Leaving in Florida, especially the Orlando area, the chances of seeing snow is very rare. It usually is a timing and even then the teeny tiny specks melt the moment they touch something.
There are no words for hearing your little ones ask, “Is it going to snow for Christmas?”
“No, honey.” I sigh, this is the same question the 7 year old has asked every year since he started talking. “We live in Florida, Central Florida. It doesn’t snow here at all.”
“Awww…” The pouty bottom lip, “Why don’t we live where it snows?”
I give a wry smile, “Because Daddy’s allergic to snow… and cold.”
“Ah.” He groans, “I forgot.”
This is a conversation that has repeated itself a million times over the last couple of years between me and my oldest. You can imagine our surprise that 2018 would bring on the most Southern push for a Snow Storm that would drop snow at a cousin’s house. We had debated on making a trip that weekend, but here it was Wednesday and the storm was pushing into Florida. I’m at my day job and 4 inches has dropped in Beaufort, South Carolina at my husband’s cousins house.
My phone rings, it’s the husband, “Can you get out of work early?”
“Yea, why?” I was perplexed by the question. “Did you see Gary’s picture of snow?”
“Oh yea,” he was giggling, trouble was afoot. “I got off early today, we don’t have anymore work for today. Let’s go for a car ride.”
“A car ride? Where?” At this point I put him on speaker phone so my Mother-in-law could hear his answer.
“TO SEE SNOW!” He exclaimed, “Grab the kids, come get me, we’ll grab a bite to eat and start heading up i-95 to find snow for the kids!”
We started laughing, this was a demand, not a question. Hanging up, I had agreed to the impromptu plan: we would head North in search of snow. They kids were a little confused as we arrived home and started changing them into thick outfits, piling extra coats between them in the back seat and even a few blankets.
Before I knew it, there I was behind the wheel driving North on I-95. We figured we would be headed for the cousin’s house, stay an hour and then head home. Yea, a 6+ hour drive there and back, because we had to work in the morning, but it was a once in a lifetime chance to let the kids see real snow. Not that melty speckled crap we get once every 4 years.
When we left Orlando, the temperature gauge on the car had read 51°F. As we left Daytona behind and were ever getting closer to Jacksonville, the car beeped and warns of icy conditions at 39°F. I was impressed, didn’t know my car did that! Jacksonville was 29°F on the south side and 27°F on the north side. The kids and husband were getting excited. We were well within snow making temperatures now.
We crossed the Florida-Georgia line, and then it got real. The trees shifted from green, because we have been warm all Winter for them to stay green, to white icy florets walling both sides of the highway. It was the strangest sensation. I had seen ice on trees, but not trees encased in ice with green leaves combating the white frosty bits. The temperature was keeping at a steady 26°F at this point.
What we didn’t think about was traffic delays that would strike the moment we started into the icy areas, so what would have been a 3 hour drive one-way to Beaufort, SC was already pushing 4 hours and we hadn’t reached Savannah, GA yet. Hints of snow was becoming apparent, with grey “road slushie” piles here and there. The kids were complaining the windows of the car were too cold now to press their faces against. The husband was excited, icicles visibly hanging from the signs and railings.
Me, on the other hand, my hands, shoulders, and legs were aching from the tension I held in my muscles. I just learned what that yellow sign meant by “bridge ices before road” and was thankful that some part of my lucid adventures with Cody and doing donuts in a parking lot had stuck somehow.
“How are you keeping us straight on the bridges, you seem to be handling that better than everyone else.” My husband marveled as we crossed number three and the icy chaos was increasing.
“Don’t hit the brake, don’t hit the gas.” I was frantically double checking the people on the road around me, afraid someone would slide too far in my direction. “Use the momentum, tap the gas to counter slippage.”
“Ah, like sugar sand…” Suddenly we were hitting areas of solid white areas, we had found it. “LEVI! LOOK! IT’S SNOW!”
“The windows too cold for me to see!” Fussed the 7 year old.
“I can roll down the windo-” I started.
“NO!” Replied Daddy and Levi.
We still hadn’t hit Savannah, GA and the snow was amazingly thick. This was far enough, I started down the next exit and the boys, kids and husband, were beyond excited to get out there and play. It was barely 30 minutes of running around in the closed Applebee’s parking lot and medians and the kids were done. Yup, 5+ hour drive, didn’t make it to Savannah, GA for only that short burst of playing in the snow, and I was already heading back. Luckily, the drive back was only 3 hours, with the excitement of dodging snow clumps falling off the semis. I was happy to see it was only 34°F back home as the cold front finished pushing it’s way through.
MEMORIES. We make them happen ^_~ so go make your own adventure with no regrets!