We’re in our car, the whole family plus our two dogs, on the freeway headed North out of the city towards Flagstaff. And we’re at a complete standstill. No cars are moving. Snow is falling furiously all around us, blanketing the road in soft white. Daylight is fading. It’s cold. Our immediate situation is slightly alarming, but a simple glance out the frosted window reveals a breathtakingly stunning world of snowflakes, almost too pretty to be real. The trees and hills give the impression of absolute peace, quieted by the snow. It is beauty and danger in one. My family is stuck right in the middle.
Our day began like any other Saturday. We rushed to the soccer fields where we spent an exciting morning of play. Afterwards we came home, ate lunch and packed up. Our plan was to spend the long weekend up at the cabin, a favorite family getaway. Shortly before we left our home the skies broke open and let loose a downpour of rain on the Valley. Big, fat drops of steady rain. It rained continuously and impressively on our journey through Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix and well beyond the city limits as we crept North to our destination.
Roughly 40 miles before our exit the rain abruptly turned to snow. Thick, full snowflakes fluttered down from the sky and buried the road at an extraordinary rate. We proceeded on undeterred in our efforts, eager to reach the warmth of the cabin. Little by little, however, the roads worsened, until all traffic lurched along at a stop and go crawl. Several cars stopped altogether, unable to handle the thickening snow-filled street. Other cars, better prepared ones, pulled over and hurriedly strapped chains on their tires. Most of us continued to swerve around on the increasingly icy conditions, hoping and praying to make it.
At 20 miles South of our exit all cars did indeed come to a full halt. I have no idea what caused the total obstruction but it was definite. We sat here for what seemed a very long time. In actuality it was probably close 20 minutes. All we could do was sit and wait and watch. We watched the intimidating clouds loom above us. We marveled at the sheer amount of snow falling, hiding the road we were supposed to travel on. We worried at the speedily fading daylight. We hoped for the best but quietly, mentally made plans in case we came face to face with the worst. Yet, we also enjoyed the exquisite white wonderland growing and expanding before our very eyes. Dangerous beauty indeed.
Miraculously the cars in front of us began to move again. Well, at least some of them did. Other cars remained firmly in place, stuck despite heroic efforts to break free from the icy, snowy cage they found themselves in. All of these stranded drivers were on their cell phones, calling for assistance. Those of us who were able to get our wheels moving eased our way at a snail’s pace, weaving in and out of our fellow travelers forced to remain behind. After initially swerving and skidding without actually producing any forward movement, our tires caught hold of some traction and pulled us out. Whew!!! A BIG sigh of relief was audible from everyone. We joined the train of creeping vehicles and inched our way out of the mess.
The rest of the drive continued at this pace, never exceeding 20 miles per hour. The roads were entirely white, no concrete visible at all. It was slippery, it was scary, it was a tense drive to say the least. But we did finally make it to our treasured cabin, safe, sound and whole. I couldn’t have asked for anything more and I’ll tell you, that little cabin never looked so good as we rounded the corner and pulled in the driveway. Blessed refuge!
The rest of the weekend turned out to be full of unexpected adventure as well. Craziness sprung at us right and left, keeping us on our toes, but also adding to the experience. There is way too much detail to include in this blog entry. I guess you’ll just have to wait for the book! (Yes, I really am writing a book and the happenings of this weekend will be included in its pages).