My Scariest Ride Ever

So, here it is an icy, snowy night on an empty road and I was heading toward the Wilbur Cross Parkway which the governor had already declared closed to all but emergency vehicles!

I would have written this earlier, but the Foxes are without power. That of course means we’re without heat and as an extra bonus water! No cell service either.

I left work last night around 11:00 PM. The roads in Hartford were icy, but there was no problem getting around.

Unfortunately I had to get off I-91 early and was forced to take the Berlin Turnpike. There began the scariest ride of my life!

So, here it is an icy, snowy night on an empty road and I was heading toward the Wilbur Cross Parkway which the governor had already declared closed to all but emergency vehicles!

For much of the trip the lights were out. The heavy snow reflected my headlights back to me limiting my visibility.

The Berlin Turnpike was where I first began to see downed trees. A few times I was forced far left as 85% of the roadway was blocked. Finally I came to a tree fully blocking the road. I doubled back northbound in the deserted southbound lane.

I called Helaine. I was tense. She was good company.

At some point I got on the Wilbur Cross. I’m only guessing at this since all the highway signs were snow covered and any sense of familiarity was gone, blanketed in white.

All I could think of was the reason the governor had closed the road. Trees had fallen. Trees were still going to fall. I didn’t want one to fall on me. It was a real threat in a blinding snowstorm.

I switched back to I-91 in Meriden and drove uneventfully to Hamden… at 25 mph.

I have written before about Todd Street. It’s the connection from the flatland of Hamden to our little hill. Helaine wanted me to avoid its twists and turns, so I went to the next road over. It’s wider and a little less steep than Todd.

I drove under three felled trees somehow propped up enough for a car to pass. The fourth had the road fully blocked.

I went back to Todd and gave it another try. Again I drove under felled but leaning trees before pulling up our driveway.

We’ve got five or six large limbs that will need to be cleared. One is leaning against a rear window, but otherwise seems to have done no damage.

Before going to sleep (and while we still had cell service) I called United Illuminating. I worked through the automated voice tree until the disembodied voice told me we’d have power by 6:40 AM.


After waking today I checked again. This time we were told power would be restored before 3:43 PM.

Why bother.

At this point UI says virtually all their customers will have lights by Monday evening. Beyond that they’re not making (or breaking) any more promises.

10 thoughts on “My Scariest Ride Ever”

  1. Yikes! That must have been a seriously tense ride home. I’ve been on Todd in good weather and I don’t like it!
    We were on the Merritt around 2pm and it was very messy then. Shortly after that there were reports of downed trees. Cancelled our evening plans and watched a movie.
    Thankfully we have power and only three limbs from one very big tree came down.
    Glad you made it home safe – gotta love the Subaru!

    1. I am currently driving a 2012 Legacy 4-door All Wheel Drive sedan. It held the road beautifully including my climb up snowy Todd Street. When I had to stop to avoid the downed tree on the Berlin Turnpike the Anti-Lock Braking system stopped me quickly without skidding.

      Of course I respect bad weather. Even with everything Subaru puts in the car I drove slowly and with caution. Safety starts with the driver.

      Obviously, I am Premier Subaru’s paid spokesperson, but I do feel Subaru is the right car when you’re the person who has to get to work even in the snow! Stop by in Branford. They’d love you to try one out.

  2. Three words. Wired in Generator. Spent Irene providing water and in one case, hot showers to neighbors who needed a helping hand.
    Mom thought it was the greatest thing since sliced white bread to be able to be self sufficient during a tramatic event. Weren’t you a boy scout??? “be prepared”??? No?, oh……maybe next time…..

  3. Left a swim meet in East Hartford at 6. Lots of downed trees and powerlines forced us to take a different route, too. Had no idea the Wilbur Cross was even closed, but a tell-tale sign was that the road hadn’t been treated in quite a while. Drove my 4WD Sienna in low gear down that big hill after the DOT. Frightening ride! Glad we all made it home safe and sound!

  4. Geoff, I have lived in Hamden my whole life so I know exactly the roads you speak of. I lived in Mt Carmel for years and were surrounded by trees. I am reading this a picturing the whole scenario step by step. I am so sorry you had such a scary ride home but I am definitely very happy you made it home safely and in one piece. I sincerely hope you have power back by tomorrow. I was without power for days during Irene, but I would much rather be out power then than now with it being so cold outside. Good Luck I will be thinking of you

  5. 3:43 pm on Monday sounds a lot better than “a week or more” which is CL&P’s current projection/mantra! We are supposed to be living in the era of technology….makes one wonder what they are doing with all those rate hikes they asked for in the midst of Irene?

  6. North Guilford. No power – again. Generator and air card allow me to do this, but no heat or water. One table lamp. If we turn on two space heaters, it blows the line. Will look for another cord today. Fortunately, we belong to the Y, so we can clean up.

  7. Geoff, your ride home sounds so scary and unsafe–why not stay over at a Hartford hotel and return home after the snow ended Sunday ? Hope you get your power back quickly.

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