My unforgettable trip from Indianapolis, IN to Wauseon, OH
This was not my longest drive by miles or even time, but those nine hours felt like an eternity. All I wanted was to get home for Christmas. I didn't know my usual three hour drive to my parent's house was going to become this huge undertaking. December 23, 2008 I loaded my five birds into my compact car. I put the three cockatiels in the back seat with my laundry basket. The parakeets were riding shot gun. We were all buckled in and ready for the open road.
When I left work that day, I had no clue that I would be embarking on this adventure. I was just going home for Christmas. They had predicted some freezing rain, but that didn't worry me. I mean this is Indiana. Road crews would be prepared right? Yeah not so much.
By the time the birds and I made it to I-69, the interstate was closed in both directions. The reason: treacherous conditions. You see they didn't properly treat the roads, and now the salt trucks cannot get to the roads because of the traffic. Eventually, we started moving again, but it was very slowly. Now don't get me wrong, I was happy to be moving slowly. The crazies that kept trying to speed up to 30-40 mph and sliding all over the place were making me nervous. The whole time we are creeping along, I have Popcorn, my 18 year old cockatiel, saying Pretty Bird and Ut-Oh. Batty (another cockatiel) having a panic attack, and the other three are just a little confused.
Four hours later we finally reached Anderson. Now Anderson really is about a 30 minute drive, but today we were going less than 5 mph. Now I am considering just giving up, but then relief came. Apparently, IDOT actually did salt the highway just north of Anderson. I slowly accelerate up to between 40-55 mph (depending on the road conditions). I have no plans to try and make up my time. I just wanted to stay safe.
Yes things were looking better. Even driving through Fort Wayne went smoothly. Then a little north of the city INDOT struck again. Yes the roads were not just ice covered, but they were snow covered too. Great. Time to slow down again. I am really close to the toll road, and I am looking forward to getting there. I grew up living off the Ohio Turnpike and we learned that the Turnpike was usually well cleared because it was a toll road. I thought that I would find safety there.
I took the exit to the toll road, and it was a hot mess. It was slippery and of course there was a car back up. As I looked over in my passenger seat, I realized that the parakeets were about to mutiny. Both birds were wide eyed, clenched to the side of the cage with their little faces pushed against the bars. Neither parakeet like being touched, but they let me rub their beaks as they both looked at me with the most pathetic looks on their faces.
I grabbed my ticket and headed onto the toll road. I was very disappointed to find that the toll road was just as treacherous as the freeway. I was annoyed, but I was less than an hour away. Actually, the Wauseon exit is the first exit that has actual civilization right at the exit. I keep driving.
As soon as we enter Ohio, the roads magically are nicer. You still needed to be careful, but at least you could drive the speed limit.Soon we were at exit 34 and freedom was a little under two miles away. Even the little state route was better plowed than the Indiana Toll Road. I'm not sure how my little car made it up my parents steep ice covered driveway, but we made it. Our journey was over.