Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Scariest drive of my life

So Michael, Zach and I decided that we wanted to drive to Washington for thanksgiving to meet our new nephew Declan and to see the rest of my family before our wedding. We had been checking the weather all week to make sure that we would be able to go and it was looking good up until yesterday, the day before we wanted to leave. Last night we were getting all kind of weather warnings from people that we should think about cancelling our trip due to a big storm that was coming. But we had heard that it wasn't supposed to hit Provo until late tonight so we decided that if we left early enough, we would be ok. So we got up and out the door by 5:15 AM. We said a lot of prayers and we headed off. The first three hours of the drive were great. The roads were clear, the sky was clear, it was perfect. We had just passed through the long stretch of nothing between Tremonton, Snowville and Burley, ID that my dad was worried about when it started to get a little scary. I saw many cars that had slid off the road so I made Zach drive because I am a total wuss when it comes to driving in the snow. He started driving at about 8:30 and within about ten minutes the roads were completely covered and the snow was coming down. Soon after that we lost a windshield wiper.. Luckily it was the passenger side. I would consider this a tender mercy. This is what it looked like out our windshield.
Notice the spot on the windshield that wasn't getting cleaned.. At about 9:30 we hadn't come very far and we were stopped on the road. After talking to some other drivers we found out there was a jack-knifed semi about 6 miles ahead of us that they were working to clear up. We sat for about an hour and played games and talked about our options. After talking to the very worried parents we decided that since the blizzard went on for the next 200 or so miles of our trip, we would have to turn around and head back to Provo. At about 10:30 when the traffic started moving again, we turned around to head back the other way. 

Soon, we were the only ones on the road that we could see and we could not really tell where we were going. At one place, the visibility was so bad that we couldn't see anything outside our car in any direction. We stopped completely and tried to look around. We thought we saw a big sign up ahead but it turned out to be a semi truck. Some cars passed us so we decided that maybe they could see better and we should follow them. After a little bit they took off and left us in the dust, since I wouldn't let the boys keep up with them. Which is good because about an hour later we saw one of them turned around on the other side of the freeway.. So with no one to lead us, it looked like this..
I don't know if you know this but from Burley, ID to Tremonton, UT (an 80 mile stretch) there is almost nothing. There was one city in the middle called Snowville which is right on the border. Michael's mom tried looking for hotels in Snowville since we were thinking we'd have to stop and wait for the storm to blow over but there were none.. We found an exit to take about 38 miles from Snowville to fill up on gas. The gas station was closed though so we got back on the highway praying that we'd at least make it to Snowville. Since there wasn't anything in Snowville we were hoping that we could make it to my uncle's house who was the closest relative we had. But in order to do that we had to make it to Tremonton, which was about 75 miles away! It would take us hours to get there. Sometimes, the visibility was so bad that Michael had to steer from the passenger side of the car because Zach couldn't see at all. Sometime during this zero visability stretch of road, Zach got tired and we decided that there is no way we could stop and switch drivers. Michael decided to give me a heart attack by climbing over him and switching drivers while moving. They did it pretty successfully and were quite proud of themselves. After a very stressful stretch, we made it to Snowville, population 177. We pulled into their only gas station and I get out of the car to find this. 
That would be our gas tank door open and the plug sitting on the back of the jetta. We had just driven 40 miles in 20 MPH winds and snow with this sitting on our car. This was one of the many tender mercies we witnessed on this trip. This is another picture of our poor car in Snowville.
We had heard that since the storm was coming with us, that Snowville was supposed to start getting better and that we'd be out of it by Tremonton. We hoped that this was right and we kept going. Half-way between Snowville and Tremonton we could see the road again!! Yay!
And even though we hated those stupid semis that would fly by at 60 MPH and spray up all kinds of snow in our faces, they were pretty handy to follow since they carved a good little track in the snow. Although I was quite anxious about following so close. Many times throughout the trip we would have to go out through the sunroof and reach down and get all the ice off our one wiper blade. It was very cold but also very effective. Once we hit Tremonton (I think) we were out of the storm! We decided to race it back to Provo. The biggest relief was seeing the blue skies ahead.
After 12 hours of driving (it usually takes about 13-14 hours to drive to WA), we ended up right about where we started. 

I'm really glad that I had prayer to get me through this trip. Heavenly Father definitely looked out for us and helped us get home safely. I'm glad the the companionship that I had and that the boys were such good sports about me telling them to slow down every 30 seconds.

I'm sad that I won't be at home for thanksgiving this year but I am really glad we made it safely back here. But after a long, stressful day I am going to bed. Only 24 more days!! :)


  1. WOW! I didn't realize all of this happened. the sad thing is... the part about Michael switching Zach places while moving doesn't surprise me at all. Well I'm glad y'all made it back ok.

  2. Aleisha, you are such a sweetheart. I am so happy that you made it back safely to Provo, but very sad that you won't be here for Thanksgiving. We were planning on all of our children being home for Thanksgiving, and now none of them are going to be here. :(
    Don't forget to get the wiper fixed.

  3. CUTE BLOG!!!! Scary story! glad you made it out alive ;) See you soon.