Friday, March 19, 2010

White-knuckle Driving
(a.k.a. The Longest Day Ever)

I know that I am posting these vacation stories haphazardly.  I also have a habit of thinking I'll get around to posting everything I want to, but then want to post something else and then never actually get around to the posting that I intended to do.


So, we were in Utah for our niece's wedding.  The wedding was lovely and wonderful and a four hour drive south of the airport.  And we had a 7:05 am flight the very next morning.  And to top it off, Daylight Savings Time came into effect that same night, so it was more like having a 6:05 am flight.  Ugh.

A few hours before the wedding an amazing blizzard blew through Southern Utah.  Amazing like, I was looking out the window and there was no snow on the ground.  Then I blinked and there was more than an inch there.  Not even kidding.

We were a little worried, but understood that the storm was pretty much isolated to Cedar City and a little bit north.  So, we left the wedding reception at 9 pm, thinking we would arrive to my parents' house in Utah Valley by midnight and get a few hours of sleep and head to the airport.

Well, the blizzard was most definitely NOT isolated to Cedar City or even Beaver.  It was awful!  Bria, who must have been exhausted, stayed up the first three and a half hours of driving because she was so worried about the storm.  She is my worry-wart, and I guess if we were going to die she wanted to be awake for it.  Not like I could have slept, either.  Even though I didn't drive the worst of it, I had pretty white knuckles myself.  Going over the mountain passes was awful, especially at Manderfield, and at one point there was a jack-knifed semi blocking the road.  Absolutely insane.  We averaged about 25-40 miles an hour most of the way to Fillmore (100 miles), so it took us the 3 1/2 hours to get there.

Once we arrived in Fillmore, we took the normal potty breaks and then decided to try and sleep for a while.  Joel slept.  I tried.  Bria chattered.  She was still very worried and the snow was still going strong.  After about 30 minutes we started driving again, and by Scipio the snow was mostly gone.  (I apologize to all of you reading this who have no earthly idea where Fillmore and Scipio and Cedar City's a map for your reading enrichment.)
In Scipio Joel was still way too tired to drive and wanted to stop to rest again.  Then I decided that I would be okay to drive at least to Nephi, so I took over.  We were finally able to drive the actual speed limit just north of Scipio.  Joel took over again in Nephi and Bria finally fell asleep soon after that.  It was 2:00 in the morning (but really 3:00 thanks to wonderful DST!!!) and I don't think she's ever in her life stayed up that long.  Especially considering that we come from the Eastern Time Zone and that was like 4 am to her.  Amazing.

But I digress.  We finally arrived at my parents' home in Orem at around 2:35 in the morning.  Which was now actually 3:35 in the morning.  I ended up not sleeping at all, because I couldn't and just talked with my mom until the alarm went off at around 4:45.  We left to go to the SLC airport a little after 5 am and by the time we checked in and went through security our flight was boarding.

I don't sleep well on planes, but I tried.  Joel and the kids seemed to all sleep pretty well.  Our flight was to Chicago and there we had an extremely tight layover, which was made tighter by a problem with getting taxied to our gate.  But we made it. Barely.

A quick jaunt over to Green Bay and then we had to drive another 4 1/2 hours to get to our house.  Halfway there, I conked.  But only for about 30 minutes because I really can't sleep in moving vehicles.  Heck, I often can't sleep well in my own bed.  So I slept in the car while Joel took the girls to the bathroom and bought them snacks and such.  Once the car was moving again I had to wake up, but I did find my second wind.

We made it home safely, although soundly is somewhat debatable.  What with the Daylight Savings change and having spent the week prior in a time zone that is two hours behind us, I have still not figured out what time it is.  And then there's the fact that all three of my daughters completely dissolved in tears as soon as we walked in our front door.  Apparently they hate living in Michigan, they hate our house, they just want to live in Utah again and why did we have to move here anyway? This lasted for a while.  A couple days, actually, since they would come home from school all emotional.  They really do love their grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and it is all rather sad.  All of you come out and visit us this summer, you hear?

But please, nobody decide to get married anytime soon, because our track record with attending weddings and then having nightmarish driving episodes on the way home is now two for two, and I don't think I can do it again for at least ten years!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. Oh. My. Word.

    I don't think I would ever go anywhere again. Ever. I don't handle such situations well.

  2. I can't really believe you did it. I've been in the area around Beaver and Fillmore in a storm, and it's horrific. I would have completely chickened out, called the airline and tried to get a different flight. White knuckles, how long exactly did it take to pry fingers off the steering wheel??

