So yesterday was… fun. Heh.
I was a half an hour north at church, helping out with the 4-year-olds, when the ice started coming. They broke everything up and sent us home an hour early. First I had to collect some things in the control room then Elijah and I started home. Kayleigh was at my in-law’s so I was headed there.
We passed at least 7 accidents on the interstate, including two jackknifed 18-wheelers and one that was flipped onto its side. We had to stop for quite a while for the first jackknife as it was on our side, the others were headed the other direction. It took me an hour and a half to make what should have been, at most, a 40 minute drive.
I’d heard that the highway (2 lane) that I had to go on was shut down in places and was very, very bad. By the time I got there, it wasn’t bad as the highway department had gotten some stuff down to melt and break up the ice. I saw this red pickup truck in a field, against a telephone pole, all by itself. The running lights were on and the truck was running. I slowed down and stopped and the guy got out. I asked him if he was ok. Turned out to be a sheriff’s deputy. I guess he spun out while trying to get to work? He told me that the highway was shut down at the next 2 lane highway, but thankfully, I didn’t have to go quite that far.
However, my in-laws live on an annoying road. To get in there from the direction I was coming from (I couldn’t have come from the other direction if I’d wanted to), I had to make a 180 degree turn, down a hill. On either side of the curve of this turn, there’s a drop off, with the further end being higher and with trees there. If you manage to fly off of there and get through the trees, your next stop is a brick house and a living room.
Usually people who are behind me when making this turn are VERY impatient and will go in the oncoming lane despite it being a no-passing zone – this turn is ALSO on a curve, by the way. But no one was there at the time. I came to a complete stop and turned out further in the highway so that I would be coming into the road straighter. This was the right move, however, I’m told now that I used my brakes too much. But I can’t imagine going in there NOT using the brakes like I did. I think that without brakes I would have just flown off the edge. As it were, I thought we were going over and we ended up sliding RIGHT to the edge. Seriously, my front tires were kissing more air than ground.
Looking back, only God could have stopped the Jeep because my brakes were doing no good on that ice. Poor Elijah was so freaked out, he was screaming and crying in the back. I wasn’t too quiet myself. So we sat there and I tried to collect myself. Someone went by on the highway and you KNOW they saw me but they didn’t even try to stop. Rude. We were considering abandoning the vehicle but I thought I’d give it one try and put it in reverse. Managed to reverse just enough that I could get away from that edge and then turn it all the way the other direction and pretty much slide down the rest of the hill to the road.
Drove up to my in-laws and, of course, there was no way I was getting out of there, so we stayed for the night. With the horror of possibly crashing into trees and hanging off the edge of a road over, it became an adventure for Elijah. He loves staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s and we’d had the Wii at church (long story) so it was with us. He was quite happy to play the next couple of hours away before bed. It wasn’t fun, though. Besides the night she spent at the hospital, this was the first night Kayleigh spent away from home since she came home from the NICU. She was NOT happy about it, either, and it was hard to get her to sleep.
In the morning, my father-in-law was able to get out for work and about 6 hours after that, I decided to brave it. I said, “I love you guys, but I really wanna go home!” My brother-in-law showed up right as I was going out to start the Jeep to warm up and he took some ashes from the wood stove and spread them on the hillside to also break up and melt the ice. At least to provide traction, I think it is. I don’t think they are hot ashes. I got out of there easily enough, the most difficult thing was that Elijah kept whining he wanted to stay. We made it home and pulled into the back yard where we could actually get out without falling on our butts right away! It’s just amazing how that ice just coats everything. On the news earlier there was a man talking about another who had to slide around on his belly to get to the people he was helping get out of their wrecked car. It was a hill, I think, and he just couldn’t stand.
If this keeps up, I’m going to have to invest in some sharp cleats…