The worst winter blizzard of the season was bearing down on the very route we needed to travel – pulling a 36 foot house trailer with a passenger car. All of the weather forecast alerts were advising cars to stay off the roads and avoid traveling if possible. But it was not possible; we were in Valparaiso, Indiana and we needed to be in Niagara Falls, New York. Our trailer preparation and hitch up was almost complete when the first flakes started to fall.
Lost in a Winter Blizzard along Lake Erie
As we left Valparaiso, the snow was very light, but by the time we crossed the border into Pennsylvania we were in the full force of the blizzard. The poor visibility caused us to miss the highway turnoff, and we found ourselves driving along a deserted road parallel to Lake Erie. The wind was so strong at this point that the snow was no longer falling horizontally, but was gusting vertically across the road.
We knew we were on the wrong road, there was no question about that, but how and where could we turn around in order to retrace our route? It is difficult enough to pull a 36 foot house trailer in good weather. In this blizzard, with the blizzard continuing to worsen by the minute, we knew we had to find a solution FAST! It was already mid-afternoon.
Miracles in the Middle of the Winter Blizzard
Three events happened that day on the road along Lake Erie that can only be labeled miracles.
Remember that I said that the road along Lake Erie was completely deserted of traffic. The blizzard was so intense that nobody was on the roads. When you don’t know an area, you just need to keep your look out for what is needed.
Miracle Number 1:
As we drove along, suddenly we saw a field to our right. It appeared to have a drive into it. We were just beginning to make our turn into the drive when the first car we had seen for hours approached us. The man in the car yelled over to us, “Don’t pull your trailer into that field. It belongs to the Department of Transportation and it is deceptive. It is a sand-fill for the roads. You will get bogged down in there and won’t be able to get out.” The man then told us of a convent with a circular driveway just down the road.
Miracle Number 2:
As we approached the convent on our left and began to make our turn, the second vehicle we had seen along this road showed up. This time we were told that the drive into the convent had a deep dip and if we tried to make the turn there, we would most likely get stuck and not be able to get out. The man told us that if we traveled a few more miles down the road, we would reach a major highway. That would be the best place for us to try our turnaround.
Miracle Number 3:
When we reached the highway, there was mercifully still no traffic, but the vertical snow was making visibility still impossible. As my father struggled to turn the car and trailer in just the right way, my mother hopped out of the car so she could better instruct my father. It meant that she had to walk back and forth from the back of the trailer to the driver’s side window. The blizzard winds made it impossible for her instructions to be heard unless she was beside my father. It was hopeless!
Just then a truck with two men (the third vehicle we had encountered) drove up and stopped. Both men came over and introduced themselves. They were truck drivers who knew how to turn a rig. They told my mother to get back in the car while one man stood at the back of the trailer and the other man passed on instructions at my father’s window. They had us turned around and back on the right road in minutes.
The winter blizzard didn’t defeat us that day, but it wasn’t the end of the miracles on this trip either.