Usually I wake up early, whether it is weekday, weekend, or holiday. As usual on second day of January while we were still in Tahoe, I woke up early in the morning. It was still dark outside. I heard dripping sound of water from outside. I thought that water was dripping from the heater of the cottage.
Then I peeked out of the window, but couldn’t see anything in dark. Then I open the front door a little. A bitter cold wind brushed my face.
I looked at the lamp post. It had been snowing since previous evening! Tiny snowflakes were pouring like heavy rain. The little porch in front of the cottage was covered with think layered of cotton soft snow.
I went to the kitchen, and opened the door a little. The backyard porch was white. The first thing struck in my mind, how would we go back. It would be our first road trip on a snowy day on a mountain road. Mr. Man had office next day. The first day he shouldn’t miss, when there was a pile of pending work.
I was really worried, how could we go, though Mr. Man was very cool. I thought that, as time passed, snowing would gradually decease. However, that didn’t happen. When we went to have breakfast from our cottage to the dinning area, our boots went down at least 3 inches below the snow. It was around 9 o’clock when we were ready to leave Tahoe. The last thing was to put chains on our car tires. This was the first time we put chain. Mr. Man had been struggling with the chains in freezing cold. Then he saw the caretaker guy of the lodge.
He requested him to help with the chain. That guy helped a lot to put the chain. Though we bought the chain according to the instruction given in the car booklet, still the chain was bigger than the wheels. That guy manage to fix the chains with the wheels. However, as we started our journey, the car was shaking very much. As soon as we hit the road, we stood behind a huge traffic. There was no way to drive fast. Though the snow plowers were removing snow time to time, but that was not enough. Cars were moving even slower than a sloth. On the top of that few cars were breaking the traffic rules and coming from behind, and tried to enter in front of the line. The sky was dark gray, visibility was almost nothing.
Mr. Man was just following the car in front of him, as there was no other options. On the top of that a chunk of ice got stuck on the wipers, causing more discomfort to us. Due to that chunk, the wipers couldn’t work properly, instead of getting clear vision, it was causing blur vision. Roadside electronic boards were continuously warning about the road condition, and urging to put tire chain. The chains of our car were making too much noise, and the car was shaking.
In the mean time radio news told that road side assistance for chain were available. We decided to check it. The guy who checked the chains, told us, as the chains were bigger than the tires, he needed to cut them to fit, otherwise the chains could damage the tires. We agreed with him, and he cut the chains and fit it with tire costing $40. After that we got rid of the noise, and shaking. At least one concern was over. It had been snowing continuously. Not for a single moment it had stopped. On the top of that strong wind started blowing. The size of snowflakes started getting bigger. We found that we crossed only 10 miles in two hours. Moreover, wind was blowing very hardly.Every time we saw the elevation was decreasing , we were hoping that snowfall will cease. However, instead of stopping, it was increasing as we were moving. When we came down at 3000 feet, the road side board showed that we could take off the chains. But the ordeal was yet to start.
The sky was still over casted. Thick grey cloud covered every where even the cars were almost invisible. The mountains were blanketed with dark cloud, and they were completely invisible from road. Anyway, we pulled our car to the shoulder. The snowstorm again started with full force. I will rather call it blizzard. We were trying take off the chain in hurry. It was difficult to stand outside in the snow. The chain on the passenger side came off very easily. When I asked Mr. Man to turn the wheel in order to take off the chain on driver side, he turned the wheel on wrong side. I was standing outside, in the blizzard started, and Mr. Man was not turning the wheel. I went to him to ask why he had not been not turning the wheel? He dropped the bomb. The steering wheel got jammed. None of us ever faced that. We had no idea how to unlock it. We sought help from the passers by. To our utter despair, no one could help us. At last Mr. Man called the insurance company. They took fifteen minutes to understand the situation. Then we were told to wait for the tow truck. Another fifteen minutes passed, no phone call from the insurance company. Mr. Man called then again. To add more distress, we were told none of the tow company could come, so they tried to arrange police. Almost one hour passed, no help or noting we got. At last a guy from the tow company called, and told that they would come from Auburn, which is 20 mile from the site. It would take more than two hours to reach. Mr. Man explained him the situation, then he came with the solution. With his instruction, he could unlock the steering. No, it didn’t end here. Then we found that the car was not starting. The battery ran out of charge. We didn’t have any remote battery. Mr. Man desperately started asking the passers by. One of them came with a jumpstart. Then we couldn’t find the switch to open the bonnet of the car. That good Samaritan, himself found out the switch. He backed he big pickup truck amid traffic, and charged the battery. He was the real angel to us. I don’t know his name. I don’t know him. How much I thank him that will be nothing to his help. At last after 2 hours we could again start our joinery. Though it was pitch dark outside, at least the blizzard stopped, and we could move. We reached home at 8:30 at night. At last the ordeal came to an end.