Snowpocalypse Travel

The holidays in Chapel Hill were lovely. But the trip back left something to be desired. I want to try something out, though, in telling this story. I’m doing to tell it from an optimistic point of view in an attempt to remember it more positively, instead of as an awful experience, one that is full of challenges I met and plenty of dumb luck.

My flight was originally scheduled to leave Monday the 27th in the afternoon, around 5:30, and arrive at LGA at 7:15. My holiday with the family in Chapel Hill was lovely and I enjoyed seeing everyone, especially Ellie, the little sister. I got some real quality time with both my parents, which was really wonderful. And then the weather chose the most interesting time to snow a lot. It snowed first in Chapel Hill, where we got a fantastic 3-6 inches of snow–perfect because it coated everything in white but also didn’t disturb too much because it was cleared easily from streets and melted quickly.

And then the storm moved north, dumping massive amounts of snow on New York City and the LaGuardia Airport. Stir in winds of over 60mph and you have the perfect storm for planes not being able to land. So my flight was cancelled. Which meant I got to spend some more time with Ellie! I called the airline to reschedule the flight, and the soonest they would be able to get me to New York would have been Thursday, the 30th. I was a bit shocked, but agreed to a flight that would get in then at 12am (so I guess technically the 31st). I was excited about getting to spend some more time with the family and just to relax, though it meant using 3 more days of vacation than planned. But I emailed work and everything was going to be fine.

I still was open to other means of transportation to get home a bit sooner. A couple of people suggested looking at trains, which I did. They were sold out. And then my mother mentioned that her cousin was driving to Baltimore the next morning and that perhaps I could take a bus from DC. I looked at the site for cheap bus tickets and found one trip that was not totally booked. I requested a seat after my mom’s cousin said it was totally fine for me to come with her.

The next morning, mom’s cousin came by to pick me up and we arrived in DC an hour late, but still an hour before my bus was scheduled to leave. I got some food and headed to the massive line of people waiting for buses. It was just before 4:30, bus scheduled to leave at 5pm, which I thought was pretty perfect. Then I heard this one young woman mention she was supposed to be on the 3pm bus. I braced for a tough wait.

I made some friends in the bus line and hunkered down, relieved I had picked up some food for myself. We waited. And waited. And waited. And finally, around 6:45pm, our bus arrived. I pushed to the front of the line by the bus, which had become a jumbled mess despite the fact that I’d been at the front of the line waiting, and therefore had been waiting the longest. I managed to get the 3rd last seat on the bus, and we were of. The driver got us home in just over 4 hours–pretty good, especially considering we stopped at one point. And we arrived in snowy New York City around 11pm. I felt (somehow, magically) up for taking the subway (and a bit avoidant of the cabs since there was lots of ice on the roads), so I managed to get home for free (or for what I’d already payed).

After a 14-hour travel day, and about 27 hours later than planned, I arrived home. Thank goodness for multiple forms of transportation. And not getting stuck on a plane, in an airport or in a subway car on an elevated track overnight (with no bathroom, food, or heat). It could be so much worse.