Snow Driven

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cat and I were supposed to spend Christmas day at my parents, along with my Grandmother and Mrs. Fishburn, a close family friend.  Because of the weather, the day was postponed.  The thought would be that Saturday would be better, as to give the road some times to clear.

Right.

Saturday, a little after 11 am, Cat and I start the trek to Mom and Dad's house.  This is a trip we've driven many times, and usually the trip takes about 50 minutes depending on traffic.  However, since lunch was supposed to start at 1 PM, we left a little early to give us some "extra time"

I knew the roads in Lakeland would be somewhat hazardous.  Little traffic and no road crews meant the roads would be almost untouched and still full of snow and ice.  However, my thought would be that once I got to the highway just outside Lakeland's gate, things would be fine.  In the picture below, there is a road somewhere under the snow and ice...

Highway 20 was not fine, and most of the road was covered completely.  There were some ruts grooved into the ice at points, but not everywhere.  Traffic was down to one lane going each way, so we were subject to the speed of all the cars in front of us.  At one point, everyone was going 15 miles per hours.  Ugh...even on ice, that is sloooooooooooow.   I figured things would be better once we got to Pryor.

Pryor was not better.  Oh sure, they had tons of snow piled into the center of the street, but they left the ice.  The ice, with holes and chunks and seemingly cliffs to drive off of, made it feel like we were on the roughest of country dirt roads.  Or as Cat put it, this is like driving in Romania in the mountains.  Yeah...it was kinda like that.  Ouch.  I was sure my car would shake apart as we bounced along.  Maybe, I thought, the highway would be clear on the other side of Pryor.

The storm results in front of my house

The highway on the other side of Pryor was not clear.  And you could see cars scattered about the sides of the road like toys left by a small child.  It was somewhat surreal to see all these abandoned vehicles as my little PT Cruiser drove by.  Having experienced these types of roads before, I was hopeful that Rogers County (who usually is very good at road clearing) would have its portion of Highway 20 cleared.

My hopes were dashed at I made it to Rogers County.  Same ice, same snow, same bouncing and bouncing along.  The only clear spot in the highway was right in front of the Cherokee Casino at Will Rogers Downs.  How that happened...I don't know.  It was also in Rogers County where I looked in my rear view mirror and see this giant pickup barreling down on us, fishtailing as he grew larger and larger in my mirror.  I can't say what I really thought, but I was scared he was going to run us down.  I slowed down, pull over to the side a bit to give him room to pass.  Some jerkwad redneck zoomed passed us, and pulled into the store just ahead.  I see... must have been in a hurry to buy some beer, their Christmas supply having run out. 

One bright spot.. the turnpike was relatively clear.  Mainly one lane, but the traffic was going up to 60 mph.  Wow!!  Tulsa was somewhat ok, but we got stuck behind the snowplow and sand trucks on Highway 169.  Combined with that, and the traffic going to the mall area at 71st, 169 was virtually a standstill.  The trucks were on either side of the road going our direction, so only one lane could pass them at a time.  It took forever to get past them, and when I passed, I got a pasting of sand all over me.   Thank you very much!

Even in Tulsa, the roads were littered with abandoned cars.  Eerie....

We made it to parents house around 2 PM.  Well, I did stop at the comic book store on the way, but that maybe took 20-30 minutes.  By the time I got to my parents' house, I was exhausted, but at least we made it.



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