Did I by any chance mention that after we opened Christmas presents Friday morning that we also decided that we'd brave the snow and drive the two-and-a-half hours to Lawton, Oklahoma to visit family? Did I mention that we had a blizzard the night before--and I ain't talking about a tasty treat from Dairy Queen.
I should have turned around when I discovered that even Santa didn't make it past my neighbor's home.
I should have turned around when my husband and I counted fifteen wrecks between our town and the interstate.
Ah, it can't be that bad I kept telling myself over and over. I mean look at the road--it's mostly thawed.
I swear on my dog's grave that not two minutes later the road looked like this:
That was about the time we stopped in Decatur, Texas to fill up on gas and buy some hotdogs for the trip. Already we had spent three hours in the van on a leg of our trip that should have taken us only one hour.
That's when I heard a man talking on his cell: "Yep Highway 287 is closed west of Wichita Falls and so is I-44 northbound."
You've got to be kidding me dude.
So I called Oklahoma's Highway Patrol and received the following recording: "All major highways and turnpikes have been reopened. Extreme caution is advised while traveling as the roads are hazardous."
Hmmm, we'll see about that fine-lookin cell-talkin dude.
So I hopped back in my van, determined to make it to Wichita Falls or bust. Or get stuck. Whichever came first.
Once on the other side of Decatur, the traffic began to get worse. I should mention that on any other day Highway 287 has no traffic, just miles and miles of road and ranches with scattered small towns between. As we approached Bowie, Texas traffic completely stopped. We weren't going anywhere and no one knew why. In fact, when we weren't completely stopped we averaged about three miles per hour--slow enough for the birds to land on moving vehicles. At one point some kids got out of their car and began a snowball fight behind us. All I could think of was when I could get out and use the restroom. No, my GoGirl was of no use with hundreds of eyes in such close proximity.
We drove ten miles in one-and-a-half hours.
My heart sank with the crawl of traffic and my bladder throbbed. So we exited to make a pit stop at the Walmart we could see off the side of the highway. Murder to my bladder if it wasn't freaking Christmas Day and so the Wally World was closed. Dagnabit, I'll just go behind the store then...well crap if someone else thought of it first. Back on the road again we went--my bladder still full.
Why we were still headed to Wichita Falls beats me. I think we were thinking, "Heck, if we've gone this far we can't turn back." We both had our fingers crossed Interstate 44 had been reopened on the Texas side. Thank goodness we weren't driving the day before.
Eventually, we made it to Wichita Falls and exited onto the I-44 north towards Oklahoma. What we couldn't figure out was why there was hardly anyone on I-44 North and bumper to bumper on the southbound lanes.
And then it hit us or rather we saw the sign: ROAD CLOSED.
Now what the heck were we supposed to do?
We followed the other cars in front of us onto the exit ramp and then we watched in amazement as a gray car went around the sign. And then another car. And at least a dozen more. So half of us took the next exit to I-44 off the service road in front of the Department of Public Safety office and blew caution to the wind because we were going to Oklahoma or bust!
What should have been a three hour drive at the most turned into seven-and-a-half hours of pure craziness on Christmas Day. We were lucky this didn't happen to us.
After spending the rest of Christmas Day with my sister and my niece, I knew it was all worth it. Especially when I drove back to Texas the very next day with these $8 shoes. Yep, the seven-and-a-half hour roadtrip was worth every minute.
PS: Don't forget to enter to win the $50 giveaway for custom stickers for use on anything you can imagine: laptop and iphone skins, tiles, murals, walls, tabletops, windows, vehicles and more. It's my and sticview's New Years gift to you!
PPS: The National Weather Service is predicting more snow today. You can bet I am not going anywhere. We're having an early ice age here thankyouverymuch.
PPPS: Check out the Texas Blizzard 2009 story on Whrrl (and add me as a friend if you haven't already--I'd love to read your stories):