Today I Was the Tortoise

22 Feb

Two hours.

TWO hours.


Two hours of shaking legs, a nervous stomach, and clenched hands.

Two hours of blasting heat, a steaming face and unblinking eyes.

Two hours of driving through the treacherous storm that has passed through much of the country it seems.


I made it.  And I’ve never been more proud of my rear wheel, sucky-on-snow-and-ice but fast any other time Mustang.  I’m even a little proud of it’s driver.

The snow and ice had been coming down for about 3 hours when I finally got off work.  I was offered a free night’s stay at the hotel multiple times, but since I didn’t have to work the next day, I declined.  I was determined to take it slow and easy, and be able to enjoy my evening at home.

When the exit gate of the garage opened, and I saw a Mustang directly across from me spinning its wheels as it tried to get up the hill, I took it as a bad sign. But I wasn’t giving up already.

I turned onto that same street and drove about 10 feet before getting stuck in my own rut.  I backed up a little (easy to do since it’s downhill) and tried again.  Nothing but spinning wheels.  Backed up.  Spun.  Backed up.  Spun.  I had just about given up when a heroic snow plow came by.  I backed up onto the cleared path and finally was able to make it up the hill.

My relief didn’t last long, however. The entrance ramp onto the bridge crossing the Mississippi was backed up.  Some cars were spinning wheels, others were able to get around.  Not wanting to lose momentum, I went around them too, only to fish tail my way across the bridge.  The bridge normally has four lanes, but no one knew where they were, so we all just kinda clumped together.  Scary for me, since my car is known to spin out.

I stayed in first gear all the way across the bridge, trying to stay in other car’s tracks.  I could sense the people behind me getting antsy, but I knew my car’s limitations, and wasn’t risking speeding up.  Once into Illinois, I shifted to second gear, and there I stayed for a good hour.

The fast lane appeared a little cleaner, but I wasn’t willing to go fast.  So I kept my 20mph pace in the slow lane, while others zoomed around me at a good 30mph.

It seemed any time I let up on my concentration, I would fishtail, so I remained hands clenched, eyes peeled and mind focused.  A few times I felt comfortable enough to shift to third gear, but then something would happen and I’d pull it back to second.

Meanwhile, the sleet and freezing rain continued, and my windshield  iced over quickly.  To avoid this, I blasted the heat on defrost.  This worked well, but my face was on fire.  Anytime I lowered the heat, however, the ice would start to form again.  I figured seeing clearly had more priority than a cool face, so I continued to blast the heat.

When I pulled into my drive over two hours later. I almost felt like weeping.  Never had I been so happy to be home, and so relieved to be safe.

Even after all this, I’m glad I chose to come home, but I hope never to have to drive in this stuff again.

Unless I have these:


Or better yet, this:



Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Commute, Mustang, The Hotel


Tags: , , ,

21 responses to “Today I Was the Tortoise

  1. Rock Chef

    February 22, 2013 at 9:38 am

    When you get the promotion, maybe you can argue for a company snowmobile?

    Glad you were sensible and stayed safe!

    • shadowrun300

      February 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Oooohhh – a company snowmobile. I like it.
      Last time I drove home in weather like this, I spun in circles across three lanes, finally coming to a stop perpendicular to traffic with a car coming straight at the driver’s door. Luckily, he avoided me. I was probably doing 35-40mph at the time. I was NOT going to let that happen again. 20mph allowed me to avoid a skid.

  2. agg79

    February 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

    When you started out with two hours, I was thinking that was your run time for the day. Not exactly the best way to close out a long day. Glad to hear you made it home safely, if not with a few more gray hairs. While I like Mustangs, I do think that they are not the best conveyance when it comes to winter driving. Perhaps you’d fair better with Abby’s Ellie May.

    I hope you don’t have to fight that same battle going in today.

    • shadowrun300

      February 22, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Speaking of running – I was supposed to use this day as a long run. But then the ice came. sigh. And what do you mean “more” gray hairs. I don’t have ANY that are gray. (Thanks to my monthly trip to the dye shop. ;))
      Ellie May would have had a blast on the commute home, but it sounds like she’s needed more often where she lives. I think I’ll just take my Mustang down south where I don’t have to worry about these things.
      No battle today. I’m off and planning an Epic Friday with my hubby!

