February 14, 2014

The snows of Charlotte, Part Two

I imagine you last left this old blog screaming at the screen "What happened next?" .

Or not.

To refresh your memory, in spite of dire weather forecasts, I had made my way to Charlotte North Carolina on the eve of an expected blizzard. Let us pause to answer the most basic of questions you are asking the electronic me -- "Why did you go when you knew the weather would be bad?"  The answer is easy, it is my job. I have been burned numerous times over the years by cancelling  trips based on the wildly inaccurate weather models only to find that the whole event was over-hyped and and the expected weather pulled a Hank Williams and failed to show. My customers are open year-round, not just in summer. I have suffered a few times for taking chances, most notably the three days I was stuck in Harrisburg, PA in a hotel that had just lost its liqueur license.

Anyway, I was holed up Tuesday night in a nice hotel.  I watched the weather and went to bed, prepared to sit on hold with the airlines again in the morning. I woke with a germ of an idea in my head. I looked out the window to see a snow-free parking lot. I turned on the local news and saw the snow was not supposed to hit until 8 or 9 in the morning. I called my customer and left a message to see if we could move our meeting up a few hours. I took a quick shower and headed down for breakfast.

It was still early, not quite seven o'clock. Still no snow as I ate an omelet and drank some Java. I was back in my room packing when my  phone dinged an incoming email signal.  The customer wrote that our meeting was cancelled; the plant was closed!  YES! something was going right!

You see, this weather front was moving straight up from the south.  If I could get going north out of town, I could get ahead enough to miss out on the bad weather before I had to turn west. I called the rental car company to let them know I was turning in the car in Indianapolis instead of Charlotte. I threw my bag into the Mustang and pointed my way up I-77.

The interstate through downtown Charlotte was nearly empty as I made my way under cloudy skies. The radio had no connection for my iPhone, so I was stuck with finding local radio stations. For some reason the radio would only search and scan for religious programing. I don't know if that was a sign, or the actions of the previous driver. In any case I had to search out demon rock and roll and evil right-wing talk radio by hand twirling the dial.

I rode that Mustang through North Carolina, and both Virginias before turning west toward Kentucky in Charleston. We galloped through the bluegrass country, turning back north toward Cincinnati and then into the Hoosierland. I zipped past Batesville, where the caskets are made, and rode past my old stomping grounds of Greensburg and Shelbyville. My Mustang and I were in the homestretch. After more than ten hours I found myself back at the Indy airport.  I recovered my own car and arrived back home, tired but sporting a firm sense of victory over the forces that spin a capricious fate over the frequent traveler.

Hey, if you want drama you should watch TV. Oh, I did drop my debit card under the rental car when I tried to get money from a drive-up ATM.  Is that exciting enough?  What if I told you I murdered and dismembered a  hitchhiker somewhere in the West Virginia mountains after he caught me running moonshine down into the flatlands.  What if I described in Penthouse Forum detail a sexual adventure in the back seat of the Mustang with a beautiful blond named Annie? And her twin sister named Amie? I suppose I could relate how gunmen from a rival family tried to shoot me down when I stopped at a tollbooth.

I did drop my ATM card.  I simply pulled forward and picked it up.


Anonymous said...

You know you were looking for an excuse to take the Mustang for an extended drive. Any flashbacks to what should have been a misspent youth?

James Old Guy

Joe said...

Well, yeah.

The first car I ever drove was a 1965 Mustang.

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