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Road Trip Survival

I survived Hurricane Sandy. In fact, rather than hunkering down in a safe place, I drove though it. Before you think I’m some crazy daredevil tempting fates let me explain.

In the past few months I moved to Connecticut. While here I clicked well with a girl from the area. A few weekends ago I drove her to the airport to fly to Nashville to interview for a job. It turns out she got it! The only problem was she needed to move down and had to drive her car. Her parents couldn’t help her out since they were going on a business trip so I offered. Unbeknownst to me there was a crazy storm chasing us down.

Friday night the 26th, my husband and I drove down to PA to see my family and celebrate my birthday. We had a great weekend and the plan had been that I would drive back to CT Sunday night with my husband and leave Monday morning to drive south with my friend. Thankfully the storm had us both freaked out. So instead of trying to leave Monday when all of the bridges were closed from eastern CT on through NYC we left PA late Sunday night. All told the drive was 16 hours. By the time my friend got to my parents house it was stormy, windy, rainy and dark. We decided we’d drive as long as we could Sunday night. So I piled into the driver’s seat of the Mini Cooper (yes that’s right. A mini cooper stuffed full of all her stuff with a roof rack that had almost a car’s worth of stuff on top, which I imagine looked quite comical) and off into the night we drove. We drove west and then south driving hundreds of miles through Pennsylvania, then Maryland, West Virgina, and finally Virginia where we stopped barely after midnight. Not only does long drives in a car make me sleepy, but driving in the dark does too. The poor mini was pushed around by the wind like it had a sail on top, thankfully we weighed so much (ok the stuff, not us two girls!) and sat so close to the ground we made it through just fine.

We fell asleep to the sounds of brake retarders on 18-wheelers and the wind howling around the hotel. The next morning we still had a 9 hour drive ahead of us that stretched through the Shenandoah valley where we were snowed on, and continued being snowed on up into the mountains.

Looking back I am so thankful we left when we did! If we would have left Monday I doubt we could have made it out of CT with the road closures, or if we had, I doubt we would have made it through New York. But if we had we certainly would have been stopped by the gusting winds, or the feet of snow that were dumped on our drive just hours behind our crossing. Luckily for us we had gotten a head start on Sandy. Even so, we had our wipers going a mile a minute, and our stops were only for necessities, we couldn’t risk getting caught up deeper in the storm. That huge monstrous storm was in our way the entire drive up and through the mountains until we were about an hour from the city of Nashville. Then suddenly the rain clouds disappeared, and in it’s place was a bright glowing sun, and the honks of rush-hour traffic. We’d made it!

(Forgive me that there are no pictures of driving through the Hurricane. I was a bit preoccupied with staying on the road, and when I was a passenger there wasn’t much to see beyond blinding rain and wind across the countryside!)

However, once there my worries weren’t over. I’d left my husband and a house we just bought in a shoreline town of CT where the sound grew several blocks, beaches were in the streets, power was out for days and people trapped in their homes. I left my family behind in PA where they are still without power and stuck with downed trees and will be for days to come. My parents house on the jersey shore had an entire island flooded and still under a state of emergency and nobody really knows what to expect when they get back to the island.

Of course all the airports were closed and even though I flew out on time from Nashville I hit delays and malfunctioning airline equipment on the way north.  I arrived safely in Providence two hours after I was supposed to be there, but my husband was there waiting and had a bouquet of roses for me. What a sweetheart. We belong in sentimental movies. Even though I’d heard voices of all my loved ones on the phone as first they called me to check on my safety, and then as I called them to check on the status of their situations finally seeing someones face was a relief!

In spite of the devastation and destruction that has hit the East Coast the only thing that really matters is the lives of the people effected, and the rest of it is just stuff. I’m just so thankful my family is ok and all in one piece! It was really hard being far away from everyone and knowing there was nothing I could do but pray. But I’m amazed how the community of people impacted by the storm can band together. My facebook feed is flooded with dear souls offering hot showers, a warm meal, a place to do laundry or even sleep in a warm house to those who are still without. These people warm my heart. I know who they are, and I know they are good loving people. But even so it gives me hope that ‘we’ can be snapped out of our selfish little bubbles to spread the cheer of the upcoming Thanksgiving season to those around us.

Today I am most thankful for the lives of all those spared who are so near and dear to my heart ❤

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