Monday, January 31, 2011

Never Again!

I never mind a good road trip, but the last one we took as a family definitely has me rethinking that.  It will have to be at least a year before we attempt anything like it again.  We started off knowing that both routes to Idaho were going to have bad weather and our options were to decide between bad and worse.  We stopped at this darling little farm market just outside of Bakersfield to grab some fresh fruits and nuts for the drive.  By the time we got back to the car the clouds were ominous and we knew we were in for a real treat of a drive!

 By Tehachepi we were in a crazy blizzard and the roads were slick as can be!
The snow eventually cleared but fierce winds replaced it.  When we stopped for what turned out to be an  every two our potty break, the wind was so strong we had to fight to stand upright.  The boys thought it was the coolest thing ever!
 The drive was a bit uneventful for a few hours other than some rain here and there and then it all went down hill and fast!  As we came in to St George Utah the snow stopped but it had left a mess in it's wake.  The freeway that had been closed, just opened up, so we thought it would be safe.  Not so. I have never seen as many cars in the ditches on the sides of the road crashed and many abandoned.  Big rigs slid off the road in front of us.  When we stopped to put our chains on, the road was so icy I couldn't even get decent footing to  stand by the tires to begin the process.  When we finally got it done and climbed back into the car, it took a while for my breathing to return to normal. My insides were frozen!
 We drove a few miles more on the ice rink that is normally I15 and pulled off at a rest area to check our chains.
 Nothing had been plowed and it was difficult to see where the road even was.  Once we located it we had a bit of a problem.  The car in front of us was stuck and blocking our way.  They had chains but didn't know how to put them on!
 Jeff jumped out to help them and found a car load of Hmong kids in their early 20's who were shocked to get help from a white guy speaking their language! There were 3 people in the back seat who never left the car to help in the hour that Jeff spent trying to dig them out and get their chains on.  Not even when I got out of our car to help push their car!!
 The picture above was taken from the comfort of my car, and shows the temp outside at a cozy 19*.  The 50 miles between St George and Cedar city took us just over 3 and a half hours to drive including this little pit stop.  The roads continued to be an experience in white knuckle driving.  Our chains broke at some point during the night and we made a few more stops looking for something to hold them til morning when we could buy new ones.  At one such stop, a complete stranger opened the driver side door and started to climb into our car only to realize it wasn't his.    Brynne called out to him, "Hey what are you doing? You're not my dad?" He sure felt dumb, but for those of us that were in the car and awake, we experienced a moment of much needed levity!  This sign below gave us a good chuckle too, interstate oasis... what in the world is that?
The windshield wiper spray was frozen solid and the slush that the passing cars splashed onto the window gave the worst glare, making it impossible to see or clean off the front window without stopping at a gas station. The roads were slick all the way beyond Provo and we stopped in Lehi and bought new chains.  We put them on only to realize there were massive sections dangling off that would need to be chopped with bolt cutters that no one seemed to have!  Each stop took way longer than necessary and one thing went wrong after another.  We arrived in Idaho Falls after traveling for just over 24 hours!

We spent two and a half days in Idaho and then traveled for just 15 hours on dry roads to come home.  But by that trip the magic was totally gone.  The things the kids were complaining about were sooo ridiculous I wished someone could have tied me to the roof for the remainder of the drive.  Since that wasn't really a realistic option I started just writing them down.  Here are just a few of the things that came out of the mouths of my traveling companions.  "Don't talk, I'm your master now." "Wes is breathing air at me"  "Who's feet stink?" "Wes bit me!" "Where's my food?" "Dad can you tie Wesley up or spank him?" "Who farted" "Look it's nine degrees outside!" "My door wont close it's frozen open!" "I'm stuck in the car, the door is frozen shut!" "Use your headphones" "Wes is licking me" "The handle to the back door just snapped off" "have you seen my eye mask""Oops I frowed up""get your legs off of me!" "It's not a pillow dog, it's a pillow pet!"

The freezing temperatures in Idaho resulted in a crack the length of my windshield.  The car wash I insisted upon in 5* weather resulted in a broken window track on the drivers door and likely the broken back hatch handle.  The extra length on the chains resulted in missing chunks of paint on both rear fenders and torn mud flaps.  The length of time spent in a moving vehicle caused Jeff to declare we will never be driving to Idaho in the winter with the entire family ever again.  I'd like to think the most recent bit of sanity I've lost is due to this trip as well.

Short of a car accident the traveling couldn't have been much worse!


Kirsten said...

yikes. i didn't hear this story. crazy stuff!!!! there's nothing like driving 24 in the SNOW to drive you insane. i'm sure you'll laugh about it all.... in a year or two. :)

Tawna said...

We are just glad that you are aliiiiivvveee!!! I know those roads were crazy--we wouldn't even drive down to Provo! I am glad that one of your kids (I'm assuming that's who said it?) is master now. :) And I am so glad that a strange man tried to climb into your car (only because it was by accident.)

Bill said...

Or better yet, next time you could try it in a covered wagon being pulled by an old milk cow and a half starved mule. With only the food you can carry on board.
Wow! You made it there in 24 hours?!?! And you had to keep going outside in the cold, cuz a chain broke and you had to dig another guy's wheel out. You had a heater, and heated seats, and a radio and movies, and iPhones!?!?
Dude, NEVER AGAIN!!!! You do know your great-greats did it in a handcart, right?