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The long drive to Tennessee…

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So as you may know, Lindsay and I have just moved out to Nashville! Just for two months though — not permanently. We simply wanted to be around our Nashville family (Lindsay’s side of the family lives here) for a couple months so that they could spend some quality time with our new baby :) We’ll be back in SD in April ;)

However, the drive out here was VERY interesting, to say the least. Lindsay flew out with Clive and I drove out with the dogs. I’ll try and make a long story short here…

I left at like 5am. It’s about a 32 hour drive from my house to the house we rented in Nashville — 2060 miles on the dot. My plan was to try my best to drive it straight through and only stop for the dogs every so often. And if I got tired, I’d of course pull over. After about 15 hours, it started to snow. No biggee. I have a big 4WD vehicle and I’m a VERY cautious driver in such conditions. I just moved ahead and kept my wits about me. Well, I made it 19 straight hours no problem. That was until I went through Sweetwater, Texas.

I arrived there at about 2am the next day and started losing control of my car quickly. I then noticed that it was solid ice on the road. Like as if I were driving on a frozen lake. I could no longer drive (I mean, if I hit 10mph, I’d start to lose control and slide for a while) so I pulled over on an exit where a ton of cars and semis had done the same thing. So there we were. Me, Remmy, and Trouble. Stranded on the side of the road in FREEZING weather. I hopped in the back of the Land Rover with them and just waited it out. I was low on gas so I couldn’t let the car idle all night, or anything. The poor dogs were shivering that night :( It was so sad! In the morning, I let them out to go to the bathroom, but it was snowing and FREEZING cold — so much that they wouldn’t go to the bathroom. I knew they had to. They were just freaked out by that cold. To give you an idea of how cold it was, when I turned the car on in the morning, I had to let the heater run to melt all the ice on the windows INSIDE my car. It was seriously so much colder than a freezer.

At this point, I had many people on Facebook and Twitter telling me it just wasn’t worth it and that I should get a hotel. I looked at the weather and it just didn’t look like a good idea. It wasn’t getting warm any time soon and, in fact, it was just going to snow more the next day. So I figured whatever I had to pass through, I’d have to pass it now or in a couple days the same. Looking back, I’m glad I drove as I wouldn’t have done anything other than sleep in the middle of nowhere at a hotel only to make the same drive the following day or two. So I drove on.

That day, I drove about 12 hours. In that 12 hour time period, I made it just over 100 miles. Seriously. Going 100 miles after driving ALL day is very, very boring. I was frustrated as I felt so bad for my dogs. I couldn’t stop anywhere. I mean, I’d pass one exit and there would be no where to pull off without getting stranded and I knew that the next exit would be about 20-30 minutes for me to get to. Finally that afternoon I found a place I could pull over at and let the dogs run around. It was a tad bit warmer (like 20 degrees) so they felt comfortable enough to go to the bathroom and they played for a good 30 minutes. Their first time in snow. It was so freaking cute. They pounced up and down to jump out of it and just wrestled each other in the snow. This made the next leg much easier knowing that they got to tire themselves out a bit.

So I drove until nightfall — only to have a Texan roll down his window and tell me that I had a flat. I guess I was going so slow that I didn’t notice! I pulled over and I knew I’d be there for the night. I was parked on ice — the same as if I pulled a car with a flat tire on a frozen lake. No way would I get under that car and change the tire. Jack it up to get the spare that is underneath it. Seemed like a death sentence. I have AAA but I knew, having passed about 100 cars and semis on the side of the road in about 100 miles, that such a service was going to have a gnarly wait list. They did. I called and couldn’t get through. My mom called and actually got through and told them where I was (mom to the rescue :). They said they’d send someone in 90 minutes. I was in disbelief. After about 3 hours they called saying that can’t find anyone. I was like “this makes more sense now…”. They were very sweet telling me that they were trying — but that their tow trucks were simply out on assignments already. I told them that I was parked for the night and simply wanted to be on the road by morning. And that it’s WAY more important to get to some stranded family than me. So I didn’t care when they got to me so long as they got to me by the following morning.

I got a phone call somewhere in the middle of the night and it was time. Took a while to get the tire changed, but we had it!

That was another FREEZING cold night. Colder than the night before. I forced the dogs to move away from the sides of the car (where it was colder) and we scrunched together in the middle of the car and covered ourselves in my blanket. That seemed to help them. Still, I felt so bad for the poor guys. Feeling your dogs ears, that are normally super hot, be icy cold just sucks.

The next morning it was more of the same. I was about 70 miles from Dallas — where I could get a new tire for the spare — and it took me hours and hours to get there. Eventually, I made it changed my tire (ended up getting four tires — the cheapest Land Rover wheels are 2.5 times more expensive than my old BMW’s wheels, by the way!

After leaving Dallas, the ice on the roads steadily started to leave. After about an hour, I was driving 80mph. I couldn’t even believe it. It felt insane! It was amazing to look at my dash and actually see the miles change. As I made it into Arkansas, there wasn’t even snow in the ground.

People kept giving me a hard time about driving during such a bad storm :P but a) I had this planned before any storm and b) I chose the route that didn’t go through the storm. I just got stuck on a 200 mile stretch of freeway that was literally the same as driving on a 200 mile stretch of frozen lake. Aside from that, it was a great trip! That 200 miles just took FOREVER was all :)

Those last two photos. Such strong contrasts. I hate one and love the other. The one with the semi trucks… Argh! I don’t know how many times I’d get near run of the road by one deciding he wants over to pass the semi in front of him — only to be stuck behind two semis going the exact same speed for about 20 minutes blocking the passing lane. I understand that they have to drive and pass just like everyone else. But when there is NO ONE behind me, you’d think they’d have the common courtesy to let me go first. I know I do that for them all the time (when they have to get over and it’s crowded — I slow down and let them over). I can’t tell you how often this happened in Arkansas and Tennessee.

The other one might not be so clear. At the end of the trip, Trouble realized he could look out the back window at the cars following us. This is him doing that (it’s in the rear view mirror). He’s growling at the car for getting to close, I suppose :)

Anyways, I’m so happy to have made it to Nashville! It was a great little reunion with the 5 of us :)


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facebook love...

Cindy Lowe - OMG I'm so glad you made it. You are crazy that you slept in your car in freezing cold weather!February 7, 2011 - 12:00 am

Liz Bazaldua - Love your stories! So brave for taking on such journey. Glad u guys made it safe :)February 7, 2011 - 12:00 am

tim king - glad to hear you made it in one piece - that was a pretty bad storm that came through. question for ya - i think we both share an affinity for travel...and i'm just wondering if you're planning to continue doing the rpte's each year - seems like it would be a bit tougher with more responsibilities like having a kid, 2 dogs, etc. hope you guys are enjoying TN!February 10, 2011 - 10:21 am

tracey - uh, that is CRAZY! I held my breath through that entire post. Not kidding. So glad you are alive to tell it. And I love Nashville.February 11, 2011 - 8:38 pm

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