Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nothing bonds a family like 16 and a half hours in the car in a snow storm in a traffic jam.

Friday started off according to plan.  The kids went to school and I ran around doing laundry, packing suit cases and cleaning messes.

Then around noon it started to ice a little.  And by 3:00 the snow was really falling. 

A sinking feeling washed over me.  We probably wouldn't be leaving for our trip to Massachusetts as originally scheduled.

The plan was that we would hit the road as soon as my husband got home from work.  We would be in Alexandria, Virginia by 11:30 PM and then on Saturday morning we would be on the road by 5:30 AM and hopefully in Massachusetts no later than 4:30 PM.  We've done this road trip 14 times by now and we have it down to a science -  we even know the locations of all the McDonald's with the best playlands between NC and MA.

But then it started to snow in North Carolina and I knew all bets were off.

When my husband got home we decided we should postpone our departure until Saturday morning.  My husband is an excellent driver in the snow but most people in North Carolina are not.

So we headed to Alexandria around 10:00 AM on Saturday and hoped we would arrive no later than 7:00 PM.  We were hoping what normally took us 6 hours would take us 9.

And we were actually making great time.  The snow had been cleared off the highways and even though it was still snowing we were pleased with how well everything was going.

Until around 5:30 PM. 

We were on the north side of Richmond and things slowed down, way down. But we figured we would still be fine.

Until around 7:00 PM.

We were only 35 miles from my sister-in-law's house when we came to a complete stop. Well, I guess I shouldn't say complete stop because in the next three and a half hours we technically we did move 2.5 miles. 

Yep, that's right.  In three and a half hours we moved 2.5 miles.  And then we realized we weren't moving again and it felt like we were never going to move again.  So we cut the car off and got out the blankets and tried to get some sleep.

Yep, that's right.  Right in the middle of I-95 we put cut the car off and tried to get some sleep. 

The kids were troopers - there was minimal whining and minimal fighting.  Luckily I travel with a lot of snacks so we weren't starving.  And luckily Sarah doesn't have a problem peeing in a cup. And luckily I didn't finish my Diet Dr. Pepper at lunch because I do have a problem peeing in a cup.

And finally around 1:00 AM we started moving.  And we finished the last 30 minutes in an hour and a half.  But let me tell you, it felt like we were flying!

Needless to say we spent the next day in Alexandria.  More snow up the east coast and the thought of even setting foot near the car prevented us from making the second leg of our journey.  So we slept in, went to the late Mass and took the kids sledding.

And then finally, finally, yesterday evening we arrived in Massachusetts two days later than originally planned. 

But we were safe and sound and now, let Christmas begin. 

Well, after I wrap a whole lot of presents!


Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Ouch! That does not sound like fun at all. But I am glad to know you guys made it safe and sound. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Mari said...

Yuck! I hate traveling like that. My patience level doesn't do well in those situations. Glad you made if safe though and may the trip back be less eventful!

He & Me + 3 said...

Oh no...that is why I hate traveling in the winter. My inlaws live in Virginia and we only visit in the summer because I am the biggest travel wimp around. So glad you are safe and sound. What a journey.

Kimberly said...

My goodness! What a story. I'm sure this will be a forever memory for your kids. Peter and Sarah will be my age (30) and sitting around the table with their spouses and kids and you and your hubby. And then Peter will look at Sarah and say "Hey sis, remember that Christmas when it snowed and we got to sleep in the car on the interstate on the way to MA??" And Sarah will say "Yeah" and all of you will have a big laugh.

Yup, I can see it now!

Andrea said...

i would never have the patience for that...just thinking about it gives me a headache!! glad you all made it though.

Merry Christmas!

Kim said...

Beth, bless your hearts! I really cannot imagine it. I am so glad you have safely arrived. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Wendy said...

Oh I hate to hear that. I can only imagine how bad that was to just be stuck there. I think I would have gone crazy being stuck in the car and not moving! I'm so glad you made it to MA safely though and hope you have a better trip back home. Have a Merry Christmas!

kanishk said...

that does not sound like fun at all. But I am glad to know you guys made it safe and sound. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
Work from home India

Jaina said...

Oh gosh, what a nightmare! I'm so glad that everything worked out though. We missed the snow...we saw it while we were back there but it never snowed where we were. A mixed blessing I suppose.