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BORDERLINE!

January 31st, 2014 · No Comments

Yes, we here in the South did only get a few fluffy inches of snow, however, under that snow was a sheet of ice. The Ham and surrounding municipalities rise up (and on top of) Red Mountain. Nothing here is flat. When a sheet of ice covers a mountain road, no one is going anywhere.

To top that off, we in North-Central Alabama were repeatedly told that the storm would fly below our area. Straight down I-10 and never make it north of Montgomery (which is a solid 60+ miles south).  We went about our day as any other; kids went to school, busses ran, parents went to work downtown…

I’m not sure who is to blame, so 50/50 on the weather forecasters (local and national) and our State and local politicians who didn’t call it fast enough. At 10 am we saw the first fluffy white snowflakes falling, at 11 am they closed the schools and at 11:30 parents were told no busses would take said kids home; all out panic erupted when parents realized their young elementary school babies would be trapped for god-knows-how-long.  A sudden and massive exodus from downtown to suburbia began! Hence, massive and aggravatingly stalled gridlock! It didn’t matter if you owned a four wheel drive vehicle, no one is going anywhere unless you actually owned a tank and drove over everyone in front and/or on each side of you on the Interstates and surface roads. Cars would try to get up and around even the slightest of inclines and curved roads to no avail. They simply stopped dead and spun tires on the sheet of ice in the center of the road. Some people sat in their cars for as long as they could, but if there was even a chance of getting somewhere (anywhere) else before dark, we did it. We abandoned our cars in search of safety.

I felt like I was running for the border.

I was lucky enough to be able to pull off of the Interstate I was stuck on. I pulled my car into the grassy shoulder and fell in line with about 100 other cars making the same decision. Most people started walking towards the exit ramp which (the sign I was nearest to) stated 1 mile. I have driven this route for years so I know exactly where my house is when compared to the actual exit. Nonsense! I would be back tracking to walk to the exit and then back down the parallel side street to my home. (I was wearing a sweater dress and suede dress boots. Not winter gear.)

I measured the ravine on the side of the Interstate with my eyes. The closest section was way too thick with trees and underbrush and far too steep of a climb up the other side. I kept walking further towards the exit until I saw a break in the trees. (A pickup truck had already found the bottom of the ravine, I’m afraid.) There was a section with minimal underbrush and only a 6 or 8 foot chain link fence separating me from a car dealership and auto body shop on the other side. Suddenly a young father and two young daughters came up behind me, they too were heading for the border. I grabbed one little girl’s hand, Dad grabbed the other and the 4 of us slowly tromped down the ravine, through the snow and pricker bushes and up the other side. The Dad pulled the bottom of the fence up enough for his 2 little girls to climb under while I scaled the chain link and bounded over the top and met the girls on the other side. Dad quickly followed my lead and the four of us traipsed across the dealership and down to the street. I called my Hubby who was able to drive his car and get as close as a curbside valet! Hubby drove the young family as close to their destination as the roads would allow. We came upon a bridge where the cars had piled up and we couldn’t get through. The young family hopped out of the car and ran the few short blocks further to their subdivision while Hubby and I turned around and drove back to our final destination. It was a challenge the entire way! Like an all out apocalyptic obstacle course of cars, ice and trucks. At least twice Hubby burned the tires so badly that you could smell the rubber melting! But it was the only way to keep the car moving forward and not get stuck simply spinning on ice.

All in all it took over 3 hours to get home, but I was a lucky one!

Tags: Adventures

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