Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Read about my zombie apocalypse training after the jump!
Yesterday was the weirdest day in Atlanta weather history! For some reason, Atlanta didn't shut down early like it usually does for wintery weather and commuters paid the price something fierce.
I took my alternate route home from work because the roadways looked clear on the maps but it was definitely a different story as soon as I got on Cobb Parkway (photos above). I was heading north towards the Big Chicken from my office, which happens to be across the way from Dobbins Air Force Base. I left at 1:40pm and by 4pm when they play the Star Spangled Banner (to mark the end of the day), I could hear it loud and clear. I hadn't moved by much. I called my boss, my mom, my old man and texted my brother (in Canada!) and hoped for some kind of glimmer of hope.
By the time I got near 120, my mom told me the 120 Loop (another back road) was wide open - according to traffic cams online - towards Roswell.
I took it and got stuck on the 120 Loop exit for hours. I tried to get out and stretch, since we weren't moving, and as soon as I stepped out of my car, I slid right back in. We were all sitting on a solid sheet of ice. That didn't get punctuated until a few hours later when I actually got on to Roswell Road and got stuck in my first terrible patch of ice going uphill. Some really great folks at the bottom of the hill by the Chevron off the 120 Loop had stopped and were helping others get up the hill - me included.
Once up the hill, it was a terrible ghost town on the streets of Marietta / Roswell. Not to mention, my zombie apocalypse survival mode kicked in as I passed by abandoned car after abandoned car on the way up the most terrifying hill of the night - the hill at Marietta Highway and Atlanta Street in Roswell. I was able to get up okay, it's just that I had to dodge a lot of abandoned cars (and people - yikes!) just to keep my uphill momentum. Thankfully, I made it out okay.
From there, I headed downhill, spun out several times almost hitting a guy on the sidewalk (he gave me a nudge back on to the road and didn't get upset with me for almost hitting him), and stayed the course. I got stuck in a horrible icy patch across the street from Roswell Presbyterian Church and witnessed a wonderful UPS Truck driver push car after car uphill. Once he got to my car, he advised me to take side roads - which I had mixed emotions about because they were super icy. I followed his advise and headed out towards Highway 9 and Holcomb Bridge Road.
What a mistake that was. I was losing it at that point. I was well past 9pm and almost every restaurant I passed was closed. Somehow, I was able to turn off another side street and ended up near Startime. That was where I got stuck, alone, trying to go uphill. I failed so hard. Luckily, I saw a police car headed my way. Did the police officer stop? No. He shook his head and kept on driving uphill without so much as a "Are you okay, ma'am?" Thankfully, a nice gentleman was heading down the opposite direction and offed help. I told him he didn't have to push the car but he offered help anyway by directing me out to the middle of the empty intersection and coaching me through getting enough speed and traction from the snow to get up the hill.
Once up, I tried getting on the main road once more but I got stuck again. This time, a police officer coached me through getting some traction and I pulled into the Krispy Kreme parking lot on the corner of Mansell Road and Highway 9. I parked, got out of my car and walked a few laps around it before heading inside.
It was packed! Of course, right? I wanted anything to eat at that point so I ordered 3 doughnuts (which I didn't eat), some hot chocolate (which I barely drank), took advantage of their facilities and went back to my car. Meanwhile, Lauren was feverishly trying to find a shelter for me and my mom was encouraging me to stay the course and stop at the nearest hotel.
Somehow, I coasted down Mansell Road towards the mall and maneuvered myself to the Bahama Breeze parking lot. I tried getting in to the Hilton Garden Inn that's right there but it was packed. At that point, I was on the phone with my mom and I broke down. I was prepared to sleep in my car but she told me that was not an option. I was 3 miles from my fucking house, dammit. I told her there was a cop directing traffic and she encouraged me to ask for a ride home. Once I got to the officer and told him what street I lived on, he told me there was a salt truck headed there at that moment and urged me to move. I did and headed up Haynes Bridge Road (which had been previously closed, btw).
I had never been so happy to see that many flashing light before in my life! I coasted up and down the ice sheets on Haynes Bridge until I found a freshly de-iced patch of road. I waited patiently as officers and DOT workers threw ice out on the road in front of us. I was so happy that I thanked them all on my way out.
Once I got to the other main intersection, it got scary once more. The road was solid ice and I had a roundabout to navigate around. Luckily, I was able to safely move around and through that area before coasting down a sheet of ice to get to my subdivision. Once there, I slowly pulled into my driveway at 11pm.
Worst road trip EVER! But I will say that I am so grateful and thankful that so many wonderful people took the time to stop and help others. Everyone was being so nice (until the horn honking on Roswell Road and again on Holcomb Bridge Road) and I am truly thankful for all of their help! I'm hoping they all got home safely. I'm also thankful that Lauren and my mom stayed on the phone with me, either via text or calling because I was a emotionally drained. My old man is still stuck at his office at the moment. I told him it wasn't worth any attempt to get home. That was the most frightening weather-related thing I've ever gone through - and I've experience a tornado in close proximity!!
I hope everyone is safe and warm today and I'm hoping my old man will be able to head home safely soon!