Here it comes. There's a reason why millions of folks have flooded the southwest, Florida and southern California, while the population of Vermont is 623,908 (as of 2006 - we've probably grown by 11 people since then.)
The reason was on display this morning as I drove north on 1-89 with Irene, a Plainfield woman, en route to Burlington Airport. Last night, the weather-people were warning of sloppy - icy, sleety, rainy, snowy - conditions in the morning, so I had called Irene to move up the pickup time.
Things were good, if not great, until we came close to Waterbury at around 7:30am. Then it deteriorated. With alacrity.
This in-between time of year, late fall/early winter, is the worst. The friggin' worst. The culprit are those darn temperatures hovering around freezing. In the space of a few miles, the roads were coated with icy snow or rainy ice or snowy sleet, or . . .
And, of course, many people had forgotten how to drive in these conditions. Which is understandable; it has been - let's see - a whole eight months. The traffic slowed to about 40 mph, and cars began to appear in the meridians and off the shoulders.
A half-mile past the Richmond exit, the traffic began to slow to a stop.Thinking quickly (I have been doing this for one thousand years), I Huey-ed back south at one of the state trooper highway breaks. (Yes, yes - that's illegal.) Within minutes, we heard on the radio that a tractor trailer had spilled blocking both northbound lanes, and the highway was now closed north of exit 11. So my instincts were right on the money.
We got off at Richmond and headed west on Route 2 in the heavy rush hour commute. In a half-mile, Route 2 came to a stop. Reassuring my customer that she would - I repeat, would - make her flight, we scurried back and got on Route 117 towards Essex Junction. As we got within a few miles of 5 Corners - you guessed it - the traffic again began to slow to a stop.
Pulling out all the stops, I took the left onto North Williston Road (you can get out your map at this point and follow along), and then, in a few miles, the right onto Mountain View Drive, which took me onto Industrial Avenue. Praise be the Traffic Gods, but the traffic was moving!
Onto Williston Road and the right onto Airport Drive, and we made it to Burlington International with 45 minutes left to spare. My customer was quite impressed. I am now Irene's "hero."
On a Thanksgiving note, I'd like to express my thanks to Seven Days for sponsoring the "Yo, Hackie!" blog, and for all of you readers who have clicked on for these past seven months or so. Thanks especially to all of you who have taken the time to write in with comments. I continue to have a ball writing this thing, and I hope to remain interesting at best, or, at the least, entertaining . . .
peace out, jernigan pontiac