Come Hell or High Water!

25 01 2012

One of my favorite southern sayings, it means it’ll happen no matter what.  For instance, my grandma gets down to the beauty shop every week to get her hair done, come hell or high water!  Come hell or high water, we WILL make it to the Golden Corral for the lunch buffet!

Well, I thought I was getting to Texas to see my family, come hell or high water.  More accurately, come hell or massive blizzard.  Despite my determination, however, I am sitting at my desk at home instead of preparing for landing in DFW.  I should be about 30 minutes away from tackling my kin folk!

But no.  I must have jinxed myself.  I spent all that time on the photo shoot and editing session with old Lady Winter and what does she do?  Breaks my heart, that’s what.  I raved on and on about how beautiful the snow is, how wonderful the winter.  I can’t help but glare at the icicles now with contempt and disdain.  All I wanted to do was hug my momma and daddy.  Alright, even my brother.  Instead, I’m popping asprin for this throbbing headache and have a suitcase to unpack.

Due to all the wintery wonder, we left our house yesterday at 4:30 in the afternoon, Seattle-bound.  We planned to stay with J’s aunt for the night so we would have plenty of time to make it to the airport for our flight at noon.  Oh, we thought we were soooooo smart…

It took a full hour just to make it out of the valley and hit highway 97 – a trip that usually takes maybe 30 minutes.  We didn’t even make it to Chelan before the falling snow turned to freezing rain.  The going was slow, but we were fine.  We made it through Wenatchee, past Leavinworth, and headed up the mountain.  It was already getting kind of late.  Then that pirate-hooker Lady Winter lashed out at us even more.  Freezing rain came down in sheets, making visibility a nightmare.  The wind came in nasty bursts, making it even more difficult to stay on the road.  The snow plows had only been so far, and soon, Mazda the Mighty Snowplow was back, doing her best to propel us through the sludge.  Just when we thought we might have to chain up, we saw the glow of Stevens Pass – if we could just make it that far, we’d make it over!

Highway 2 Stevens Pass WA blizzard

stupid snow storm

Wrong again.  That was as far as we ever made it.  The pass was closed due to avalanche danger. We got in line behind a semi and settled in for the wait.  Crews were blasting to bring down the avalanches and then get them cleared up.  The canons sounded like mighty thunder as they blasted the mortars into the mountain.  The horrible wind and rain never so much as slowed down.  A nice road worker trudged through it to update us at intervals.  Minimum 45 minutes and they should have the road cleared.  Well, they need to do some more blasting, minimum two hours to get things moving.  Finally, he knocked again.  No go.  With the falling temperatures, they would have to wait until morning to assess the situation.  We were welcome to pull into the ski lodge parking lot and wait it out for the night.  We had arrived at around 9pm, it was now around 11:30pm.

We decided to stay.  We would at least be this far in the morning and could still make it to the airport.  We skidded into the parking lot with some other determined folks and prepared for a slumber party in the car.  Thankfully, we were actually well prepared.  We had brought blankets just in case J’s aunt didn’t have enough bedding, food so we didn’t have to eat at the airport, and entertainment for the plane ride.  Occassionally starting the car and running the heater kept us fairly warm, but nothing could make those seats much more comfortable.  Neither of us got more than a few hours of sleep, total.

blizzard, sleeping in the car Stevens Pass WA

trying to catch some shut-eye

I was pretty much wide awake by about 5:30.  I braved the sideways rain when my bladder was at its absolute max capacity.  I just pretended the people in the truck next to us were asleep, or maybe blind.  The man the night before had said they could have it cleared by 6am at the earliest.  I hoped with every fiber of my being.  I was sorely disappointed when my alarm started me awake at 7 and still no open pass.

The angry rain finally turned to soft snow.  I watched the flakes slide down my window and collect in clumps at the bottom.  My whole body was cramped, chilled, and stressed.  The sun rose, the barricades stayed in place. Finally, we had to make a decision.  The DOT radio report was giving an unknown time of reopening.  But Snoqualmie Pass and Blewett had both opened.  Maybe we could make it around.  We decided to go for it.  It was close to 9am.  We had just spent 12 hours sitting at Stevens Pass.

blizzard at Stevens Pass WA

snow on the window

We hadn’t gone far when J pulled over to knock the packed snow out of the wheel wells.  I had reception so I called the airline – we were going to miss our flight.  The bucket of sunshine I talked to said there were no weather problems, she would waive nothing and charge us the full fees to change our flight, plus we would pay the difference for the ticket of the new flight.  The only option for today would be about $700 per person.  My ass.

There was nothing she would do for us.  The weather in Seattle was fine, so she didn’t care that we couldn’t actually get to Seattle due to a blizzard on the pass.  I kind of wish I could have punched her unsympathetic teeth in.  The stress and disappointment finally did me in – I hit a full meltdown.  I wanted my mommy.

J tried to console me as I attempted to blow my nose.  He decided to call them back.  Barb took his call and felt really bad.  She looked for any option to get us to Texas.  Everything was extremely expensive.  Finally she asked if we could be flexible on our dates.  If we could push the trip back two weeks, she could get us tickets for close to the same price we originally paid.  After fees and taxes, we only ended up paying an extra $400, on top of what we already paid for the first tickets.  Thank you, Alaska Air, for the major ass-raping you so kindly gave us.

But that was really our only option.  So we took it. I waited until my storm had passed to call Mom, so she could at least understand what I said.  As expected, she had a bit of a melt down of her own.  All the optimism I could muster poured forth to make her (and me) feel better.  It was just two weeks!  Its not that we’re not coming, just not today!  The anticipation will just make it that much sweeter!  The shattered pieces of my heart blew away with the snow flurries outside.  I had to keep repeating it – its only two weeks, its only two weeks, two freaking weeks.

J had the idea of hanging out in Wenatchee a bit since we were already there and already had the day off work.  We did a bit of shopping and half heartedly stopped for lunch, but neither one of us was really into it.   We were exhausted beyond rational thinking and just wanted to go home.  I broke down and got a Dr Pepper, then offered to drive so J could have a break.

And here we are.  Screw you, 4 in the afternoon, I’ll put my pj’s on if I want to.  I deserve to crawl under my electric blankey and not move until 8am tomorrow.

As for you, Lady Winter – don’t talk to me.  We’re not friends right now.  😦

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4 responses

1 02 2012
Sue Fenton

wow, that’s proper snow. We think we have it hard here in England when we get two inches a couple of days a year and the whole transport network grinds to a halt, but you have REAL snow!
Thanks for visiting and following mine – hope you enjoy my ramblings-on.

2 02 2012
ksnapped

Ha – growing up in Texas, that’s what we had happen, too. Three snowflakes drifting in the air shut whole cities down. These people up here don’t even blink an eye at anything under a couple feet! 😀 Thanks for the visit!

1 02 2012
mommywritervkent

I have an uncle that lives close to Seattle, near that pass probably… he sent me pics of the blizzard, said he was w/out power for a week. Man I wish we could get some of that here in GA… 😦 Hope everything turned out ok!

2 02 2012
ksnapped

Oh, man, we at least haven’t had our power knocked out…yet. Winter’s not over! And I would gladly send some your way if I could. Things did end up alright, and we get to try our trip again next week. Thanks for stopping by!

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