      • agg79

        February 23, 2013 at 2:40 am

        Glad to know you had the day off. That would have motivated me to make a run for the house as well. I hope your Friday with hubby was truly epic. And ya’ll should take the Fit. Less chance of getting stuck in the snow, unless that is part of your plan…

  3. Abby

    February 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Magnum and Ellie Mae had Just-Another-Day yesterday for his sloppy commute to and from work. They did see a few mustangs in the ditches, however…
    I love the SnowCat, I wonder if they make conversion kits??
    I bet those were two hours of overdrive for the stress engine! More like 8 hours in regular time. I’m glad you made it home safely! WHEW!

    • shadowrun300

      February 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      A lot of the cars I saw in the ditch were Mustangs too. NOT MINE, though! 🙂
      My heart was pounding and my legs were shaking for the first hour of the drive. Once I reached the halfway point, I felt a little more confident about making it home. Or at least close enough that Hubby could come rescue me.

  4. towardshealthylife

    February 22, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Sounded to me like the perfect excuse for a day off loll

    • shadowrun300

      February 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Yeah, I had the day off today. But it was a scheduled day – not an extra one. The roads were clearer though, so Hubby and I were able to go on a date!

  5. White Elephant

    February 22, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I can’t believe how scary that ride home was. Sounds like grim determination got you home safely. I totally understand how you wanted to get home.

    • shadowrun300

      February 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm

      At least I was in a car – toasty warm. EXTRA toasty warm. Your trip with the dogs sounds much harsher! I bet you were glad to get home too!
      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  6. lottajoy

    February 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    THIS totally spooked me. I remember having to drive to work, and home, through ice storms. I was always grateful for my 4 wheel drive, but you still have the feeling of not being able to blink, or loosen your death grip on the steering wheel.

    • shadowrun300

      February 24, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      These events are one of the reasons we’re looking into moving south. Florida is one of our choices. It seems highly recommended… unless you’re looking for good medical care. 🙂

  7. meleah rebeccah

    February 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Holy crap. You are WAY braver than I am. NO WAY I would have driven in that! YIKES!! So glad you made it home SAFE!

    • shadowrun300

      February 24, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      Turns out I was driving right through the worst part. If I had stayed a little longer, the sleet and ice would have stopped and the streets would have been plowed. Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20.
      I’m happy to be safe too!

  8. territerri

    February 24, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Ugh…. I could totally feel your anxiety having to drive in that mess. It’s one of the things I hate most about these midwest winters. I’m so glad you made it home safely to enjoy your day off.

    • shadowrun300

      February 24, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      I was thinking of you, actually! And I was determined to be as tough as the Minnesotans! (In my not so tough Mustang.) One more reason to move south…..

  9. playingthehandiwasdealt

    March 19, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Go Mustang Sally! I’ve had Mustangs for 20 years–5-speeds only by choice–and love them, but they have zero traction. None! I’m originally from Seattle and they slip and slide in the chronic rain and good luck getting up the steep, wet hills. I’ve lived in the SW for years (ugh) and they spin out when you turn corners or hit the gas at a green light on the burning-hot pavement. Love the stares from everyone around me like a woman can’t handle a muscle car. I used to drive my dad’s pricey sports cars, but Mustangs are tricky (do you get what you pay for?). I would NEVER drive one in the snow! Lol! Glad you (and the car) made it home in 1 piece. Btw, my family came from Chicago (N. side), so I’ve heard all about Illinois winters. If you are seriously state-hunting, stay away from the entire SW–worst medical care in the US!

    • shadowrun300

      March 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks for the info on the SW. We’re looking more SE or just South.
      I love my Mustang – 5 speed by choice as well! But it has slipped occasionally on wet pavement and DOES NOT handle snow well at all. Still wouldn’t trade it in though. I’ll just go somewhere with no snow. lol
      Thanks for stopping by!

      • playingthehandiwasdealt

        March 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm

        There you go! My ‘Stang is paid off and I’m so loyal, but those new Camaros are looking mighty fine. Hmmm…


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