Friday, January 30, 2009

Thank God for Starbucks!

Since we are going to be gone so much this month (and because of Lindey's new diet), my parents generously offered to "babysit" our dogs. Saving us, not only large sums of money that would be spent to board all the animals, but peace of mind that our pets would not be traumatized while we were gone. The only hitch - we had to get them to Boise. An easy five hour drive in the summer but treacherous in the winter (at least for me - a true California driver!)

This past Tuesday morning, I packed up the 'Burban with Lindey, Lucky, Kiwi, and of course, Grace and headed off to Boise. The weather here was beautiful - clear, blue skies - so I thought our drive would be uneventful. But as soon as I started to climb the grade outside of Pendleton and entered the Blue Mountains, the roads turned icy. Snow piles lined the roads and, just my luck, it started snowing.

No problem I thought to myself. I am driving the Burban. I will just "park it" in the slow lane and cautiously make my way. Slowly but surely, right? I kept telling sleeping Baby Grace that we had to "arrive alive" or Grandma would be REALLY disappointed. Soon, I was behind a 16 wheeler in the right lane who apparently enjoyed driving in the snow and ice as much as me. The truck was going between 35 and 40 mph. I thought about going around the truck but that meant traversing across that icy/slushy "median" that naturally develops during bad weather. You know, that section of road that with one false move, the slush will grab your tires and send you flying in the opposite direction you intended to go? No, I wasn’t willing to risk it. It was better to drive slow and be safe. So my plan was just to ride behind the truck - at 35 mph - all the way to Boise. Anyone who didn’t like it, could kiss my....was welcome to pass.

No sooner had I finished having this dialogue with myself in my head, a minivan crept up behind me and decided to sit about two feet off my rear bumper. He seemed like he was in a big hurry and that “trucky” and I were causing him a bunch of heartache because we were slowing him down. Well, my friend, that is what the left lane is for….be my guest to go around me. I am not going anywhere.

For about 20 minutes, trucky, minivan and I kept our pace at 35 mph in the right lane. We were continuously passed on the left by other 16 wheelers who obviously weren’t bothered by the ice and snow. During one particular pass, my car slipped. I don’t know what happened but the car started sliding. I was able to straighten it out but no sooner had I gotten the car back…it started sliding again. Once the car was back under my control, (mind you I was visibly shaking) I checked my rear view mirror thinking that minivan would have backed off my tail seeing that my car had almost spun out of control. But there he was. Two feet off my bumper. At this point, the shaking had taken over my body and was working its way up to my brain, so I threw on the hazards and pulled over. I was scared to death. Driving with Grace in the car on icy roads was just plain frightening…nerve wracking. I felt like I had aged about 10 years in about 10 minutes. What if my car had slid over in the left lane right when once of those big trucks was speeding by and plowed into me? What if my car spun out only to be clipped by minivan and left stranded in the Blue Mountains because my cell phone had no service? I was overwhelmed with fear but obviously couldn’t stop on the side of the road…in a white car…in a snow storm. The next city, La Grande, was about 20 miles away. My plan was to pull over in La Grande for a break. It would be horrible to get in an accident while driving along the highway, but even worse to be hit while parked on the side of the road. So I carefully pulled back onto the highway and S-L-O-W-L-Y made my way. It took me about an hour to get to La Grande. Grace, sensing my stress, began crying about 15 minutes before we reached the exit. She was due to be fed and definitely took it upon herself to “remind” me that she was starving.

Thank God for Starbucks! I pulled over in the parking lot where I nursed Grace and quickly let the dogs out for some fresh air. The snow was REALLY coming down now and a call to Court and my mom helped me to decide to turn around and head home. The stretch between La Grande, OR and Nampa, ID is the worst part – especially in blizzard conditions. Raising my white flag and tucking my tail in between my legs, I got back in the car and headed home.

Arriving home, exhausted and defeated, we still weren’t out of the woods. I had to get the dogs to Boise as we leave for Boston this Thursday. Luckily, Court offered to drive with me over the weekend. On Saturday morning, we packed up the car (again) and headed to Boise (again). It was a sunny day here (again) and I held my breath as we approached the grade outside of Pendleton. Much to my surprise, the ice was gone. The snow was gone. The road was clear. OF COURSE IT WAS!! Make me look like a crazy person. The snow was there. I swear it was. Just a few days ago…huge…snow…sto…UGH!

Well, the long and the short of it is, we got to Boise. The dogs and Kiwi are with my parents and we are still alive to share our story. (See how lucky you are?)

No comments: