Now They Tell Us
A winter weather advisory went out around 10:00am this morning. It warned of freezing rain, slippery roads, glare ice and to drive with caution. That information would have been helpful before I took Abby out to the bus stop this morning.
It was a typical morning in our household except for the fact Abby was in the shower too long. Rush her as I may it still wasn’t fast enough to make it to the bus stop before the bus had departed.
Both Abby and I were astonished to see the empty spot where the bus normally parks. The driver had asked us if we would be riding in the morning to which we replied, "Yes." That should go without saying when you get dropped off at the bus stop at 4:45pm you most likely will still be at the end of the Trail 13 hours later.
We were at most 4 minutes late getting out there but the fresh tracks in the snow confirmed he had already been there and gone. It should have dawned on me the roads were slippery when I didn’t come to a stop at the stop sign before turning out onto the Gunflint Trail. But Abby interrupted my thinking when she said, "That shower just felt too good to get out this morning." What can you say to that? "Well, that’s good, I’m glad you enjoyed it."
The Gunflint Trail was covered in fresh snow and we could hear a strange noise as we drove. "Is that rain I can hear on the roof?" "I don’t know, it kinda sounds like it." Abby replied. With wipers on and spits of sleet hitting my windshield it should have been a tell-tale clue the roads would be slippery, but it still didn’t enter my mind.
Finally we could see the lights of the school bus in the distance. Obviously the bus could see our headlights in the rear view mirror but he needed to be at the next stop on time so he continued on his way. Eight miles from our stop is the next stop and even though no one got on at the stop he was kind enough to wait the minute for us to get there.
I put on the brakes about an 1/8 of a mile from the back of the bus, well maybe 1/16 but it should have been plenty of time to come to a stop. Obviously I hadn’t realized just how slippery it was and with anti-lock brakes engaging we slid, slid and continued to slide until I had to pull into the other lane and come to a stop right next to the bus in the lane designated for oncoming traffic. It was a good thing traffic was light on the Gunflint this morning or it could have been bad.
With Abby safely on the bus and me on my way back up the Trail I tested the road conditions a couple of times. Yep, it was slippery all over, you just don’t realize it until you have to come to a stop. Or until you see an advisory posted four hours later.