Traveling through the Blizzard of ’09

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has nothing on this story.

Twelve hours trapped in a car with your entire family is bad enough, but just imagine it being 48 hours while in one of the biggest blizzards to hit the northeast — The Blizzard of ´09.

What was supposed to be a good old-fashioned trip to Philadelphia for Christmas turned into days of being deserted in negative degree weather with no money. You don’t know true terror until you have to sleep in the back of a car with your older brother who convinced you that you had frostbite.

Halfway through the ride was when we knew something was wrong — snow was coming down inches by the hour. But it was too late to turn around so we went for it.

This was a mistake.

It’s all a big blur from here but what I remember was a bunch of chaos. The roads were closed, accidents were everywhere, and we still had five hours to go. It was around nine at night when we decided to find a hotel, but, you guessed it — everything was sold out.

Except one place, the place of horror and despair. Motel 8.

My dad trudged through the piled up snow to get a room as my mother, me and my brother waited. As time ticked away, mom was convinced he had been stabbed by another person looking for a warm bed. On top of that, a car parked directly behind us, blocking us in, so my mother, at her breaking point, got out of our car and screamed at the poor soul, ¨It’s not a (adult language) parking space!¨

Needless to say, he moved.

Eventually, dad came back, unscathed, and revealed our key to our glorious ¨smoking¨ room, and we made our way over. I’ve never seen so many people at a Motel 8. But, despite the smell of cigarettes destroying our lungs, we had beds to sleep in, so we refused to complain.

I thought that by the next day we would be back on the road again, but we were not. The snow was up to eight feet now, yet we didn’t plan on staying there another night, so onward we went.

Over the next few days we went from one rundown hotel to the next. My brother and I played in the snow outside of the closed Pizza Hut as my dad cleared off people’s car in exchange for a six pack of beer. Tis the season!
It wasn’t a terrible experience, but honestly I think that trip sparked the upcoming divorce of my parents. Nothing like a week of being trapped with your family to realize you don’t agree on parenting styles!

And while we didn´t get in until the day after Jesus’s birthday, I still got my presents so I was happy.

I don’t have many memories of our family together, but that vacation will always be my favorite to look back on. And even though I was convinced I had hypothermia for a solid day and a half, I’m glad it happened.