I left work at 1 pm. I packed up my laptop, and told my boss I'd be back online in about 30 mins after I got to my apartment. I wanted to get home before everyone and there mama left, so I could work the rest of the afternoon without interruptions. WRONG!!
As I said in my last post, I didn't get on the fastest route home. I took a surface street thinking they would be less clogged and would relieve themselves faster of the congestion if they were. Plus I wouldn't feel pressured to drive faster than I wanted to. I took the major surface streets such as Peachtree and Piedmont. and never even moved. After about hour 5 or 6, I got out of the car to use the bathroom and to give my nerves a break. At this point, the only rough patches in the road were in neighborhoods on hills. So the traffic report lead me to decide to get back on the interestate and proceed on home. I couldn't stand the thought of being so close to home and not get there, coupled with the fact of I have no idea how long everything was going to last if I decided to just stay.
I got back on 400, barely. The road conditions had worsted in my brief hour stop that felt like a 3 hour stay. My car got a little squirrely (as Billy likes to call it) getting back on the road, but I got through it. I saw several cars spinning out unable to make the hills their cars had stopped on. I saw others who were completely disregarding the lights and traffic laws.
I finally made it on to 400 and my heart burst with happiness. I could my tires could roll. I could move--not fast, but I was moving. I made it to the intersection of 285, and my heart dropped. It was like driving into the walking dead. There were abandoned cars, cars facing in all directions, people walking, people pulling cars. There are no words to describe what I saw. I so wish I had taken pictures, but I didn't want to take my hands off the wheel. Here are a few from the AJC
I got to my ramp which was riddled with accidents, flashing lights, and cars who weren't apple to go around it. I decided I would go up to the next exit and track backwards against traffic on the surface streets, and if that ramp was blocked, I was driving to Billy and he was meeting me at the ramp in his truck with 4-wheel drive to get me at least out from behind the wheel. I was approaching hour 9 or 10 at this point. Every time I would hit a patch of ice, I would sequel hoping I was sliding away from the cars around me and also because there was nothing else I could do to help myself but slide it out.
I thought about walking.
I thought about hitching a ride.
I thought about sleeping in my car.
I thought about just trying to get to the nearest shelter.
I couldn't stand the idea of being within spitting distance of my apartment and not being able to get there. I just wanted to get my car off of the interstate and out of the way of those trying to help the situation. All of the abandoned cars that were not involved in accidents did nothing but make the situation worse. Emergency vehicles could not pass, trucks with sand or salt were stuck in line with the rest of us, and I didn't want to be that guy. I considered walking, then I remembered I was in heels and had already slipped twice at the Wendy's.
All I wanted to do was cry. Quite frankly, the only option I had at this point was to cry. and I did. I can get myself out of any sticky situation, but I was completely helpless. There was nothing I could do. As dramatic as it may sound, it felt like somebody from the Titanic waiting for the Carpathia to come save me. "Waiting to live. waiting to die"
I finally. finally. made it to my exit, on hour 11. I made it up the ramp flawlessly. Then, after crossing the bridge, it was #Snowmageddon. There were cars driving on sidewalks, cars spinning uncontrollably, cars facing the wrong direction, cars stopped, people just giving up and seeking shelter at the nearby Kroger, gas stations, or anything that was open at that point. The hill I was about to go down a was a sheet of ice. I had mustered up some confidence and my determination--that ice wasn't stopping me. I had to pee again. My hips were killing me. My eyes were so tired, but I couldn't give up now. I made it to the bottom of the hill where I found a group of men who I wanted to kiss dead on the lips.
They were salting or sanding the roads! Not to mention I was greated with no one going in my direction!!! I could go at a speed that I felt comfortable with and I could go fast enough down a hill to get back up the other! If Billy hadn't still been hanging out on my bluetooth, I would have played the hallelujah chorus.
The rest of my drive was great, including the entrance to my community! On normal days it is treacherous, and I was already prepared to park at a nearby shopping center and walk from there, but it was a breeze. At that point 30 mph felt like 80. I wanted to cry again when I was able to put my key in my door and open my door to a warm and cozy dwelling at almost 1:00 am.
Even after I called everyone back that had called and checked on me, I was able to crawl in bed. However, I still couldn't sleep. My nerves were torn up. I still wanted to cry--for myself and those who are still stuck in this mess. I had nightmares all night reliving driving or of me actually sliding off the road into ditches and other cars. I have no plans of getting back in my car for at least a week because of them.
Stay tuned for my afternoon post of the good, the bad and the ugly regarding my day-long commute.