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: