Yesterday I had to drive Dani back to school, 2 weeks early. The play she was in in October was chosen to be performed at a Winter Festival her school is having at some point in the near future. So the cast had to be back early. I think Dani is the only one in her whole building right now.
The reason I had to drive Dani back to school is because, on her way home for Christmas break, she had car trouble on the PA Turnpike. Luckily, we have AAA. Turned out, she ran out of oil and her engine seized. She had to leave her car at a garage, hitched a ride as far as Harrisburg with her roommate (who fortunately hadn't left school yet and was able to stop and get her). I only had to drive as far as Harrisburg to get her, 90 minutes instead of 4.5 hours. So her car is now dead in Breezewood because it'll cost $2300 for a new engine and her dad paid $1500 for the car. The man really needs to stop buying the kids cars on e-bay. For what he spends on the cars and repairs to get them running properly, he could have bought them newer, better used cars. But I digress.
We got everything loaded up, with barely enough room for Dani's friend, Karie to fit in the back (she took the day off from school to go with us. I was glad for the company on the ride home) Off we go! A quick stop at Wawa (like Turkey Hill, Cumberland Farms, Sheetz, etc for those of you not in the NE part of our great country) to fill my gas tank and grab a 20 oz coffee and we were off!
We made pretty good time, except that I had to stop at nearly every rest stop on the turnpike. Getting a large coffee after drinking a cuppa at home is NOT a good idea when you have a long drive ahead of you. This old bladder ain't what it used to be! I counted.... from the time we left the house, I went 5 times by the time we got to Dani's dorm. That probably accounts for why it takes me 4.5 hours to get to her school and it takes Dani 4 hours. Either I stop with the beverages for the trip or I invest in Depends.
Half the trip was on the PA turnpike, which was very light, traffic-wise and the other half was driving up into the mountains. We got off the turnpike at Bedford, drive to Altoona and headed on up to Indiana (PA, not the state). No sooner had we gotten off the turnpike and I saw a sign that warns to use caution, weather is changing. SHIT!!! I checked the weather for Pottstown (dry, clear, partly cloudy) and I checked the weather for Indiana, PA ( snow showers). They LIED!!!!! By the time we got to Altoona, it was snowing. By Ebensburg, the snow was beginning to lay and by Indiana, we were having accumulation. Now those of you in the northern parts of the Northeastern US and the Midwest and Canada, stop laughing at me! I know I'm a wimp! I really hate driving in snow. By winter's end, I'm OK with it, but the first few snowfalls, I'm driving with clenched hands on the wheel and a dry mouth.
Luckily, we arrive without incident. Dani found out her key card wasn't activated. So it's off to Housing to get it activated and back to the dorm. The girls grabbed 2 cart thingies to load her crap on and we brought everything inside This took about an hour. The plan was to unload, go to the grocery store for perishable items (her dad took her shopping for other stuff) The food hall won't be open for another 2 weeks, so Dani is on her own for meals. I really wanted to get moving back down the mountain. Plus, Karie was supposed to be home by 6 pm for dinner. There was no way we were going to get home by 6. It was already 3 pm and we had to drive slower until we got to a lower elevation and no snow. She called her mom to let her know we were going to be later than planned. So I gave Dani $40 to go to the grocery store, which is right behind her dorm and we headed out.
Luckily, my driving skills have improved and we got down the mountain fairly easily. The downhills always scare the crap out of me because if I start sliding, I'm screwed! But that didn't happen! YAY!!! Once we got to Altoona (which is about 100 miles from the school), the snow had stopped and after we got below Lancaster, we didn't even see snow on the grass. When we got on the turnpike, we stopped at a rest stop to eat. And that was the first and only time I used a restroom all the way home!
We arrived home at 8 pm, 2 hours past our planned arrival time. With the snow, it turned out to be a 5 hour drive each way. I sure was tired when I got home! I was glad for the company on the drive too. I'm also very happy that I have today (Wednesday) off from work! By spring, Dani should have another car, so I won't have to be making that trip too often.