A Weekend of Firsts

Disclaimer: I am not an artist. Really, I’m not. I think that will become quite clear early on.

I love firsts, and this weekend was a weekend full of firsts! It was my first junior high sisters’ conference as a serving one (And a responsible one at that! I really don’t know what they were thinking.); my first time at Alpine camp; my first time being with two energy balls that exhausted me; my first time driving in snow, on ice, and various wintry conditions; the first time I’ve had a car full of screaming girls (two, but felt like more) that really made me have to concentrate really hard on not falling off the mountain; the first time I had to put on snow chains on my car; the first time I slid backwards down a steep hill, etc. I wish I could say the list goes on, but I can’t really remember any more firsts.

Right, so you’re probably wondering about the last few firsts. This entry really is about those last few ones. It was quite an adventure. And if you know me, you’ll know that I do enjoy my adventures, but that was one adventure that I could have done without. I’m not really a fan of risking people’s lives–that’s just plain stupid. But I’d like to clarify, I did not almost fall off a mountain. And this particular exciting event (I love alliteration) was not due to my lack of driving skills, but simply because it was my first time driving in snowy conditions.

Okay, back to the story.

In case you’re not familiar, I drive a 2010 Prius. This is where my disclaimer comes into play. I was going to be lazy and not have any illustrations for this entry and force you all to use your vivid imaginations, but I decided that you might be entertained at my diagrams. Although, the story is a little too intense for it to be humorous, at least in my opinion. I minimally tried to make it realistic looking. Okay. So here is my car:

Point about bad artistry proven. I didn’t even try to look at a picture of a Prius. Too late now. My car’s name is Snow. Funny how that turned out.

I was driving a car full of girls, and because we were going to Alpine camp for the very first time, I was unfamiliar with the way, although I had looked at the map and everything. My navigator, though she tried, missed the road that we were supposed to make a turn on. So… we went a little too far. We went so far up the mountain that I wasn’t allowed to go any further without having snow chains on. So we stopped and put on snow chains.

Now, I have helped someone put on chains only once in my life about four, possibly five years ago. And I was helping them. So I remembered the idea of it, but didn’t know the mechanics of it. My helper was reading the directions, and they (the directions) weren’t very helpful. In fact, they were downright confusing. You can imagine the situation. It’s snowing pretty hard, we’re parked at the side of the road, it’s foggy-ish, the junior high girls are crazily romping around in the snow drifts because this is their first time in snow while it is snowing and they are excited, my hair is being a monster and decides to be everywhere, I’m in my tennis shoes that are slowly being soaked through by snow, my hands are cold because snow is cold, my tires are making my clothes dirty, and we’re trying to put on snow chains. And this is only the beginning.

Well we put them on. And they were properly put on. Honest. Except they were kind of loose. So twice we stopped and tightened them. And the girls are getting antsy in the back seat. And I even forgot to mention the screaming. At least they listened when I told them to stop. Actually, the girls listened very well. They were very good.

At a certain point, we decided to turn back. We were supposed to go half a mile beyond a little town and… we had been going for a while. Maybe… half an hour. We were so worried about the weather and etc. that we missed the turn. So we turned back, went down a couple of roads, turned around and eventually found the right road! Talk about a sigh of relief. Then as we were driving down the road, we saw a car that had turned over on the side. It looked a little like this:

My picture really doesn’t do it justice. But at least you get some kind of impression of how scary it was. It seemed like the people were okay as they were climbing out and seemed fine. But that was so scary.

Then we went on our merry way and turned on a street that looked rather residential but was the street we were looking for and was very steep. A few points before I proceed. Because we had come down the mountain, it was no longer necessary for us to have chains on. I didn’t realize that. Chains are meant for snowy road, not sludgy roads. I didn’t know that. This hill was going to be very, very steep at the end. I really didn’t know that.

So we were driving up the hill. And we were so, so, so, so, close to the top! And poor Snow was trying very, very hard. The girls and I were cheering her on. But she couldn’t go any further. And then we started slipping backwards, and even when I stepped on the brakes we were still slipping. Oh. Lord. Jesus. Talk about an intense moment. So scary. Somehow, (it had to be the Lord)I kept my wits about me and pulled the emergency brake and we sat there in the road with some cars behind me. Here is the corresponding image:

Thankfully, the car behind me realized that I wasn’t going to make it up the hill and had backed up. So then I backed into the driveway that God must have placed right there next to the road just for this moment. Also thankfully, I have been practicing my backing up skills a lot, and avoided the dangerous rocks and was safe on the driveway. The other cars drove past.

I tried again. Still couldn’t make it.

Then the driver of the car who was behind me walked down the hill to help me out. What a nice man. I was kind of at a loss, and I didn’t know what to do, and that road was a one way street. Talk about being stuck. He suggested that I take the chains off and try again, because a small station wagon (or was it a sedan?) had made its way up just fine while I was parked there in the driveway. So I took the chains off and we made it up the hill. Happy ending!

What an adventure. This is already far too long. I’m just going to stop.

But oh yes, we made it down the mountain with absolutely no complications. Everyone got home safe and sound! Huzzah!

Point of clarification: the reason I couldn’t make it up the steep, steep hill was because the chains were not allowing my tires to grip the road properly. Because the snow had melted sufficiently, the chains were no longer necessary to prevent my car from slipping. In fact, they were causing my car to slip because I couldn’t get any traction.


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