Sunday, January 08, 2017

Snowy Saturday Basketball Special Part 2

Things to do in Middlebury when you're stuck.
I kept telling myself that I was in the safest place I could be.

I kept telling myself that I was prepared.

I had packed a sleeping bag. An air mattress. A change of clothes. Hats. Gloves.

I had food. Water.

It wasn't like I was in the middle of nowhere.

The point is, that if I went to Post to call the doubleheader, and the snow was as bad as they suggested, that due to my car, and I could just stay at the school.

That's what I did.

I was back at my car around 5 p.m. I cleaned it all off, warmed it up, and then went back into the gym to be indoors. It was clear though that security was getting ready to lock up.

So I went back to the car. I sat there and watched as Georgian Court got on the bus to leave.

A Mobil station with a Dunkin Donuts sat about a hundred yards in front of me. A Subway restaurant was also nearby.

We could do this. It wouldn't exactly be a game of Survivor.

I decided coffee would be great, so I walked to Dunkin Donuts. GCU's bus had moved down there to get food.

Sadly, the DD didn't have a seating area, so there would be no hanging out there. I went back to the car.

This would become the routine. Run the engine. Warm up. Pull out the sleeping bag, and cover up. Then I would turn off the car. Then I would get cold. Repeat.

I walked to a nearby shopping center/professional building. There was a restaurant there.

Which was closed. Of course.

In the meantime, the GCU bus was still at Subway. The line was too long. OK, what else to do?

I knew there was a Maggie McFly's nearby. Maybe a mile away. The road looked flat, but of course it was snow-covered. There's inherent danger in all of that, no?

Oh what the heck. You only live once.

Away I went.

Again, let's be very clear. This wasn't exactly traipsing through a blizzard.
No, I did not have a French Dip.
I ate. I drank. I watched the Texans beat the Raiders. I could have hung out there a lot longer but a) I got bored, and b) I didn't feel like dealing with people with beer muscles.

I walked back to the car. I event drifted into a light sleep at one point.

All along, I had people watching out for me, and texting me to make sure I was OK. There were those who wanted me to get a hotel room, I found that prohibitive due to a) price, and b) I'd have to drive there. (Yes, I did consider getting an Uber).
My parking spot was just to right, and above the Mobil.
After roughly five hours of all of this (and GCU's bus did finally head back towards New Jersey), the Post Hockey team bus appeared. That made me think it was time to try to drive. So I made my way out of the parking lot and turned right on Connecticut Route 63.

The road was still somewhere snow-covered, but definitely passable (for those confident in their vehicle). I tapped my brakes to make the left onto 84 West.


Remembering the car that I saw do a "360" in front of me as I walked to Maggie McFly's, I went back and found a new parking lot to sit in.

Moments later, a Middlebury police officer stopped by to check on me. He smiled as I said I was playing it safe, and wished me well.

Finally, two plows passed by on 63. Once going south, once going north. Blacktop began to appear.

I thought maybe this was the time, but I also spun my wheels as I attempted to turn back onto 63.

OK, now it was my chance to get on Interstate 84, and deal with the hills on my way to Danbury. The ramp wasn't in great shape, but it wasn't bad, and I proceeded onto the carriageway without incident. Soon, as I suspected I might, I was doing highway speed towards Southbury.

The road wasn't perfect. At times, I could feel the give of a small patch of ice, and there were plenty of snow-covered patches between Southbury and Newtown, and especially between Exits 10 and 9. I reached Danbury and felt good about things as I crossed into New York.

My next concern was the ramp from Interstate 84 to 684, but I rolled through that without incident. So was I home free? No. Not yet.

The right lane before Exit 8 -- Hardscrabble Road (my exit) -- was quite snowy, and I felt my trusty TARDIS (yes, that's what Sean and I call the car) begin to wander slightly. Not badly, mind you, but I definitely had to slow down significantly. The ramp wasn't in good shape, and my preparation for all of this had served me well.

Once onto the streets of Croton Falls (and eventually Carmel and Mahopac), I got home without incident.

It was quite the day. With more confidence in my car, it wouldn't have been so bad. But I have a story to tell, for sure.

That's why we write and broadcast. To tell stories.

AJ Szymanowski had told me to not be a hero when he decided to not go. In some ways, I suppose I am guilty of being one because of my dedication to calling the games and getting the job done. Conversely, not driving and being cautious to a fault was the best decision I could have made.

I slept well. In my own bed.

I'm grateful to everyone who made sure I would do so.

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