Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Home again, home again, jiggity, jig

Well, not much on the jiggity part.

What is normally a four to four and half hour drive took me nearly six hours today. On the northern end I had a surprise snow storm to contend with. A prediction of one inch turned into six on the ground and more falling every minute. Add the 25-30 mph winds and near white-out existed on the Route 28 from Middleville to Herkimer. I stayed a reasonable distance behind another pickup truck that was following a logger load that was following a plow. Our side of the road was sloppy but blacktop was visible. The opposite side was under a couple of inches of snow.

As is usual, the NY Thruway had little or no snow on it once I got there. There were a few spots where it was wet with blowing snow but the snowfall remained north of me. South bound past Albany and there wasn’t even any snow on the side of the road. I could see some up on the Catskills as I drove past, but there was nothing at road level. Everything moved smoothly until I got through the tollbooths just south of the Harriman exit.

I had seen the flashing yellow lights on the signs about radio messages but, after a full year of hearing about construction on the Tappan Zee Bridge, I no longer tune in the message. I should have this time. A serious accident seven miles south of the tollbooths had two lanes closed and had created a bumper-to-bumper backup some five miles long. It took me over an hour to negotiate that. When I saw what had happened, I was just happy to be on all four wheels. Two vehicles had collided. A white coupe was facing northbound in the southbound slow lane with its front end pretty well smashed in. The second vehicle, an SUV, lay on its roof in the center lane. By the time I reached that point anyone involved in the accident had been removed. Several police cars and a tow truck sat in the closed lanes as they tried to figure out how to remove the SUV without spilling any fuel or other fluids. At least two news crews, including one TV station from the lower Hudson region were also parked along the shoulder.

Once through the bottleneck, the remainder of the trip went smoothly.

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