Monday, February 8, 2010

Snowy Homecoming

February 5-6, 2010 Yes, it took 2 days to get home from Munich....if it had been up to mom and I it would have been 3 or 4 days before we made it home! Here's how the trip went....Matt and I left Garmisch Wednesday afternoon and made our way to Erding. All day Thursday was spent relaxing at Therme Erding, the world's largest spa/sauna facility! Upon arriving at the airport Friday morning and waiting in line/distributing stuff between my many, many bags (all within the allowance since I had travel orders!!) I then made it to the front of the line only to be told (what I thought was a joke at first) that my flight to Dulles had been canceled and I should hurry upstairs to determine an alternate plan. Well, after talking to my mom (on lufthansa's dime) and confusing the heck out of the nice lady who was helping me, we finally found two flights - both with a final destination of Richmond, VA. (Leading up to this I had given her a sheet with a list of all possible airports in VA - Richmond was the only one with a flight that hadn't been canceled - if it weren't for Richmond I would have been stuck in Munich til Monday or Tuesday!!) Thank goodness the flight that had a stopover in Toronto arrived in Richmond earlier than the other flight, otherwise I might have chosen the NJ stopover flight and still be stuck in Newark, New Jersey because all flights out of NJ were canceled after I left Munich. So the flights were fine minus the fact that small planes (2 seats by 2 seats) are never fun to fly on and we landed in Richmond in a rainy/slushy/cold mess! Before I even picked up my luggage there were mom and dad (what a weird airport!) so we went to grab my baggage and I was then informed how bad the roads were and that we were spending the night in Richmond for the night and maybe the following night before making our way home.

So the next day (Saturday, February 6) we had a slow start leaving the hotel because we were watching the weather channel for an hour and then went to the lobby to do some research online and look at the interstate cameras (which showed bad road conditions!!). Despite seeing all the accidents and weather forecasts on the weather channel and seeing the live traffic cams that all suggested we wait at least another day before driving, dad decided we could make the drive home. A crazy drive it gave me her ipod touch to play games and distract me from the craziness/heart attack waiting to happen! The roads were barely scraped in a lot of places, most parts of the interstate only had one lane open and when there were two lanes the tracks were so close to each other that one little mistake and it would have been pretty nasty! After driving for almost 3 hours (on a drive that usually takes 1-1.5 hours in good weather) we were finally 6 miles from our exit when we came to a dead halt! After calling a friend who can see the interstate from her house we found out that there was an accident on the exit ramp we needed to take! Back in December when VA got the other big snow there was also an accident in the same place on the interstate and they were stuck there for 13 hours before the accident was cleared up! However, after the accident was cleared up the cars were still stuck because so much snow had accumulated between the parked vehicles. Lucky for us we only sat in the traffic for an hour before moving ever so slightly, just enough to get us to a police cross through, allowing us to hop on 81S to go back to the last exit and take the secondary roads home. Some of the secondary roads were in better shape than parts of the interstate (certain counties don't spend the money to plow the roads and the interstate through those counties were the worst!!). When we made it to our back roads they hadn't been plowed at all....and those last 3 miles home were probably the craziest/scariest part of our trip home! There was about 24-28 inches of snow and we could tell a truck or two had ventured down the road leaving us a path, kind of. With some slipping and sliding (less than I thought we'd have) we finally made it to our driveway, which obviously hadn't been plowed at all....Dad just gunned it down the driveway and plowed his own path! HOME! Finally. 4 hours later (remember this is only a 1.5 hour drive normally). Well, once inside we discovered that the power was out.....we were without power for about 3 hours - thank goodness for the generator to get things warm and working! *Surprisingly we didnt see any accidents happen on our way home! but when mom and I went out today (since dad plowed all the roads) we saw an accident happen - the guy just got sucked into the shoulder into the pile of snow)

64 West...dismal road conditions!

the accident on 81N we sat in for an hour before turning around on 81S and taking secondary roads home

Back roads to our house.....insane! 24-28 inches of snow!!

The next day mom and I walked around to photograph the beautiful snow - this one was taken from the safety of our front porch! The spruce tree was our family Christmas tree in 1990.

We were able to walk down the driveway after dad plowed all the snow!