A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the frustrating trip I had to Ohio. I called it Part II because it was the second frustrating trip I have had to Ohio. Here is the story of the first. (And again, I don’t really hate Ohio. Really.)
When I first arrived in Columbus, it seemed like everything was going to go smoothly. It was December, but there was no snow and the night was crisp and beautiful. I found the highway quickly, and had my MapQuest directions in hand (before I had a GPS) as I started the two-hour drive. I followed them perfectly, and was feeling good after the first hour of driving. Things went downhill from there though. I got lost, wandering around the hills that border Ohio and West Virginia. I stopped to ask for directions, and the gas station clerk seemed shocked I was taking the route that I was. I ended up driving back and forth over the river, finally calling the hotel in desperation. The woman told me where to go, and then my phone went dead. (I also did not have a car phone charger. Of course.) Praying that I would remember the specifics, I kept going. Three and a half hours after I left the airport, I arrived at the hotel. As I was going to bed that night I thought, tomorrow will be fine as long as it doesn’t snow.
Famous last words. I woke up to a world covered in white fluff. Now remember, I am from Texas. We don’t have snow in Texas, and if we ever get an ice storm my city shuts down. I do NOT know how to drive in snow. Naively hopeful, I called my contact to see if the office was closed. She laughed. After getting ready (and praying just a little) I left for the office. Luckily, it was very close and I managed to get there without incident.
After successfully completing my meetings, I left to head back to the airport, with the advice and warnings I had received about driving in snow circling my head. Go slowly. Don’t slam on the breaks. If you skid, turn into the skid. Lots of room between you and the car in front of you. Etc. I left early, and had five hours before my flight. This turned out to be very lucky because it took me four and a half hours to get to the airport. I drove along at 15-20 mph, down snowy highways and small mountain roads. At one point we were delayed for an hour because of an accident. It was in. sane. Remembering, of course, that I don’t know how to drive on the snow. So I was extremely tense during the entire drive, and when I finally reached Columbus was incredibly grateful. Until I missed my exit.
At this point I freaked out. I was exhausted, tense, and SO ready to get on that plane and head home. When I called my company’s travel department for help, the very nice woman calmed me down and looked up the directions to the airport from where I was. “I’m never going back to Ohio!” I told her. “If I call you guys and tell you I have to go there, you say no!” Probably not my best moment.
I finally got to the airport. My flight was supposed to leave in fifteen minutes, but, in my first stroke of luck for the day, was delayed. The second stroke of luck was getting my upgrade. It’s amazing what a first class seat and a glass of wine can do for the psyche. When I finally did make it home, I crawled into bed. Right before I passed out I thought, I am never going back there.
And I managed to avoid Ohio for almost three years……