Being caught in a blizzard. Don't try this, ever.
As I hunker down, for winter storm Nemo, I remember the Blizzard of '78.
My daughters would probably ask if was that eighteen or nineteen 78. Nineteen, thanks very much, girls. I was a 22 year old jock (the industry term for disc jockey or radio announcer) working for an AM/FM radio station in Portsmouth, NH. I worked the overnight shift from 12-6.
There were no blogs, Facebook, twitter, cell phones, personal computers, video games, CDs, GPSs, I-Pods, doppler radar, weather channel, or cable news network. There were no SUVs and very few cars with front wheel drive; I drove a 1976 Dodge Aspen. Snow was predicted and fell. Over the next 3 days up to 55 inches of snow fell in areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Over two feet of snow fell on the coast of New Hampshire, with astronomically high tides, storm surge and beach erosion. It was a winter hurricane.
I knew it would snow when I left on the normally 45 minute ride from my house to the station, so I left early allowing time so I could take a nap before air time. I left at 6:30 pm. It would take over 4 hours to arrive at the radio station. I thought I might not make it. Deciding to bypass the back roads I normally take, for the interstate, I ventured into Massachusetts. The snow was heavier, but plows were out and I was making headway. The stretch of interstate 495 to New Hampshire border I was taking is 15 miles. It took me over an hour. Cars were off the road in the median buried up to their door handles. I traveled behind a snow plow going 15 mph., then he pull over to the shoulder. I think it was the shoulder, you couldn't tell where the lanes began or ended.
Determined I drove on. Through the Hampton Toll booth on interstate 95, where I was told by the officious toll booth attendant that the state had closed the road. Then she proceeded to charge me the 45 cents toll. On to the Portsmouth traffic circle exit, down route 1 to the K-Mart plaza that was adjacent to radio station. There were drifts at the parking lot entrance and I barreled through them at about 35 mph skidding across the deserted parking lot, and missing a couple light poles.
At the southeast end of the plaza lot lay the opening to the station parking lot . There hadn't been a plow there for hours. I shifted into low and gunned the engine and bulled my way into the lot just missing the evening shift jock's car. I trundled up the steps and into the studio. It was 11:45 pm.
I relieved him and spent the next three days broadcasting six hours on ,six hours off. In the morning we stop broadcasting cancellations and started broadcasting what was open. It was a much shorter list. The high tide threatened to wash away our AM transmitter shack and tower. We could only rely on wire service reports; we had no TV at the station. People in the NH seacoast relied on us for news and information. Most had no power but battery transistor radios (another relic of the past).
Across route 1 was a Dunkin' Donuts that was open throughout the blizzard. They baked their own donuts and we lived on donuts and coffee for three days. We trudged through the snow to retrieve sustenance.
Like the college student who gets so sick after doing one too many tequila shooters and swears off tequila forever (and this time I mean it), the smell of a chocolate frosted honey dip donut made me mant to hurl after those three days coffee and donuts. It wasn't until 1982 or 83 that I ventured inside a Dunkin' Donuts again. I've been a steady customer since.
The dumb things we do when we're young and think we're invincible. I felt a commitment as a professional to get to the station. I was 22 years old. Ninety nine people died in that storm. I could have been number 100.