A few times now I have mentioned our Valentine’s Day was a one-of-a-kind experience but it was until now I have gotten around to retelling the story of how we were barricaded on Valentine’s Day by the police. Read the entire story on the link.
So you might be asking what happened in Indiana that could have led to barricades on Valentine’s Day. No there were not a bunch of angry spouses going on a rampage due to bad gifts. Rather, Mother Nature was angry and showing her strength on this particular day. One should never underestimate Mother Nature! So we left on a cloudy/sunny mixture weather day with no signs of blizzard conditions that were out of the ordinary this time of year in Indiana. Remember we have been living down south for a few years now so we aren’t used to the normal signs that maybe others saw, but by the sights of the busy roadways we were not the only ones. There was a bit of mention that roads could have a few visibility issues in the afternoon but no mention of blizzard conditions by any of the weather forecasters in the area. So we ventured out on a 45 minute drive for a little shopping. Then this happened:
If you are unfamiliar with Indiana, there is a major toll road called 80/90 which travels through a few states. It is the fastest method of transportation besides an airplane from Michigan and Indiana to Chicago, Illinois. So as you can expect it is a very busy roadway. We actually chose this route because it is normally plowed the best so the roads are not as icy as others in the area. Unfortunately farmers have been removing the trees along this road for years causing wind gusts to blow at dangerous knots towards unknowing cars on the roads. It is the open fields that causes this type of wind-blowing snow across the fields onto the roads creating zero visibility.
Hence, we were driving at a normal snail pace and letting others around us go at dangerous speeds. Note: It is safest to never stop on a zero visibility roadway but turn your hazard lights on and snail pace along. This way when someone comes up behind your vehicle, they can see you and not ram into you. Unfortunately, some of the others drivers are not aware of this method and/or try to drive to fast and cause an accident when the winds kick up again. These trucks in the photo above actually were going a bit too fast but did not cause the accident. They slid off the road to safe people’s lives instead of hitting cars on the road. We sat for 3 hours at this road accident waiting for emergency vehicles to get to the accident since they could not see either. Dangerous for everyone!
There was a lot of tension in our car during the entire trip because of the weather conditions. Plus driving past a bunch of cars off the road did not help the situation at all. When we got to the first exit in La Porte, Indiana we got on our favorite vegan restaurant search engine, Happy Cow. Amazingly enough, we had stopped in a city that had a vegan option! Remember this is the middle of no where in Indiana (farm country). The restaurant is called Mucho Mas and is owned by someone that is vegan! We got to talk to the owner and he was thrilled to see there were more vegans coming in even though he said there were a good amount that come in when driving past from Chicago. It was a true blessing to find this restaurant since we were starving.
Finally we were finished eating and we went back out of the road because the weather seemed to be slowing down in the city. By the time we drove the 6 miles out of the city limits to highway 20, we were stuck again with another accident at an intersection to our way home. It was here we sat for another 2 hours to learn the police had installed a State of Emergency and had blocked all roads. Never had I seen police cars barricade roads so people could not drive on them. It was surreal. So we had driven 6 miles to sit for 2 hours to be redirected back the 6 miles to fight for a hotel room. All rooms were completely packed. We had booked a room with Holiday Inn through Hotels.com and when we arrived we were told the website had been doing that the entire day and they were booked – there was no room for us. We had paid and received our confirmation email of the website taking our money. Thankfully as we were trying to figure out what we were going to do since the roads were barricaded and the hotels were booked, a customer called and cancelled. The hotel staff member gave us the room. She was surprised because it was their honeymoon special room complete with a spa inside the room. It was such a nice surprise after a long day. Unfortunately our furry babies were stuck at home alone with no one to take them outside to use the bathroom. Since we just moved we don’t know anyone in the area. They turned out to be okay but we were nervous the entire time.
The next morning we got up really early to try to see if the barricades were removed and thankfully they were and most people were sleeping in after the terrifying night. We found out hundreds of people were not allowed to leave the city and had slept in their cars in negative degrees and/or slept in the high school that was opened up for this emergency. We are just so thankful we got a room and that we were safe to make it home alive. Not everyone made it home alive and we are praying in thanksgiving we made it, but we pray for those that did not.
So this was our Valentine’s Day experience that we now call our “Gilligan’s Island 2-Hour tour”. We will always remember this day and also that we are thankful we are together and made it home that terrifying weekend in one piece. There is only One that could have made us safe that day and we are praying in thanksgiving to Him.