Road Trip

And to think, 10 years ago, the mood was perfect. We drove an hour, holding hands, up to the lake. We ate a tantalizing five-star meal, and he proposed to me beside the roaring stone fireplace underneath the moosehead in a sultry lodge.

Could we recapture that moment- that perfect moment meant for lovers? We decided to try. What more perfect place to celebrate our 10 year anniversary than the same rustic lodge, the same expensive restaurant, and a night away from the kids in a romantic spa-suite.

And so the road-trip began.

My first clue into the hell that was to come was when I called to check our reservations for dinner. I had left a voice-mail earlier in the day securing our time for dinner. When I called again to make sure our time was still available, the hostess giggled.

“You should have no problem getting into the restaurant this evening. Most of our reservations have been cancelled due to the weather,” she said.

“Really? Is it that bad?” I dimly inquired.

“Well, it’s supposed to snow this evening; the worst storm in years,” she replied.

For some reason, I decided that the weather forecast didn’t apply to me and my husband. We were going to enjoy a romantic weekend, and nothing would stop us, not even a less-than-perfect weather report. I ignored the subtle clues the hostes implied and we were on our way.

In a 2004 Mustang GT. The, ahem, perfect off-roading vehicle. Without cables.

The first hour we cruised along just fine. The memories were recaptured; the flirting began. Then suddenly� the flurries began. They were tame enough. We turned off of the main road and began to descend down the mountain toward our destination.

I had to pee. Really bad.

“We can’t stop now,” exclaimed my husband. “We need to get there as soon as possible, so we can maintain traction. What’s our next turnoff?”

I paused, remembering that the directions were still folded neatly on the kitchen island, back at home. We would need to stop and inquire which road we would need to take next.

Praying we would find a house with a light on, a small store, a broken-down vehicle, something-we finally stopped upon a local, grimy fish bait shop.

In my Prada heels, I stepped into the fresh, wet snow, cringing. I trekked into the store and quickly asked for directions. The elderly, greasy-haired, raspy-voiced woman scowled at me and proceeded to give me step by step instructions to our final location.

Pacing back and forth, I interrupted and asked if there was a restroom nearby. Glaring, she held up a bony cigarette-clutched finger and pointed outside to an outhouse, 20 feet away.

With snow-sopped toilet paper on my shoe, I emerged from the outhouse feeling fancy-free. My husband, angered at the extra two minutes I had spent relieving myself, started to speed off, but speeding quickly turned to slipping.

“Damnit,” he cried. “I knew this would happen! We didn’t have time to stop! We’d better be able to make it down this hill with no more interruptions!”

A half-mile later, our worst fears were confirmed. A train of cars was stopped, and the snow was becoming heavier, so heavy, in fact that the tire tracks of yester-minute were quickly disappearing.

A church group was trying to stay together and had decided to stop and wait for the rest of their party, which was delayed.

After spending five minutes too long waiting, we decided to follow the car behind us; a huge truck with the traction necessary to make the final descent. It pulled out from behind us, making tracks that we could surely follow.

It’s amazing how something so peaceful and quiet as snow can craze a sane man. As my husband began to pull around the van in front of us, the car slipped. And slidded.

Our tires hit the small bump marking the end of the side of the road and the beginning of a 100 foot dropoff. Our attempt to follow the truck turned into a whirlwind, terror ride of two miles. We drifted and slid into a parking space at the resort, terrified and wet; egos deflated.

The next morning we awoke to a beautiful, yet disheartening sight of snow. Thinking we wouldn’t be able to leave, I called the front desk to extend our stay one more night. Apparantly everyone else lodging at the hotel had the same thought. There was no room at the inn.

With no place to stay and no cables, my husband left the room to search for a store that carried cables for our precious Mustang, in the hope that we would be able to escape before the flurries grew worse.

I called my mother-in-law, who had stayed the night with my three kids, to break the news.

“Hi! How’s everything going?” I inquired.

Breathlessly, my mother-in-law quipped, “I don’t know how you do this every day! I have so much respect for you and all you do raising these kids. It’s really hard workâÂ?¦ I just don’t know how you survive!”

I could barely manage the words “We’re snowed in and can’t get outâÂ?¦.” when she insanely barked, “OH NO! I just KNOW you’re joking (insert nervous laugh here). You just can’t be serious! What a funny joke that is! Ha-ha! Ok, then, call me when you’re on your wayâÂ?¦ we’ll see you soonâÂ?¦.” . And she hung up.

With thoughts of my kids tying her up and setting her legs on fire, I waited helplessly until my husband arrived with cables. We trekked into the snow to attach them and be on our way.

But, of course, our luck continued. The cables were too small. We spent two hours trying to fit them around the stock tires to no avail.

We loaded up the car and prodded over to the steps of the lodge. Once sexy, rustic, and inviting, the resort now seemed only bleak, grim, and cold. With a useless vehicle, no roof over our head, and an insane asylum waiting for us at home, we sat, waiting for the flurries to let up so that we could make our way home. Our 10-year anniversary adventure had turned into a night of horror.

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