"Oh the weather outside was frightful
And if I'd been more insightful
I'd have stayed by the fire delightful
And let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....."
Actually when I left for Georgia Friday morning, the weather was fine. Cloudy, yes. Cold, yes. Snowing, no. But I'd heard the rumors: 6 to 18 inches, coming up from the south. But whoever believes the weather report? Old folks, that's who. And why? Because they have had the life experience of ignoring the reports and have been caught---as I was---on the interstate in a snow storm. Not fun.
The trip to Clarkesville, which normally takes about nine hours, took almost thirty and involved an unexpected overnight stay in Rogersville, Tennessee. It started snowing, lightly at first, about four hours into the trip. But the thing was, it just didn't stop. Cars were sliding off the road right and left. I didn't want to be one of them so I slowed to a crawl---20 mph---and just kept going, keeping a great deal of space between me and the car in front. I didn't know what else to do. By the time I reached Abingdon, about 2 pm, I was thinking I might have to stop there and spend the night with [Bluegrass content!] The Dixie Bee-Liners. But somehow, I found myself passing up that exit, especially since the ramp and the roads below looked seriously unplowed. I kept moving.
At 20 miles an hour, though, I was getting nowhere fast. All of a sudden, Knoxville, a mere 96 miles away, looked impossibly far. But I was still upright. My plan now was to keep moving west, hoping I'd drive out of the storm. However, I knew it would be getting dark around five and that I needed to find a place to stay before that. Also, I was tired. The "constant vigilance" and the white knuckling was wearing me out. (Fortunately I had my amazing iPod, newly reloaded, to listen to. "Heads Up For the Wrecking Ball" was awesome.) I started imagining the best possible scenario: an expensive motel (which would be well lighted, clean, and not scary), a nice restaurant nearby where I could get a good hot meal and a glass of wine, and a flat exit ramp, preferably plowed.
As the motel-less miles went by and it got darker and darker, I revised my wish list: a decent motel with a drivable exit ramp. I could eat the peanut butter crackers and apple I had in the car. (I had already eaten all the Hershey kisses I'd put in for Mama and Daddy!) With Casey's internet help I found a Very Nice Best Western. Foodwise, I settled for McDonald's and Corona. Not a bad combination!
The next morning I arose to no precip and a clear interstate, while back in Winchester, Red woke up to a foot of snow with more falling. I knew that everything around Asheville would be a mess, so I took the only roads to Georgia that I knew were open: Knoxville to Chattanooga to Atlanta to Gainesville to Mama and Daddy's front door. A 200 mile detour. By the time I hit Lula, the temp was 50 degrees, the sun was shining, and blue sky was peaking through puffy white clouds that didn't have a bit of snow in them. If I'd found a Starbucks, everything would have been perfect!
My plans to drive back on Sunday evaporated when I realized how hard Virginia had been hit by the storm. So, here I am, safely ensconced in my old bedroom, typing out this blog. I'm fixing to go sit in the TV room with the folks and watch more episodes of "Get Smart" on DVD which is what I gave Daddy for Christmas. I imagine the phrases "Sorry about that, Chief" and "Would you believe....?" will soon be cropping up in my blogs. I didn't realize until I started watching these reruns that the show was written by Mel Brooks. No wonder it's so funny and has held up so well.
If you have your own snow adventures, please feel free to share them in the comments. I can no longer say I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. I've seen all the snow I want to for a while!