This weekend was supposed to be fantastic. We were taking a trip to visit Bridget (my cousin, but feels like a sister to me) at Ohio University, about 3 1/2 hours west of us. We were leaving around 8:30 to get there around noon. That was the plan….
The day started out great. I woke up and got in a fantastic 4 mile run. We had a great breakfast and were so excited to see Bridget. I packed a little gift for her, and packed us a bag of Goldfish (flavor blasted, no less), 4 waters, Apple Cinnamon straws, and homemade cookies. We started our journey at 8:20 and headed west!
Around 9:30, I had to go to the bathroom (obviously, I always have to pee!), and we saw there was a rest area coming up. However, Aaron was low on gas (light was on) and there was an exit sign saying 2 miles until 4 gas stations, so I figured I would tough it out and just wait for the gas station to go to the bathroom.
You guys, within that 2 miles, everything changed.
We were driving and saw trucks slowing down in front of us. We were on 470W, which is filled with tractor trailers. They scare me to no end, and we try to get around them as fast as we can. Well, when Aaron saw them slowing down (thankfully he was driving!), he tried to break and realized he couldn’t stop! The rain that had been coming down was freezing rain, and suddenly the roads froze. The cars around us started swerving. The truck in front of us had its trailer swerving, and I started crying. All we could do was pray, and we did, and were planning to get off at the exit and just wait it out. The truck in front us then collided into the guardrail, and all we could do was hope it didn’t fall on us as we passed it. We were sliding all over. We were close to the exit and thankfully we were going up a hill and not sliding down. We see cars and trucks pulled off to the side right by the exit. It appeared the exit was down hill, and no trucks could go. There were 5 tractor trailers in front of us, and two cars. All we could do was pray the truck behind us (I’m crying as I see it coming up behind us) would stop, and it did!
We waited for an hour there. We saw a cop pass us right after we stopped, and a Homeland Security van, along with a firetruck and ambulance. About an hour later, cars in front of us starting to move, and the trucks started to go. We felt the ground (which we had been) and they were turning to slush, so we started down the exit and to the gas station. Now, mind you, I had to pee before we stopped, and I ended up dumping the cookies from the ziploc bag, and peeing in the back seat! There was absolutely nothing I could even do. So unladylike, but you have to do what ya have to do!
The east lanes had been fine for probably a half hour. A salt truck had come by and the road was fine, so we knew we could get back up the exit and leave. We wondered (and I complained) why no salt truck came on our side. Oh my gosh, we were lucky we stopped where we were. We must have been at the beginning of all this, because we saw about 5 accidents on the exit trying to get off from the other directions, and then our lanes were backed up for no less than 5 miles. Trucks were stalled everywhere, cars in the median ditch, and many car accidents, which my heart broke for. We continued on, and just thanked God as we passed so many horrible accidents on the other side of the road.
As we sat in that traffic, though, I had called Bridget and we decided we just couldn’t go ahead and get to visit her. Things were just too bad and we didn’t know what the roads ahead would be like. We turned around and about 20 miles down the road, as veared off to 70 East, where we found some flares on the side of the road alerting us of a large hill we had to go down. Cars were slowing down, and in probably a mile distance, we saw over 10 more accidents, with people out of cars, police everywhere.
We then realize we are stopped right before the bridge. No one was moving, and we knew the bridge was total ice. There were accidents on both sides of the bridge ahead of us, and we just waited. Aaron took a walk up, and I did after, to try and see what was going on.
About an hour and a half later, they started letting people get off the Wheeling exit, which was before the accidents,but you still had to cross the bridge. We talked to the police officer who was standing there, and he said every road and high way was closed around there. We would have to wait it out. We found a place to eat in Wheeling and just were so thankful we were not in any accidents.
Found a pillow in his trunk, ha.
At about 1:40, we left lunch, and decided to try it since it had warmed up substantially. 70E was now open, and we took off, and ran into some traffic throughout the ride home. We finally made it home around 3, and just couldn’t believe what we had been through. Honestly, I will never under estimate rain when it’s cold. We never could have imagined we would be stuck in that mess, but are so thankful that it warmed up to the 40s or who knows what we would have done. We are extremely blessed to have made it home in one piece. As for Bridget… we’ll visit her in April when it warms up
Thankful to be snuggled up with a Chai Tea Latte and Mr. Benson
Whew, if you stuck through, thanks for reading.