Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I had no plans to enjoy the outdoors today. None in particular, at least. A little after noon I realized it was snowing though, and decided I'd better take the movie back to the RedBox, just in case traffic gets bad later.

A Little Snow

Little did I know.

On the way to Publix, I noticed that traffic in the other direction was backed up at a standstill and figured I'd pull into Siracusa's Pizza for a bite to eat and wait it out. Worst case, if it never cleared, I'd leave the car there, walk home and ride my mountain bike to Publix. A half hour later the traffic was worse than ever and I did just that.

Back home, I grabbed my winter gear, threw my fleece tights in my camelback, and at the last minute, put my running shoes in there too. It was really coming down, and I wanted them just in case the snow got too deep to ride in and I had to do an extended hike-a-bike.

There was a little more snow when I left.

More Snow

East-West Connector was chaos. Traffic in the other lane was at a dead stop. Traffic in my lane was too, but had not yet gotten backed up as far.

East-West Chaos

The bike felt like the right tool for the job.

There was this one hill on East-West that people were having trouble with. I helped one guy get his car unstuck, then went to Publix and dropped off the movie. Turned out there was a guy there who wanted to rent that exact movie and there were none in the RedBox until I arrived. Lucky for him.

On the way back, the snow was coming down harder, the hill had gotten a lot icier and people were spun out all over the road.

I parked the bike, put on the running shoes and spent the next who-knows-how-many hours helping people get unstuck. Eventually other people who'd been able to get their cars parked on the side of the road helped out too. One guy left us a pair of towels and another guy left us several broken-down boxes. In addition to just pushing, we'd back the cars onto the towels and boxes, and use them to get enough traction to get going. Sometimes we had to do this several times.

I gave up and headed home when it got officially dark. I was kind-of cold, so I stopped back by the pizza place to warm up for a minute and put on warmer gear. There were like 50 people packed in, waiting in vain for the traffic to die down, and more showing up every 10 minutes. I'll bet that most of them are still there. They might be there all night.

It's funny, out in the weather it didn't seem like a big deal. I was well prepared and there wasn't THAT much snow. Most of my "really good" winter rides or hikes were in much worse conditions. People were just struggling with the ice and chaos ensued. According to the TV in the pizza place though, the weather had made national news and the governor had declared a state of emergency. At that point it struck me that I probably ought to get home and call people so they know I'm OK. It turned out that Kathryn and my folks had been trying to get a hold of me and gotten worried. My brother had called too, but mainly just to relate his own little adventure.

I was fine though. The bike was definitely the right tool. Sitting here now, I am worried about people stuck in traffic, having to spend the night in their car, running out of gas without enough warm clothes.

Good luck Atlanta.

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