This story begins way back in October, when I started listening to Christmas music. :) And when we started thinking about our Christmas plans-- whether to go home, stay here, go to Hawaii (we weren't really thinking that, but that would've been a great idea), and so on. Both of our families came here to Orem for Thanksgiving, so we were thinking we'd stay here for the break. However, about a week before Christmas, we decided to go. I was able to get work off (thanks again to Janna who worked for me), and we left on Tuesday, December 22nd. We drove down to Spring City that night and stayed with my grandparents, which was great. We loved getting to see them and spend some time with them!
Tyler was great and checked the road conditions from Utah through New Mexico and made sure we were going the best way. We got pretty far the first day, even though we didn't leave as early as we'd hoped. We had so much fun driving together! Road trips are so great. We ate PB&J's the whole way and read "Ender's Game" out loud to each other. I don't think we stopped for more than a few hours-- neither of us sleep very well in the car--so the 23rd and 24th kind of became one long day.
The weather was pretty nice, with the exception of the wind blowing really hard and blowing snow across the road. Sometimes visibility was low, but it never snowed on us at all. We stopped to get gas and Tyler was smart (in tune? wonderful? thoughtful? prepared? so many words) and thought to get an extra gallon of water. We had one gallon that we'd brought along with some cups to drink out of, but he got an extra one, along with some snacks. This proved to be a clutch decision later on.
We were pretty proud of ourselves when we crossed the Texas border sometime in the night (or early morning?) between the 23rd and 24th. We had to stop a few times and wait for the wind to calm down so Tyler could see the road, but overall it wasn't too bad.
UNTIL... about 3 pm Christmas Eve. We were almost to Wichita Falls, TX, when we were stopped completely in a huge line of cars. We had been slowed down and even stopped at one point for various wrecks and people slowing down so they could wait out the wind/snow, so we weren't too worried. A few hours passed and we tried to remain calm by reading and listening to music (Tyler got me the Glee CD's for Christmas and I opened those early so we could jam on the long drive). Wichita Falls is about 7 hours north of Houston, so after a little while we called our families to let them know we probably wouldn't be there until Christmas morning instead of Christmas Eve. We had no idea when we would start moving again, but the longer we sat, the more worried we got. We called the TX Highway Patrol for some information, and they told us that there was a wreck between two 18-wheeler trucks. They had a jack-knife truck at the accident trying to clear the roads. We knew the roads were bad, but we didn't realize that Wichita Falls had gotten more snow in this one storm than they'd had in years. It's a two-plow town, apparently. :) I slept off and on, and we got to the point where we had to turn off the car, unsure of how long we'd have to be sitting there. We decided to open the presents that we'd brought in the car since we didn't have anywhere to go or anything to do, and we wouldn't be at either of our houses on Christmas morning. I was SO grateful for the robe that Tyler's Grammy gave to him-- we didn't have any blankets with us and that robe kept be warm!
We had some entertaining moments during our stop too. Pretty early in the morning on Christmas Day (maybe around 1 or 2am) I couldn't wait any longer to go to the bathroom. This wasn't a problem for boys-- we saw tons of people relieving themselves on the side of the road-- but we were laughing so hard when I, being female, couldn't use a toilet. Good times for sure.
There were one or two times where we moved a few feet and then stopped again. In the 17 hours that we were held back by this wreck, we probably moved a total of one mile. We were talking to our parents throughout the night (I still feel bad about ruining their sleep), keeping them updated about our never-changing whereabouts. They were so sweet and got a hotel for us in Wichita Falls, in case we ever got there. :) Finally, at about 5:30 am, the Highway Patrol truck drove by to let us know that the wreck was cleared and we were finally moving. At 6:00 am Christmas morning, we pulled into the Candlewood Suites in Wichita Falls, TX. Holy relief. The people at the hotel were so sweet and helpful-- they said they had tons of people who were stuck on the road. Thanks to our amazing parents, we snagged one of the last available hotel rooms in the city.
This concludes Part One of our story. Some things I'm grateful for: that Tyler thought to get an extra gallon of water and some more food-- we weren't hungry at all during our wait. Also, I'm grateful that we didn't have any children or pets with us in the car. We saw so many people walking their dogs outside and making bottles for little babies, and I just cringed for them. What a miserable 17 hours they must have had. I'm grateful that we didn't run out of gas. We filled up every time we got below a half tank, which turned out to be such a blessing because it saved us from being even colder than we were.
Stay tuned for Part Two!