Friday, December 16, 2016

Hey, It's Good to be Back Home Again

Guilty of prepper malpractice here.

I knew the big Arctic storm was coming. We all did. We had been warned for a week, and up to the day before. And I still went out. We all still went out. It was Wednesday. Schools were open. Businesses were open. And I took the kids out to have some fun and run some errands, 9 miles from home.

When I left the house, it was snowing. But even though I knew it was the big storm, for some reason I said, "what care I for these teeny snowflakes?" and we left anyway. I guess I was thinking of the snow last week, which was wet and slushy. And I thought I could outrun the big stuff.

So we went out for a while and had some fun and then stopped at the grocery store. Oh and did I mention that for once we didn't have the 4x4 that day. We were in the stupid police car. And when I saw the snow in the grocery store parking lot and we were sliding around the lot, I knew it was already too late.

I said, if we can just get out of this parking lot and UP THE HILL (yeah, right) to the main road, we'll be fine. But we got the main road, and it was not fine. So then I said, if we can just get to the freeway, we'll be fine. But after over an hour and only 2 miles, it was clear we were not going to get on the freeway and we were not going to get home. 

Gridlock. The kids and I sat through 4 green lights where we were rightly first in line but couldn't get through the intersection due to gridlock. Accidents everywhere. Abandoned cars. Lights and sirens and ambulances sitting at a dead stop. I think it was because there was school that day, but then the schools closed early and the buses couldn't come and all the parents had to go get their kids and then...chaos.

We checked into a hotel. We were lucky to get a room. We got turned away from the first hotel we ran to. But the 2nd one we got to just in time. sort of. We had to find an alternate driveway when the 2 cars immediately in front of me turned into the hotel driveway and then both got stuck, blocking the way for anyone else. 

So, things that went ok were that I had some toothbrushes, and changes of clothes for the kids and we had groceries in the car. And we were dressed properly in winter gear. And I didn't cry or panic.

But things that did not go ok were that I didn't have my phone charger with me because I lost it a week or so ago and hadn't replaced it yet. The fact that we also didn't bring chains on a grocery run 7 miles from home is sort of a moot point I guess since due the gridlock situation, chains wouldn't have mattered. The real stupid thing is that we all went out in the first place. No one can say the storm was a surprise.

Mike had the 4x4 in Salem and he had to use it to get home. By the time traffic cleared it was 11:30pm. Mike said it was not safe to come and get us, even with the 4x4. Conditions in Oregon City were (and still are) much worse than Clackamas, where the hotel was.

In the morning, I tried to dig out the police car and I came into the hotel lobby looking like this. 

And then a well-coiffed and perfectly dry woman laughed at me.

Mike came and got us in the 4x4. 

The whole experience was a real-time reminder that evacuation from this town is not ever going to possible. So I hope we never have to do it.

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