I’m in a mood.
Most likely source of this mood is the fact that I’m headed back to work tomorrow after a mostly-blissful week off of work. And this week is going to be nuts. I had to take a number of work calls on vacation and I have a list of calls to make first thing in the AM. So, I know work is going to be crazy. Plus some other life busy-ness (a newborn shoot, a quilt to make for my mother in law, a crib skirt to make for a friend, and a doctor’s appointment that is just a check-up but stresses me out nonetheless because I haaaaaate going to the doctor).
Which is why it is past midnight on a work night and I just started my third episode of Supernatural for the night. Because the later I extend Sunday the longer I have before Monday morning comes… makes perfect sense right?
And, since I’m in a mood anyways… I wanted to share the other debbie-downer-ish thing on my mind this weekend: the fact that B and I seem to have bad luck with vacation travel.
Our last vacation was to Vegas last summer, and we got stuck in the Las Vegas airport on the way home due to hurricane Irene. It delayed our flight for over six hours (during which time we didn’t know whether or not we’d get a flight at all– and were told that if we DIDN’T get that flight we’d be stuck in Vegas for at least another 4 days), and then when we finally got to our connection we’d missed our next flight and were stranded.
To be honest, it totally soured me for vacations. My usual travel bug was totally quieted because I had a hard time thinking about the trip without thinking about the nightmare of getting home– which sucks!
But then my parents got a beach house in the outer banks for our whole family (parents + b/me + brother/sister in law) and so off we went to the beach. And I wasn’t really looking forward to it.
But– surprise– I had a wonderful time! Which I think will be the subject of my next (much more cheerful) post, complete with photos. By the end of our time I started to get the old vacation bug back a bit– and started day-dreaming about our next trip.
And then we had to drive home.
It was supposed to take 12 hours. It took 15.5 hours.
First we got stuck on the bridge/tunnel that you have to take to get out of Norfolk into the rest of Virginia. There was a car accident ahead of us that closed the highway down for over 1.5 hours. It was the kind of traffic where everyone just pulled over and people started hanging out/getting out of their cars. Thank God I didn’t have to pee.
Crappy start to the trip but we got through it and felt in pretty good spirits as we headed through Virginia and into West Virginia.
Brian took over driving and I killed time by checking out Facebook on my phone. Which is where I first saw that Ohio was having some crazy thunderstorms. I felt badly for our pets but didn’t think much else about it. Bad thunderstorms are not at all uncommon around us.
Then we drove into it.
And holy shit.
It didn’t start slow with a trickle of rain… it was like driving directly into a car wash with no rain/winds one second and moments later getting pounded by both. It was so bad we skidded to a stop along the side of the road, along with all the other cars.
The problem was we were on top of a mountain, on one of those land bridge overpasses. With crazy sideways winds and tree limbs breaking off the trees and flying around. We thought we would be blown off the mountain. There was really no place to go but forward and sitting still just made us feel like sitting ducks. So– we proceeded forward very. very. slowly. Luckily the terrible weather lasted for only about 45 minutes and we were back on our merry way, feeling sure we’d survived the worst of it.
Being that we were in the car, we didn’t really understand the devastation this storm had on the entire midwest region. Had we known, we would’ve stopped in Charleston, WV and gotten a hotel for the night. But we didn’t, and we were only 3 hours from home, and we just desperately wanted to get there.
Things were okay-ish on the highways (most debris was pushed to the shoulders) until we had to get onto the state route that leads from I-77 to Columbus. You see, to get from WV to Ohio, you have to cross the Ohio River over a long bridge. And when we got to this bridge, it was closed.
No detour signs or information— just construction barrels and a big blinking sign that said: Bridge Closed.
At this point we’d been driving for 12 hours and we were in the middle of bumf*ck nowhere West Virginia. We used the detour button on our gps (have I mentioned? Thank God for gps) and it showed us a route that would take us about 25 miles along the Ohio River to another bridge.
Picture a 2 lane country road with big ditches/trees on either side that is SUPER hilly and curvy and has downed tree limbs and/or branches every couple hundred feet. Picture us driving 22 miles along this road trying to get around all the debris while not hitting another car head-on around a curve. We thought this was the worst road ever.
Until we got 2 miles from the bridge and met flashing lights and a fireman.
He asked where we were trying to get to, we told him Ohio, and he laughed. And I almost cried. Turns out there was a downed power line and the road was closed. The only way to get around the closed road was this tiny little country road that did a 3 mile loop back to the “main” road. This road was supposedly a 2 lane road, but I have to strongly disagree. As we met (many, many) cars coming the other direction, B had to pull so far to the right side of the road that the bushes on my side of the car were pressed up against my window and the passenger tires were in the ditch (cue my freaking out that we’d get stuck in the mud). And still to get around, the cars on the other side were half in the ditch as well. We also had to contend with a fire truck(!) and a wrecker coming the other direction. Those three miles took us a good 20 minutes and they were some of the most stressful of my life.
I am not a crier, but the road seemed so impossible to navigate that I mostly had to close my eyes, trust B, and repeat in my head over and over again: Don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry… just make it to Ohio and you can cry all you want but don’t cry now and distract him.
We did make it to Ohio.
I’ve never in my life been so happy to get to Ohio. And even though the storm had knocked out power in the first hour-ish of our trip along the state route it still felt like home sweet home/civilization to me and I was so grateful to just be there. We got home at 1am (we had left at 9:30am!!) and didn’t even bring our suitcases in the door before falling into bed.
Which brings me to my point: It really sucks when a great vacation is tainted by a single poor event. When I think back on this vacation, I don’t WANT to think of the drive home. I want to think of the time we spent at the beach, and I’m going to do my best to do that. I’m hoping getting all this whiny annoyance off my chest will help me move past it… but it is hard. It just left us feeling like vacations are simply not worth the hassle of travel, either by air or car. Perhaps we’ll just have to wait until Ohio gets a bullet train for our next trip! (except then we’d be waiting forever).
So anyways… that is my debbie downer-ville for the day(/week/month I hope). Coming up is all the good stuff I’d rather remember about vacation. And maybe even a few posts about house stuff if I can get myself motivated to do something around here!