Some of you might have read about our 2013 snowy day adventure – when we ended up getting stranded in the snow for a few hours. You’d think we would have learned our lesson, but apparently we are destined to have a snow incident every winter. This time, we had gone to take care of some things at my dad’s house. No one had been there for about a month. We figured we’d get there Friday night, work on things on Saturday, then leave early on Sunday morning. It had been snowing, but everything was fairly clear where we live, more than 200 miles away. We took the minivan this time.
We got there around 9 or 9:30 on Friday night. There was snow in the driveway – apparently, no one had been there to plow or shovel. Well, except for the people who had plowed the street and blocked the end of the driveway more than it would have been otherwise. We were tired from our long drive, and just wanted to get settled into the house. We figured it was just snow, so we’d go ahead and try to pull in. That was not a good idea. We could hear the crunch of the ice and hard snow as we got stuck at the very end of the driveway. We got out and looked – we were very much stuck, and still mostly on the road.
There was snow under the car, preventing us from backing out. So, my husband and I trudged through the yard to look for a shovel. My dad’s property is large, and the house is set fairly far away from the road. The driveway is long because of that. The snow everywhere was very deep, and had layers of ice in
it. Sometimes, it would support us, but other times we’d break through the snow and be almost knee deep in it. I was happy to see 2 shovels on the front porch, although one was extremely small and made of plastic. We made our way back to the car, and my husband and I started digging. I gave him the regular one, and I used the little one that looked like it was for a child. It didn’t do much, but I was able to help get the snow out from under the car where it had gotten wedged. One in a while, I picked up big chunks of snow and ice, and just threw them out of the way, because that was actually more productive sometimes. My husband came up with the idea of using the tractor. He went in the house, got the key to the tractor (which had a bucket and a plow blade), and tried to start it. It was far too cold out, though, and wouldn’t work. He took the battery out, and put it in the house to warm up and charge overnight.
We kept shoveling, and eventually got a space that was almost big enough for the van. Around 11 pm, we decided to quit for the night. It was late, and we were exhausted. I was glad I had already taken our luggage to the house while taking a break from shoveling. We moved the minivan as far into the driveway as we could, so that only part of the rear bumper area was hanging out onto the road. We figured we would just hope nothing happened to the car, and we’d work on it the next day.
The next morning, on Valentine’s Day, we saw that it had snowed a few more inches overnight. It was really cold in the house, and we didn’t know why. It turns out there was a problem with the heater. I found a tube thermometer in one of the bedrooms, and it read around 38 degrees. I took it into the kitchen, and it soon read around 36. My husband went down to the basement, and got the heater to start working again.
I cleaned the snow off of the van, and we tried to move it out of the driveway so it would be easier to finish clearing out the snow, but we couldn’t move it. We would have to work around it. My husband tried the tractor, but it still wouldn’t start because it was too cold. He hooked up a cable to it that would warm it up. We went back to shoveling. About an hour later, I noticed the car was covered in about an inch of snow, because it was still coming down. My husband tried the tractor again, and this time it worked! The snow was deep enough that he had to go over each area several times with the tractor bucket, getting one layer each time. After a while of working his way toward the road, though, he got to a steep part of the driveway where the tractor almost tipped over, so he decided it was best to stop using it. We went back to shoveling. We worked on it for hours, while more snow came down. At times, I literally dug the snow with my hands and pushed it behind me, kind of like a dog would. That moved more snow than the small shovel, and I actually made some progress that way. My husband continued to use the big shovel. We later used the cat litter and salt that we were able to find, and were finally able to get the car out of the driveway around 4 pm. We knew we couldn’t leave it on the road, and there was literally nowhere else to put it.
So, it was back to shoveling. We got a larger spot cleared, and moved the van back into it. We weren’t able to clear the driveway enough to get the van down near the house, but at least the entire thing was off of the road, finally. We were happy to have the van out of the road, especially when the plow came past. We were both exhausted, so we decided to go back inside. My husband went in first, but I stayed out a few more minutes. I wasn’t as tired, because I had taken breaks once in a while during the day. I wanted to get a little bit more done. When I went in, I found out he had started dinner. It was delicious! There wasn’t much to do and we were out of energy, so we just sat on the couch after we ate and did some work.
On Sunday, we had to get the van out of the driveway so we could go home. We were hoping to leave around 10 or 11 that morning so we could get home early, because I had to get laundry and other things (everything I usually do on weekends) done on Monday, and I wanted to stop to see my grandmother while we were in that area. First, we made sure everything was packed and by the door, so we could leave as soon as we were able. We tried moving the van out of the driveway, but the steepness of that part, plus the ice that had been under the snow, made driving out of there impossible. When we’d try to back out of the spot, we would just slide forward, even further into the driveway until we hit the wall of snow that was still there. The ice looked like glass – so smooth, there was no traction at all. We tried looking for more salt or cat litter, but didn’t find any. We had already used up everything from the house and our van. We always keep cat litter in our vehicles during the winter in case of emergency. I tried getting rags from the house and putting them under the tires, but it didn’t help. It was kind of funny to see them go flying out from under the tires when we tried to back out, though. My husband found some pieces of wood lattice screen on the porch, and tried using that for some traction. It didn’t really help much. We decided we’d need to call for roadside assistance, because there was no way we’d ever get out of there without a tow. I went into the house, and made the call. The lady said she’d call back once she got ahold of a local service. When she did, she said there was only one tow company that serviced that area, and it would be at least 3 hours, since they had to go to the scene of an accident and had to take care of that first. I thanked her, and went out to tell my husband. He found an old carpet in the garage
while I had been in the house. We wedged it under the tires as best as we could, and kept trying to get out of the driveway. After about an hour, it finally worked! I had never been so excited to get a car out of a driveway before! I went back in the house to cancel the tow, and grab our things to put in the car. We were finally on our way, around 2:30 pm.
The roads were not good. Snow, ice, wind blowing the snow around, and it was really cold out. The roads in that area are very curvy and hilly, which didn’t help. There were a few spots that were so steep and icy that we didn’t know if we would make it through. It took longer than usual, but we made it there. It was so nice to see my grandma. Of course, my uncle filled us up with chili, tea, and goodies. When we left, I wanted to go to the cemetery to visit my dad, grandfather, and some other relatives. The little back road there wasn’t plowed, but there were some tracks, so we tried to get there. Of course, we got stuck again. It wasn’t nearly as bad there, but it was also later in the day. My husband worked on the car while I went up on the hill to the grave. By the time I got back down there, he had borrowed a shovel from a woman named Amanda who lived nearby, and she also went and got us some ashes. It only took maybe a half hour to get out this time. We had the same problem with the smooth, thick layer of ice under the snow.
By 6:30 or so, we were finally on our way home. It was fairly uneventful after that, and we made it home around 11:30. It was so good to be home!