White-out

Happy Winter Solstice, first day of  Hanukkah, and fourth Sunday of Advent (if you count those sorts of things)!

I celebrated by taking 6 hours to drive from Ann Arbor to Chicago. Why? To visit my parents. Oh, you mean why did a 3.5-hour drive take 6 hours? Oh, you know, a little bit of snow on the west side of Michigan. Something we all like to call “winter weather” here in the Great White North.*

Things were pretty nice up until about mile 90 headed west on US 94 (note that the exits count down as you head west on 94… mile 90 meant I had 90 miles left before I hit Indiana).  Then, the snow started drifting across the highway. It was pretty at first; it looked a bit like smoke from dry ice, or fog or something.

I’ve read somewhere that being able to appreciate the beauty of disasters is a sign of good survival instincts. As in, you’re not so focused on the disaster that you’re flipping out, and are therefore more likely to keep your cool and get through it.**  I like to think that my appreciation of the snow drifting across the highway (and, at times, my car drifting across the highway along with it) was a sign that I was calm, cool, and in control of the situation. Or at least, in control of my car.

Around mile 60 things got bad.

How bad? I paused to take a picture to illustrate my drive:

white-out

Can you see the trees in the distance? How ’bout the lights of the car in front of me? Yeah, neither could I.

I drank too much coffee at the start, and needed to take a, um, pitstop. I spent 10 miles trying to exit, but couldn’t see the ramps.  Finally I managed to find an exit, thankfully with a Panera.  Lucky me, they had closed off part of the highway just after I exited for a 100-car pile-up. I managed to miss most of that traffic while taking my soup-and-coffee break.

Amazingly, I saw cars *flipped* on the side of the road. FLIPPED! Do you know how fast you have to be moving to flip your car over?! Pretty fast. I averaged about 30-40 mph for roughly 50 miles. That is fast enough to slide off the road (which luckily I did not do) but not exactly fast enough to flip my car (I don’t think…). Maybe in an SUV or a van.

The white-out abruptly ended about 10 miles past the Indiana border. I’ve never been more relieved to be driving in the Chicagoland area. And I doubt I will ever feel that way again.

*Southern Michigan/ Northern Indiana and Illiniois is so NOT the Great White North. But apparently, peeps from more southerly climes seem to think it IS. Oh, so funny.  So innocent.

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1 Response to “White-out”


  1. 1 Doc December 27, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Funny ? Innocent? 🙂 hmm…

    Glad you made it there safely. Thank goodness for Saint Louis Bread Company! Or Panera, as you folks from more Northerly climes call it 😉


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