6 Hour Drive
Drove home tonight. And what normally takes me a bit over 3 hours (Chicago to Indianapolis) took me about six. Sweet lord, what a horrible, horrible mess the roads were.
I didn’t take off until maybe 3:00 PM. And by then, the highway was jammed up. I was crawling at about 5 mph for maybe 2 hours. Took me that long to even reach the offrampt to I-65. From there, it got moderately better, but only moderately. I maxxed out at about 40 mph the rest of the drive home.
It was raining pretty good all afternoon, and by the time I hopped in my car it was coming down at a steady clip. Somewhere along the way, that rain started turning into snow and kept going back and forth. All along I-65 South, there were cars that had slid off the road and into ditches.
How they accomplished this I have no idea, as it wasn’t really icy and it wasn’t really that slick out. In fact, there was barely any accumulation. Seriously – what kind of bad drive do you have to be to do something like this? I never slid, not even once. And I had many occasions where I had to brake suddenly. Honestly, I have NO idea how anyone could have slid off the road. Visibility was shit, but the roads were fine.
All in all, I saw maybe a total of 10 cars that had slid off the road. And maybe 4-5 of those big flatbed towtrucks.
On the drive down I-65, I was stuck in a pretty big pack. You know how you end up in “packs” sometimes, driving along the interstate? Sometimes, you’re in a group of 5-6 cars, and everyone’s all on the same speed wavelength, everyone keeping in synch with one another and cool with the pace and their place. Well, imagine this pack spreading about maybe a mile long. And everyone’s going 40 mph. Max.
This was quite possibly one of the absolute worst driving experiences I’ve had in a good while. Snow was coming down at such a rate that all of the signs were covered up. I shit you not – everytime I tried to see how far I was from Indy (or what road the exit led to), all I got was a snowed-over sign.
Visibility was pretty bad, and so for a lot of the time you just watched the tail-lights in front of you as a gauge to where you should be driving. It was super dark, and it felt like you were driving the same quarter-mile stretch of road, over and over and over again. And because the signs were all covered in snow, it really didn’t feel like you were making any progress. It felt like you were passing the same snow-covered sign for the umpteenth time.
For most of the ride back, I ended up thinking back on all the relationships I’ve been in. Good and bad stuff. Things I should have said, things I should have done. The things I’m happy I said and did. Risks taken and where everyone is today versus then. A sort of fond nostalgia, if you will. I think I’m prone to this stuff normally, but road trips really bring it out in me. Particularly if I’m driving alone.
I got pretty deep into reflecting. There were several moments where I looked up and sort of came out of a haze. A bit like waking up, I guess, as I suddenly remembered I was behind the wheel of a car and driving down the highway.
I guess this could serve as one explanation for why so many people spun off the road.