  3. Driving during a Snow storm on that stretch of highway is just plain scary. I've done it a few times myself and don't recommend it to anyone. So I completely understand the white knuckles and 20 mph driving for over 3 hrs and still not be at your destination. It's nuts. I'm glad you made it safely though. Next time someone gets married tell them it must be during the summer. :)

  4. So glad you made it home safe and sound! What a hairy trip!

  5. Ugh! I'm glad you made it through and got home okay. I understand the complete exhaustion and frazzle-ment.

  6. guys, you are heroes! I would have just stayed locked up in the room, not moving before spring :)!

  7. Last month we went to a niece's UT wedding in Manti no less. We drove to Provo (usually a 12 hr drive for us, what takes others 6 hrs). Then to Manti the next morning and back to Provo then back home the next day.

    I guess it could've been worse...

    Travel is one thing, but travel with children? And in blizzards? Another universe of crazy.

  8. My Cedar City sister flies out of Vegas. It's a 2 1/2 hour drive, and you move AWAY from the snow. Just a thought, for future reference.

    Glad you managed everything! Yikes!

  9. WOW! You know, I've never had to drive through crazy weather like that...for a couple of reasons.
    1. My husband won't let me drive his truck that we take on vactions. Stinky man. (Love him, but you get it, right?)
    2. we live in Arizona. Enough said.:)

    I'm glad you're all safe and sound. In ten years, I'll invite you to one of our family's weddings here in the Grand Canyon state and it'll be in November and the weather will be PURRRFEEECCTTT!:) And your faith in "wedding traveling" will be restored. And the world will be happy once again.:)

    Hope your weekend is going fabulously!:)

  10. Yikes! Yeah that was a freaky storm that blew through. Now it is nice and sunny. Springtime in the Rockies!

    My husband gets so tired driving that I usually do most of the driving on road trips. It isn't always fun on GOOD days, let alone stormy, yucky ones. Glad you stayed safe.

  11. It has always been really hard to come home after being in UT. I think this past time was the first time it was met with relief.
    My friends kids have it too.
    It's just hard to leave family.
    Apparently you took the snow with you. :)

  12. Ugh. Why is it that "vacations" often end up being anything but? So glad you stayed sane through such a harrowing ordeal. I think I would have been sobbing right along with the girls.

    Happy you're home safe!

  13. Whenever we have had to go north during a storm like that we have gone through Minersville and up to delta, then back over to I15 through Nephi...still have to take it a bit slow, but way less traffic and other cars to deal with in the process.

    If it makes you feel any better, when our daughter was 9 months old we were headed from west Texas (where my sister lives) over to east Texas (where my parents lived) between Christmas and New Year, a drive that normally would take 10-12 hours. It took us 24 hours because the entire freeway ended up being shut down during a storm for the entire night (12 hours). Seriously, they were blocking people from being able to travel while they cleaned up a wreck and sanded miles of the road. We sat there on the interstate because we were between exits/towns and there was no way to get off!

  14. hee hee ... I totally would have been sobbing with the girls, too! Having made that trip a number of times - your experience is beyond miserable!

    Glad it was safe, though!

  15. Sounds TERRIBLE!!!!!! That story makes me want to throw up.

  16. My parents live in Fillmore and they would have GLADLY put you up for a couple of hours. Now you'll know :) Glad you made it home safe!

  17. We were praying our guts out for you guys that night. I hated that you were driving in that awful storm & was so relieved to hear you got home safely after your hellish adventure.

    Yeah, I think your visit was a teaser. It made it harder to say goodbye the 2nd time. I hate that you are so far. The boys still ask about the girls.

  18. boy oh boy, that was a horrible snow storm when you were here and it lasted only that day! And, so thankful you made it back safely to SL! That storm caused an accident that took the life of a young girl and her fiance' had his arm amputated! A highway patrol officer killed 2 elderly ladies going to a Relief Society function right here in town as they turned into the church parking lot. They were actually sisters. It was sooo sad. The HP was not hurt. I know the pass well....and was once caught in a horrible storm. I am so glad you made it safely.

  19. Yeah, that storm was crazy. And the drive through the Beaver area when it is snowing is just atrocious. I can only imagine how tired you must have been after all that! But I'm glad you made it home safely and I hope that everyone is a bit back into their own routine, and not hating Michigan so much anymore :)

  20. Poor Bria! I can definitely identify with being a worrier! Although now that I'm an adult I can call it "anxiety" and get a prescription medication... :-)

    Glad you made it through all that! Sound grueling!