In the middle of winter I had to make an emergency road trip from Philadelphia to New England. An important matter came up that required me to pick up an item of great value from the ancestral home of Hunter Hill in Massachusetts. I learned of the mission in the afternoon of Monday. I needed the item to be in Philadelphia by Wednesday morning. Timing did not seem to allow for a third-party courier nor could this task really be trusted with anyone else. So, the task I had before me was get from Philadelphia to Massachusetts and back again in 24 hours. Easy enough, except that I only had closer to 15 hours as I had a commitment in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning. The private jet and helicopter were out of service that day so my options were limited. It looked as if I was going to have to drive there and back again. Not a problem. The trip was only about 10 hours in total, on a good day. But there was one more thing. It was snowing.
It wasn’t simply snowing. It was a blizzard. I’m told Massachusetts had declared a state of emergency.
I began the trek by loading into the BMW X1 and making my way out onto the road. The weather really was’t all that bad for the first half of the trip. I don’t think I really hit much in the way of snow until close to New York City. Once I got into Connecticut, however, it got bad. I’m not sure if the weather was unreasonably bad, or Connecticut has no idea how to use snow plows. There was very little traffic on the road which was good, but more often than not the road was covered in white. There were none of the traditional painted lines on the pavement to guide travelers on their way. The Merritt Parkway wasn’t so bad as there isn’t really much left to interpretation as far as figuring out where the road goes, but Interstate 91 and 84 were a different story.
The drive on I-84 was probably the most adventurous part of the journey. There were moments where it almost felt as if I were in an arctic Mad Max scenario. Coming out of Hartford, I-84 is a big road. The road is set up with something like five lanes and a HOV lane. Not one driver knew where they were. And it only got worse. Suddenly Connecticut decided to put their complete lack of snow plow knowledge to use and send a fleet of their best plows out onto the road. I don’t know exactly what it is they were doing, but it certainly wasn’t plowing snow or making any attempt to improve the road conditions.
It became total anarchy as traffic began to build up behind the slow moving plows. This was the very same traffic that had no idea where any of the lanes were on the road. Cars began trying to pass the plows and jockey for position. Total chaos. It is the closest thing to what a demolition derby might be like I think.
I crossed the border into Massachusetts and I encountered something I would have never expected. Wet roads. Yes, in Massachusetts the roads were wet. I could see pavement. It looked as if it had only rained. Connecticut was a disaster because Connecticut sucks. The rest of my journey wasn’t all that bad. The return trip was fairly smooth. It was also like 3 am so there were even less cars on the road.
All in all though, the X1 handled it just fine. Would do it again. The total time for the trip was 11 hours 15 minutes.