Tender mercy number one, I thought better of taking Sara (my five year old with me and waited until Emily got home from school to care for her). I am so glad I didn’t have her with me. I had planned for a 45 minute trip. It wasn’t until using my navigation system that I realized the trip would be more like 1 1/2 hours. So I was making up for lost time trying to get to my appointment on time by speeding a little. At Eatonville the snow started coming down. I slowed to about 30 mph as it had become difficult to see.
Tender mercy number two, David (my husband) had just a month before replaced my headlights with brighter bulbs, polished the plastic on the headlights so that they shown brighter and applied a rain ex coating to my windshield. Without those two things I don’t know that I would have been able to see. Right at Alder Lake I lost control of my car and started fishtailing back and forth ALL OVER THE ROAD.
Tender mercy number three, there were no other cars on the road. I went back and forth between both lanes barely managing not to spin out of control. If there had been cars behind me or coming the other direction I would have been hit and likely would have gone off the cliff into the frozen lake below. I STILL feel like I have adrenaline pumping through my veins and it has been several hours. There is a sickness still in my stomach at the thought at what almost happened. At that point I wanted to go back home. I called Dave first, because I needed comfort. My phone didn’t have any reception. Without being able to reach my clients I felt like I had to go on. Honestly I didn’t know if when the weather hit they had decided to turn around or not. But just the idea of having to strand my clients without a heads up with a phone call was enough to make me continue on. I drove on nervously. At Mineral the snow was coming down so hard and fast that there were already several inches of snow on the ground. I was driving very slowly and carefully. Again I wanted to turn around thinking about what the road conditions would be on my return trip home scared me. Right outside the park entrance for Rainier I was stopped by a huge fallen tree blocking the road. It took 15 minutes for the crew to clear it. All the while I kept looking at the clock. I hate being late, I hate not being dependable. I was in a fit. I made it to the park entrance just a few miles away from my meeting spot with my clients, 15 minutes after our session was supposed to start. I had used up all of my “prep for the location time” getting there and I was still late. At the entrance I was met by a ranger who told me I needed to have snow chains to continue. I told him that I thought I had some in the trunk but did not know how to put them on. The ranger, bless his helpless cold heart, told me it was against the law for him to help and that I would need to turn around. I was dumbfounded! Here I was just 5 minutes away, with no phone reception and I was being turned around!!! So turn around I did. Except I had to clear a bank of snow in between the inbound lane and the outbound lane and you guessed it, I got stuck. I hop out of the car and try pushing and I naturally didn’t budge. The very helpful ranger walked over with an orange vest for me to wear for protection and stood there. Again, it was against the law for him to help me. I started shoveling snow out from under the car with my hands as the helpful gentleman stood by to watch me in my misery.
Tender mercy number four, a few minutes later a car stops on their way off the mountain to help me. It took four of us to get me un stuck. The kind Samaritan also put my chains on. So I headed home dejected and feeling like a total failure, after all that hard work and perseverance (not to mention near death experience) I was still standing up my client. Driving with chains was slow. I was only going about 10 miles an hour because they were making such a horrible racket. At one point I even got out to check on them. One looked loose but I couldn’t figure out how to make it any tighter. Not even a mile after getting out to check I hear a horrendous noise. I get out once again (in the freezing cold dumping wet yucky snow) and the chains on my left tire had broken and were now wrapped all along the axle, stuck tight. I wanted to through my hands up in the air instead I cried. What a crazy unlucky night. There is no one around and it is dark and cold. I start thinking that the odds are great that I am about to spend the night freezing to death in my stuck car. I wonder to myself if at some point Dave will be worried and come to my rescue. After about 5 minutes of furtively trying to tug and pull on the broken chains a car stops to help.
Tender mercy five. And you will not believe it…it was the same good Samaritans that helped the first time. They had stopped for dinner with their family at a diner and had ended up behind me, but because I was driving so slow they weren’t too far behind. I was mortified, but VERY grateful. The gentle man starts to take my tire off to remove the chains. I am lighting his work with my cell phone (which by the way when it did start to receive reception again it would not cooperate. I could make calls but no one could here me). I am positive that ,my poor abandoned clients had to have passed me at some point on the side of the road, lol! What rotten luck! But I am home in one piece and my car still functions and all is well. Except I did not get to take beautiful portraits of a lovely expecting mommy. And I wasted 1/2 a day driving around in a blizzard. ARGH…