Our 2019 year had an unexpected but interesting touch to it Dec. 28. Daughter Nissa was going back to her Washington D.C. area home on a 9 a.m. Delta flight. We decided that getting to the airport early would be a good thing so we left home at 6 a.m. To use the phrase, “it was a dark, rainy, windy and ice-filled morning” would be a very correct interpretation of the world that morning. Nissa suggested we find and take along our cleats in case we might need them.
Husband Larry was the driver and we very slowly made our way into the world as described above. Traffic was a low turtle speed for a very good reason. We made it to the refinery area without meeting too many cars and a little bit of slipping and thinking it would be better once we got to Highway 52. Wrong, Wrong, so wrong. It was a foggy skating rink with more cars to deal with. I made the crazy statement that it would be daylight soon but was informed that the correct time of that would be at least another hour. We did a slow crawl and every once in awhile the blood pressure went up as a car slide close to us and sometimes did an interesting skating move on the solid ice road, along with the wind effect.
Nissa was very calm and said that it was OK if we did not get to the airport in time for the 9 a.m. flight as she could take another. We made it about 15 miles and we came to a standstill and of course it was still very dark. It was creeping up to 9 a.m. and Nissa called to re-book and was told that she would be called back in one-and-a-half hours.
After about an hour wait, a highway worker came with a big pail and was sprinkling a bit of sand under each car's tires so we could get going. We saw that a semi had jackknifed on a bridge and a big highway plow had pushed him somewhat so that cars could get by. Good deal we said and crept forward. Nissa got a notice that her 9 a.m. was moved to 10:15 a.m. We might just make it in the nick of time.
That was not to be. We came to a halt about half a mile from the merge that gets you onto the Mendota Bridge. We spent about two hours parked there. Some cars did try to turn around and go back but most did not make it as there was very little room and extremely icy.
In the meantime, Nissa had checked out all the flights to the three D.C. airports and did a get a booking for 8:45 p.m. Even though it was now good daylight, all we could see was parked cars. We did get reports from several people who walked ahead and said that there was a 10-40 car pileup and tow trucks were not expected to show up for hours.
With this timeline, the nature of bathroom calls were put in effect and lets just say there were various ways of taking care of that while parked 3 miles from the airport. The cleats were totally necessary to set a single foot outside the vehicle. Several drivers took it upon themselves and organized a turn around starting with cars at the end of the line near Highway 13 and 55.
We got Nissa to the airport at about 11 a.m. and although she did miss several standbys she got an early afternoon flight to DCA. The icy roads were starting to break up a bit and we got back to Hastings about noon and thanked all the available stars we were safely home and going to stay there for sometime. It was a long, interesting, memorable 50-mile trip!
Bea Westerberg may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.