that's free trade ... or is it just give away, as is, "Here take this away from me!!!" LOL!!!

    Annie - Well, I had the boots, gloves and a hat, just no coat because of my negligence. I usually carry one in the car all winter long, but I hadn't put one in yet.Just a bad oversight on my part. You're right about the protein bars and thermos. I do carry water, year round, but just in the bottle. And yes, you bet! I have the "supplies" right by the front door ready to go next time I walk out the door.

    Caroline - You know, I really wasn't afraid last night, just tense about the situation and my own poor preparation. I'm usually prepared! The missing pieces are going into the car next time I go anywhere. I'm not planning to set foot our of the house today, not because of the weather or road conditions, but just because it feels so good to be snug!

    Would you believe that my snow is mostly melted already? It is only 26 degrees out there, but the sun is bright and strong.

    good luck on the "responsible techs" wishes!!

  6. Annie - I have no way of contacting Ruth, but .....

    Ruth, if you come back to read the comments, would you mind emailing me and sharing your email addy? Thanks!

  7. Good grief...that was scary!! White outs are really dangerous as you now know first hand and there is no worse feeling than not being able to see.

    Your story brings up such a good point at this time of never know and the weather can change in a snap. I'm always telling my youngest son that...even though he'll say "but you're picking me up after school"...yes, but what if the car breaks down or something prevents me from getting there...being properly attired isn't just about "that moment", it's thinking ahead.

    I'm so glad you are all right and nothing serious happened to you. I'm also glad you went back to the highway...not just in case anything should happen, but you are where other cars are travelling so the roads would be a little better.

  8. Sherry - This was my first "white out", but I've been caught in a drenching rain with the same effect. Regardless of the cause,being unable to see while moving in a vehicle is just plain terrifying.

    Yes, the weather is extremely unpredictable. Being prepared is essential, and I missed one major piece of that. Now ... convincing a teenager may be a challenge that is of epic proportions!!

    Now, I actually didn't *go back* to the highway. I wouldn't have tried to turn around on the road in those conditions, because it is a narrow 2-lane. I continued on the 3.5 mile gravel road that goes from one highway to another. Had I *not* taken the short cut, I would have had to drive over 10 miles on very hilly and winding pavement. Although the path was challenging, I don't think I would have been any better off on the paved road. There is irregular phone reception there, too, and the risk of sliding around far greater. I guess it was a crap-shoot as to which would have been the better path, but I'd make the same decision if it presented again, I think.

  9. Hi, I found you at Kelly's blog.
    I am nearly out of breath from reading your ordeal, the nine miles to home that took an hour.
    We were in a similiar white out going over Elk Mountian in Wyoming.
    We literally could not see for long spaces of time. Then we got behind a big truck and blessed him for being there with tail lights we could follow. That was how we got over that pass. Do not know what would have happened if we had been the lead car. Do not want to think about that. Be careful. At least you had food with you and the dogs body heat may have saved you. Do you know how to dig a snow cave? This thought from reading novels with this sort of trauma came to mind. I am not a snow country person, a native Californian of three generations.
    Do NOT want to be stranded in snow. That said we are headed soon to MN where there is SNOW. STay safe.

  10. Lynn - Welcome!

    I understand the relief your experienced on finding a truck to follow. The thought of sharing what protection I had with the dogs did cross my mind. I do not know about snow caves, and to be honest, the likelihood of having enough snow for that is very, very slim. It is a good think to know, however, and I'll look into it. Thanks.

    You're goin to MN? To live??? If so, that will be a HUGE shock to your system as it adjusts. Oh, my! I'm partial to cold weather, but I think MN would be more than I endure!

  11. Holy moly! I'm glad you made it home without incident.

    I love snow and I don't mind driving in it. As long as it's light. The heavy stuff I only like when I'm cozy and warm in my house full of cold weather food and no need to get out for a while. :o)

  12. Jenster - Well, I'm normally with you on that. I just didn't plan well this time! I've stayed home and inside all day today!! :D

  13. Wow, that didn't sound like fun at ALL! I'm glad you made it home safely...and I'm just as happy that the ribs were good, LOL.

    I guess I'm East of you, huh? Well, it's finally beginning to look "a lot like Christmas here in Ga. (sorry, couldn't help that one). It's not snowing here, but it's finally cool and more Decemberlike.

    Again, glad you're safe.

  14. Dawn - Well, I guess it was actually going northeast. You should be very happy that it isn't coming your way! It was a booger! Thanks for caring!

  15. Good lord Lynilu my heart is in my throat just reading this and even though I know your'e okay. That was a "one time" experience that needs to be left at one-time!!! Hugs to you and the pups my friend

  16. Thanks, Patti, and I agree with you ... once is enough.

    I checked out my supplies in the car yesterday, and everything is in place. I added a coat that will stay for emergencies. I'm also considering getting a pair of insulated ski pants.


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!