A few years back New England was hit with a severe ice storm. I know people who were out of power for weeks. Doubletrouble was actually stuck at his place for several days from fallen trees on his road and downed power lines. Of course I was JUST south enough that all we got was a wee bit of rain and some cold weather.
It happened to be this weekend we were getting together with Mrs. Weer’ds sisters who live in Northern Vermont.
Stupid Mistake #1. I didn’t even think twice of all the news stories of ice damage.
Mistake #2. I had a half tank of gas in my truck, and its my general practice that if I can get to New Hampshire I fill up there for tax reasons.
So off we went. It didn’t take much more than 10-15 miles on the highway before a night-and-day difference in the landscape happened. Rather than the snowy dreary December landscape, a crystalline world of broken trees and downed power lines were all we could see.
We had planned to stop at McDonalds as a treat (a greasy McMuffin does you good in moderation!) the first exit with a McDonalds was DARK, the restaurant was closed because of power.
This only got worse the further north we went. It wasn’t just the restaurants and houses, but the gas stations. Before we know it we’re halfway up New Hampshire, and the needle is getting near the red E, and we haven’t found an open pump yet. No problem, right? I have a AAA membership, worst case scenario I’ll just call for help and they’ll bring me a few gallons of gas!
Then I looked at my cellphone. Not only were the restaurants black, as well as the filling stations, but the cell towers were down too. I looked out on the Northern New Hampshire highway on a snowy December. It is VERY bleak and remote. No life, no traffic, no shelter.
Thankfully I have blankets and some food in my truck so we COULD hunker down and keep warm for a little while, and thankfully it was cold but not as brutal cold as New Hampshire can be in the winter that day. Still the idea of hunkering down in a dead truck under blankets and waiting for somebody to find us didn’t give us much comfort.
Dumb Mistake #3. Tho I had both my Mass and NH carry permits at the time, they were both still VERY new to me, and Mrs. Weer’ds sisters were VERY anti-gun at the time (they have since come around), I thought I’d not rock the boat and wasn’t carrying a gun. The thought of the WRONG somebody finding us while we were helpless was TERRIFYING!
Thankfully the truck had enough juice to limp us into Lebanon New Hampshire which was also mostly dark, but there WAS a single gas station that had power to their pumps and I was able to top off my tank and get us safely to the top of Vermont. Also it wasn’t far into Vermont when it became obvious that they just got a shitload of snow and no ice.
I was REALLY scared that day. I’ve been in accidents several times, and those aren’t fun, but while they’re happening all you’re thinking about is your driving skills and how to make it better. I remember hitting a patch of sand on a back-woods road in Maine and my truck went skidding off the road. All I was thinking was “BRAKES!!!!!!!” as I stood on the brake pedal as a massive pine tree got closer and closer. I didn’t feel anything emotional until it was all over and I knew we were fine.
Things get REALLY scary when you KNOW for a FACT you are NOT fine!
Be safe out there!