The Ultimate Test of a Michigander’s Love: Driving Through a Snowstorm to Detroit Metro
When it comes to love, you have to find someone you would do anything they needed. You would move mountains for this person, come hell or high water...or what about a good old-fashioned Michigan snowstorm?
This is the tale of one woman's odyssey, if you will, through the snowy backroads of Michigan from Lansing to Detroit Metro Airport to bring her true love home.
It's one they will read in high schools for years to come, a journey that rivals those of lesser adventurers. Lewis and Clark, who? We're talking about braving a hellish snowstorm, a vehicle that is bound to break down any day now, and what we can only assume is the ultimate test of a Michigander's love.
A Car Safe Enough For Michigan Winter Roads...Maybe
To understand the harrowing journey I found myself on, we first need to understand the vehicle I was heading out into the snowy abyss with.
It's a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee that is all-wheel drive and practically a tank. It's survived rear-ending a Kia with minimal damage and has held strong for almost 370,000 miles (no, that's not a typo).
This is not my first winter with this car, I trust it and I am comfortable. However, there are a few "quirks and features" that make others think it's a death-trap on wheels. First, the check engine light has been on for two years but it's only an oil-pressure sensor. My tire light has also been on because, yup, another sensor. I have one functioning windshield washer fluid sprayer and it is, of course, only on the passenger side. My rear wiper also does not work as well as my heat if I'm not going at least or above 40 miles per hour (that's definitely not normal, is it?)
All of this is to say that while fighting against the elements mother nature has thrown our way, fighting with multiple small glitches is not necessarily ideal. However, while I had the option to take another vehicle, I chose mine because of the familiarity in how it handles bad roads and, let's be honest, I wouldn't feel as bad wrecking this car compared to someone else's.
Braving Michigan Backroads From Lansing to Chelsea
As if making it to Detroit Metro Airport from Lansing during a snowstorm wasn't a feat that made my coworkers, friends and family concerned enough, my GPS decided to play some tricks on me too.
Throughout the day, I kept checking the maps app on my phone to make sure my chosen route was still going to get me there in time to be able to meet my boyfriend at the terminal without him having to wait too long.
An hour and 18 minutes was the consistent time all day, but when I got in my car to leave for the airport, suddenly my route said it would be an hour and 45 minutes. I figured it would still be okay until I got following my GPS and realized I was taking backroads and, in fact, not getting on the highway.
I kept driving, slow as can be either due to other drivers or horrible conditions. I had to stop once to smack ice off my windshield wipers, then another time to refill washer fluid. I was on backroads for what felt like forever from Lansing all the way to Chelsea where I then eventually got on 94 until the airport.
Road Rage, Snow and Sweet, Sweet Reunions
During this time I had talked to my boyfriend through the hands-free option in my car twice. Once when he landed and I had to inform him I was still an hour away, and again when I was FINALLY 10 minutes away.
The second call I did have to apologize for all the swearing and anxious word-vomiting during the first call.
The roads were either ice, snow, slush or a mix of all three. They were more forgiving to some, but not so much for the multiple tractor-trailers on the side of the road and handful of cars in ditches.
By the time I got to the pickup area at DTW, though, it was all worth it. I breathed a sigh of relief and not just because I had made it but because I finally had my man back after about two weeks.
He offered to drive home but I declined at first, not because I didn't want him too but because my driver's seat is also broken and is basically stuck where I have it...and I'm five-foot-three. My six-foot-one boyfriend, though, said he would make it work and that I seemed nervous and he'd rather drive so I let him.
We then cautiously made our way along I-94 to get to our home in Jackson but stopped off for a well-deserved feast from the finest establishment we could think of, Taco Bell.
Driving in a Michigan Snowstorm is Normal, This Was Not
Yes, driving in a snowstorm in Michigan is nothing new to those of us who have lived here long enough.
HOWEVER, this particular experience was such a comedy of errors, I felt compelled to share it with all of you in a dramatic fashion.
I am so thankful that the roads were even open, that traffic was actually moving (albeit, very slowly), and that myself and my man both made it home safely.
At the end of the day, Michigan's going to Michigan and the moral of the story here is to make sure you trust your skills enough to make it through...or at least trust your vehicle...and maybe not your GPS.
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