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The Worst Traffic Day -- EVER

Tuesday ended up being the single worst traffic day in Atlanta.  That's not official or anything, but I'm willing to bet.

Like we often do in the Georgia winters, we had a threat of snow for Tuesday afternoon.  95% of the time nothing happens and, if it does, it's nothing to call home to mom about.  Once every few years, we find ourselves shut down because of icy conditions that make it impossible to get anywhere.  I'm one of those people who never believe the weathermen when they say it's going to snow, because it usually doesn't...cut to Tuesday around noon.

It started snowing.  A lot.  And then it started sticking.  And then, around 1-ish, every school in metro Atlanta let out along with every business causing a mass exodus of what is estimated at 1,000,000 cars.  That's one MILLION.  On roads that can barely handle our normal rush hour traffic.  In conditions that were dismal.  Snow quickly turns to ice in the South and because of such infrequent events, our government doesn't deem it necessary to have salt trucks and plows at the ready.  So now we hear a bunch of laughing from our neighbors in the North and a bunch of blaming in the city because we have to blame someone right? 

Here's the thing that bothers me about all the blame for what happened:  it was a disaster that got out of hand quickly and we, as a metro AREA were not equipped.  If you aren't from Atlanta, you need to understand that when we say, "the Atlanta metro area", we're talking about 14 different counties.  Most of those counties encompass the city where many people work.  So, when they work IN town and live OUTSIDE of town, you can imagine what that does to traffic.  

I currently work about 7 miles from home with my commute being anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 depending on traffic.  This was a screen shot of Google maps at about only got worse from there.  Ever see the traffic maps have BLACK as a color?  They did on Tuesday.

After weighing my options of sitting in traffic, I decided to wait it out because surely it would die down after all these morons got to where they needed to be.  In the meantime, I played in the snow and bogged my Instagram account with fun pictures and videos because, why not?!

Another reason why a bike shop full of beer is a GOOD thing, y'all.

The next few hours were full of my getting in touch with my husband who got in with the first flow of traffic.  It took him 2 hours to drive 2 miles, but he made it and I felt good knowing someone was with our Frank.  I wavered all afternoon with continuing to wait it out, ride a mountain bike home or get in the car and sit in inevitable traffic.  Luckily, my boss showed up and was hanging around during all of this.  At about 7:30 that night, we grabbed some food at a restaurant around the corner from the shop.  They were open because the staff who had been there since 4am weren't able to leave.  They were all smiles and allowing the people who were on foot to come in a get warm.  

At about 8, I was still debating on driving home.  Then I saw a news clip of a poor car stuck in what looked like a normal intersection just spinning it's wheels.  Nope.  Not making it home tonight.  Now what?  We decided to walk to my boss's home who lives about 3 miles from our shop.  It was a shorter walk than my place and I was in good and safe company.  We borrowed some displayed gloves and hats and ventured out.  

Let's just say we were glad to not be in a car.  We passed hundreds of cars just sitting in lines and you could tell those poor people had been in that position for hours.  We saw first hand how scary it was out there.  People were stuck because the wet roads had turned to ice.  They were abandoning their cars literally in the middle of the street after spinning out on sheets of ice.  There were people bundled up in whatever they had walking to who knows where.  Many people ended up sleeping in their cars or stopping at grocery stores and restaurants for sleep.  Kids were stuck in their schools overnight because their parents weren't able to get to them.  Y'all, it took some people 20 hours to get home when it would normally take an hour on a bad day.

Preventing a car from spinning out and getting it to a safe place to park!

The beginning of our trek...very happy to have made the decision NOT to drive!
I was thanking my lucky stars to have people with me (strength in numbers!) and a warm place to go.  Three miles in ice wasn't so bad after hearing that a baby had to be delivered in the back of a car on the same highway I would have taken home...

On thing we saw that literally warmed my heart were people who had made it home, but where at the entrances to their neighborhoods handing out hot cocoa, water, snacks, toilet paper, etc.  We even ran across a father and daughter who had a little bonfire.  We got warm and were offered yummy hot cocoa.  Thank goodness for them!

We made after a couple of hours and stops along the way.  We spent 2 nights at my boss' and had a good time.  They had plenty of food, a warm fire and 2 adorable little ones.  It was like a little camping trip!  My heart goes out to the people who had to sleep in their cars, their offices or other random places.  My thanks go out to the emergency workers who were undoubtedly working their tails off while also worrying about their own families.  

So...I'm safe, I have a good story to tell and I'm happy to be home!


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