Sunday, December 21, 2008

Almost ... But Not Quite

So I am almost, but not quite home.

I made it to my country and province of choice - but I am about 125 km short of my final destination.

I spent more hours than I care to remember in the Atlanta airport. I curled up in the corner at 5 am hoping for some sleep and that I would wake up to a flight leaving for Buffalo. Luckily, shortly before noon my wish was granted!

By the time we made or approach to Buffalo it was already consumed by a blizzard. The runway was buried under more than a foot of drifting snow and ice. We had an amazing pilot - he took us through the snow clouds and slid us to the gate with only the occasional bump and controlled skid!

Flight Board in Buffalo. Everything rapidly going to Cancelled Status

Plane de-icing.
Notice no visibility in background and de-ice solution is blowing *over* the plane.

Now that I made it to Buffalo the dilemma was what to do next?! I decided to grab my rental car and head towards the closest border crossing. The freeway was covered in drifting snow. I fought the poor visibility and plowed my way through for several hours and finally made it to the Canadian border. I had hoped it would start to clear but it never did.

White ooot
Wanna go for a drive?

I decided if I was the only one on the road - that was probably a good indication I shouldn't be - so I pulled off when I saw a sign for a gas station. The visibility was so bad I couldn't actually see the station and had to circle several times before I found it. Then I had to plow through snow drifts and slide on ice to make it to the front door. Once there I found a kind gentlemen just finishing up his shift and his daughter taking over for the evening. We sat and chatted and strategized for a while. I threw out the idea of taking back roads and they vetoed that - said I would get stuck in drifting snow for sure. We tried to figure out if the visibility on the QEW would be better if I could just push through to Niagara Falls. A truck driver came in and he said it was really bad at least as far as St. Catherines. Police were asking everyone to stay off the roads. Sometimes you just have to say 'uncle' and let Mother Nature win. My new friend realized with ZERO visibility giving me directions to the Holiday Inn was not going to do it ... so got in his 4x4 and kindly led the way! So here I am for the night.

A very tired and heavily 'layered' Tippie

In the morning I will try again...

My Flickr photostream for the trip.


Marci said...

Understood (I know that made you smile...heck, we'll even add that to your count.)

Tippie said...

Oh you know I broke out laughing on that one.

Mom was snowed in for days - so just got back from driving around in the snow getting groceries and stuff.

Thanks for the smile!

jellis said...

Hooray for the kindness of strangers. I got stranded at the Portland airport until I met 4 random people and we decided we had to drive home for Christmas. We bonded over margaritas at the bar and rented a car. We lived the Lifetime Movie Christmas Special :)

Tippie said...

I wondered if you would be stranded up in the Pacific North West. Crazy holiday travel time this year. I have another friend that was stranded in Seattle for a couple of days and of course some who never got out of So Cal.

Isn't it cool how you meet people when you are traveling and bond together to help each other out!

I was thankful for the kind angel in the 4x4 that showed the way to warmth and a bed. How fun that you found fellow travelers to join in on a road trip!

Did your Lifetime Movie end with you celebrating Christmas in Northern Cal?