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After our amazing trip to Washington, we had to drive home. I checked the weather report, and saw that a big snowstorm was coming, to arrive in DC at around noon and in NJ at around 3PM. So I made a plan: we’d leave DC at around 11, which would mean arriving in NJ at around 3, or a little bit later if we stopped for lunch. Perfect. It meant cutting short a visit with my friend from elementary school, but she understood.

The snow started at 10. By the time I left my friend’s house, we were in a full-on blizzard.

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Photo by the Kid. Don’t photo while driving, folks!

I had the Kid call KPD, and he said we’d be out of the blizzard within an hour no problem! So we pressed on.

It was hard driving. I would get frustrated when I was stuck behind another car driving at 25 mph, but then when I was free to drive, I found that faster speeds were unsafe. It was a constant judgment call between driving in a lane with (and therefore close to) other cars, or staking out my own space in an unplowed portion of road. Visibility was terrible (did you see the picture?) and my wipers were icing up, which meant I had to hold my head at different heights depending on where the clear area of windshield was.

After an hour and a half, we called KPD again. “Are you sure we’re almost out of this? We haven’t gone far!” At this point he conceded that he hadn’t anticipated our driving at 25mph on the highway, and we were now smack in the middle of the storm, which was moving along at about the same pace we were. But, he said, it couldn’t be that bad, and we had an event to go to that night for the Kid’s sunday school, so we should press on.

I saw a sign that a rest stop with services was 15 miles away, and I thought I’d stop there to assess the situation, get some food, and maybe ask advice about nearby hotels. When a half hour passed and I hadn’t made it to the rest stop, I was losing heart. Then I had to pull over to clear off my wipers. I jumped out into the cold on the side of the highway, instructing the Kid to stay in the car, no matter what. I cleaned the ice off the wipers and the windshield as best I could with my bare hands, the wind whipping ice crystals into my eyes as cars crept by on a normally packed and speedy Route 95. Ten minutes later, my windshield was icing up again. I had had it.

By the time I saw an exit sign, the Kid had fallen asleep in the back seat. A minute later, I saw a sign indicating that there were hotels at the exit. I had to try. I told the Kid to wake up and Google “Holiday Inn” on my phone. “We’re going back?” she asked. “No,” I replied. “The sign says there’s a Holiday Inn at this stop, and I don’t want to make a wrong turn in this weather.

Luckily, the Holiday Inn was just off the exit. It had rooms. It had heat. And there was a Jamaican restaurant across the parking lot where we could get lunch and order take out for dinner. We even had a fridge and microwave in our room.

Dinner (top) and dessert (bottom)

Dinner (top) and dessert (bottom)

After lunch, we waded through the snow back to our hotel and settled down to an evening of Chopped. It wound up being kind of fun, even though we missed the Sunday School event.

The best part? In the morning, we went down to the lobby for breakfast, and found this:

Yes. Yes I do want one at home.

Yes. Yes I do want one at home.

This is the best invention known to humanity. Push a button, and it poops out a pancake. To think, if it hadn’t been for an early blizzard, I would never have known it existed.

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