A Change in Plans

Right around Occoquan VA, after caravaning through steadily degrading
road conditions for a few hours, we realized we had to rethink our
plans. With the roadside being increasingly festooned with spun-out
cars and traffic moving at as much as 10MPh, the goal of reaching
Florence, SC in the early evening was looking less and less
achievable. Our cars were decidedly not snow-rated, and the report was
that conditions would steadily worsen over the next 300 miles.

Pressing on was out of the question. We considered finding a motel and
waiting out the storm. But the prospect of locating a motel, paying
for a couple of rooms, and twiddling our thumbs all afternoon and
evening was not appetizing. And there was a bigger problem: while I-95
was a mess, conditions less than a mile off of the highway were far
worse. Our chances of actually reaching a motel were iffy.

I considered calling on the hospitality of friends or acquaintances in
the area, but rejected it for the same reason. Navigating unfamiliar
and potentially unplowed side-roads seemed like a recipe for disaster.

That left turning around and heading for home. The weather was clearer
to the north, the roads better-salted, and at least we would be able
to end a trying day in our own beds.

It took us the next six hours to actually make it home, through
snow-snarled rush hour traffic that rarely exceeded 20MPh. But make it
we did, and after relaxing for a little while we held a conference.

We had just spent ten hours in cramped vehicles, most of us in the
company of two increasingly unhappy babies. There was one point
everyone agreed on: *nobody* wanted to get back in the car anytime
soon. With three out of three drivers balking at the idea of driving
one more mile, there was only one answer that didn’t involve starting
out a “holiday” with two days of misery:

Cancel the trip.

And so, the Grimm family will be spending Christmas cozy in our own
home this year, instead of in Florida as planned. We will light the
fire and make hot chocolate and watch the snow fall the way it was
meant to be enjoyed: from the warmth and safety of home.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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