For anyone who has watched the news in the last week you know that Atlanta became a nightmare as of last Tuesday afternoon around 2pm. Well I have my very own story to contribute to the Atlanta "snowopolis/snowjam/or whatever you want to refer to it by 2014"....but wanna know the real funny part? I wasn't even in Atlanta to start off my adventure...
I had actually flown to Charleston, WV Monday evening for work. Why does that city sound familiar you might be asking yourself? Oh yeah...it's because it is the other city (other than Atlanta) that has been in the news recently for the chemical spill that contaminated all the city's water. So yes, 20 weeks pregnant me, flew in to Charleston, WV for work. Upon reaching the airport I drove with three co-workers, who are wonderful and already love my little boy *obviously* :), 2.5 hours outside of Charleston to stay in a hotel outside of where the water was contaminated to ensure my baby would be safe (mind you I was extremely glad I did when upon walking off the airplane gate and onto the airport terminal there were signs posted everywhere that said pregnant ladies and children should NOT drink our water or bath in it, or eat anything cooked or cleaned in our water). We were greeted in WV by sheer cold....honestly I have never experienced that sort of cold. All you northers will laugh at me but -16 degrees in NOT my kind of fun. We drove in major snow the 2.5 hours just to wake up the next morning and drive the 2.5 hours back to Charleston in order for me to be able to present. Here is a picture of our group at breakfast before the 2.5 hour drive back to Charleston on Tuesday morning:
Our flight was SUPPOSED To fly out that day at 4pm. I finished presenting around 2 and we headed to the airport only to find out that the one and only other flight (both flights out of WV to Atlanta were also coming in from Atlanta) had been delayed and still had not left Atlanta. We waited hour after hour to find that each flight kept getting delayed longer and longer. Finally, at 6:30 (FOUR AND HALF HOURS after sitting at the airport) both flights were cancelled. It was at this point that we found out that not only were they cancelled for Tuesday but also for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and most likely Saturday, and, that our best chance for flying out of WV due to the low priority and all the flights that were being cancelled into Atlanta that were going to have to be rescheduled, our best chance of flying home would be on SUNDAY!
Let me remind you that we were in a city where I could not eat or drink any of the food. After a little deliberation we decided to rent a car and DRIVE back to Atlanta. After picking up another Atlanta traveler we meant at the airport the five of us crowded into an Explorer we rented from Avis and began our long haul back....our agreement was that if anyone felt unsafe at any point in time we would stop and stay put where we stopped. I mean honestly anywhere was better to me that Charleston, WV. At least let's get to somewhere I could eat.
We got about 15 miles out of Charleston before we started wondering if we made the best decision. We were straight up driving through a BLIZZARD! Although they are much more prepared up there then we obviously are in Atlanta (there were snow plows everywhere and the roads were salted) we are still not used to driving through snow, I am pregnant and have to pee every five minutes, and it was so cold the sand and snow kept clogging our window shield and we would have to stop about every 30 minutes, pull out baby wipes, and let the one and only guy that was with us (poor thing) climb out and wipe down the windshield with baby wipes so we could continue to see to drive. Don't believe me? Here's a pic:
We drove until Charlotte, NC. We arrived at 12:30AM and stayed there overnight.
The next morning we continued our route. As long as were making forward progress we felt pretty good about ourselves. Our plan was to make it to Greenville, SC and regroup there to decide if it was safe to continue to ATL or not. We made it to Greenville Wednesday afternoon. We called a team meeting at Starbucks and turns out we were not in agreement about our onward trip into Atlanta. We were split 3 wanted to continue (myself included) and 2 wanted to stay. Remember that whole everyone has to feel safe or we won't continue plan? Yeah...well majority ruled! We continued much to the distress of the 2 that didn't want too...mind you we were running on VERY little sleep, I hadn't been able to change clothes in 2 days (this would be the first and only trip I've ever packed JUST enough for what I thought I would need), and all our friends and family members were texting us telling us we were crazy to come in to Atlanta and stay put. (Easy enough for them all to say when they are at home having snow days with their families and posting pictures of hot coco and sledding in the snow!)
We decided to continue into Atlanta but scared we wouldn't make it through town we decided to ditch the rental car and continue through town to the airport (where our cars were) by train. We made it to the Marta station, purchased our tickets, and began our very long 47 minute wait for the next train (mind you we were outside in the freezing cold with no restroom and this pregnant mama HAD TO GO). That's how I know it was a 47 minute wait! Finally a train came...I grabbed my suitcase and purse and stepped on the train.
Only problem? In all the excitement of the train coming and trying to make sure we got on the train and I didn't pee my pants) I left my briefcase with my WORK laptop AND ipad on the bench at the Marta station. For those of you who aren't from Atlanta I don't know how much you know about Marta but it is known for not being very safe. I was sick! Thankfully I realized it very quickly and we got off at the next station to wait for a returning north bound train to take us back to where I left my bag even though I knew there was no way it would still be there.
It wasn't five minutes until I got a phone call from my heroes! Three guys who I later found out where vacationing here from London! I know they picked a bad time to come right! They had my bag! What amazing, kind, good people! We made it back to the station got the bag from these awesome guys who refused to accept any money from me and snapped several pictures with them. Halfway between tears and throwing up and trying to communicate my thanks I told them I was pregnant and promised them they would make this story that I would tell my son one day. They in turn told me their names: Shanes, Benson, and TJ. Here's our photo:
I EVENTUALLY made it home late Wednesday night in enough time to hit up a few hills with my sweet, wonderful husband. I'm telling you guys. I've never been more happy to be home in my life!
At least now I have my very own planes, trains, and automobile story!