How was your December 30th this year? What did you spend it doing? Were you making preparations for New Year's Eve? Did you go see a movie? Did you go ice-skating? I'm guessing that there are many answers to this question -- too many to count. Me? I spent my December 30th with my family... trapped on top of a snowy mountain in our car.
You see, it all started when my mom made the suggestion that we all do something fun together that day. It was a really nice idea, actually. A couple months ago, my mom got a job, so now both of my parents work and we have a lot less family time. We all decided that this was a great idea, and we decided to spend the day playing in the snow in the San Bernardino mountains. There was a nice blanket of snow, and a forecast of clear skies. There was even a cool place where we would be able to ride down hills in inner tubes -- sounds awesome, right?! Well, I wouldn't know.
That morning, we packed up the car. I was even thinking that we had overpacked; we had more jackets than people, extra changes of clothes and shoes for if there were any accidents, sunscreen for the glare, gloves and sleds. It certainly didn't seem like we would be short of any supplies when we were up there.
We began our trek, expecting a 90-mile car ride of an hour and a half. My dad put in his favorite John Mellencamp CD. When that was done, he put in his favorite Jimmy Eat World CD. Then he put in his favorite Oingo Boingo CD. By the time we were halfway though his favorite Old 97's CD, not only had we been in the car for upwards of four hours, and were basically at a standstill behind what seemed like a mile of cars.
We trudged and inched up the mountain, until finally, we reached the summit. There, we saw it. Snow! We hadn't seen snow in years! But you know what we didn't see? Parking space. It seemed like everyone had the same idea as we did. So we headed straight for the inner tube place... that was closed. =My dad suggested we go skiing, but my brothers and I don't know how to, and there wasn't enough time to learn. On top of that, my mom had a bit of a creeping premonition that we were going to get stuck. The drive back down was going to be just as slow as the drive up, so we decided to just play in the snow while the car inched along.
It was fun for a little bit, but then things took a turn for the worse. It started snowing heavily, and started to get on the roads. All this while, a policeman on a loudspeaker announced that the main road back was closed, so we had to take the back way. The icy, winding back way.
To top that off, the snowfall had made the roads slippery. And although we had packed very heavily, there was one important thing that we had but did not pack: chains for our tires. After all, it wasn't supposed to snow. So we started slowly ambling down the mountain only to slip and slide into the side of the mountain and find ourselves stuck. All the while, other cars were doing the same thing- slipping and sliding around us, and nearly smashing into our car.
We found ourselves getting into a good rhythm. Slowly slide down the mountain, staying away from the cliff until we hit the mountain and get stuck. Then get unstuck either by hitting the gas or pushing the car and repeat the cycle. It got dark. Our car was covered in snow. But we kept moving forward, and we eventually made it down.
Instead of cooking up the pot roast we had planned to have that night, we ended up eating dinner in a bizarre pizza place in the middle of nowhere known as "The Pizza Place." The ridiculous Hawaiian decorations, little waterfall, and mood lighting were strange, but the food wasn't half bad. We soon picked up speed when we hit the highway, and got home at an hour that wasn't ridiculous at all. But boy, were we tired.
It was a long day. Honestly, there were moments when I was terrified for our safety, going down that mountain in the dark. We didn't get to play much in the snow like we wanted. But... we were together. At dinner, I felt so much more like I was part of a family than I've felt recently -- and it felt good. Even though it was a disaster of a day, it was an adventure. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.