It was ten days before it was time for me to leave the state of Georgia, and I had not the slightest idea of where I was moving to in Colorado. I also knew even less about what route I was taking. I was literally leaping into the unknown with nothing to arm me but my faith. Here is the beginning of my adventure to a new life and a better man. This is my leap of faith.
Leap of Faith: Starting in the State of Georgia
A month prior to the big move, I moved back home with my mom to prepare myself. During that time my mom kept saying –
Get your stuff together, Milt.My mom over-and-over.
But of course, I was still the same laid-back, nonchalant person that I always am. Over the next ten days, I figured out where I was staying in Colorado. I told my mom what states I would be traveling through (I even knew the halfway point down to the mile marker). And, I knew I could not afford to stay at hotels along the way, so sadly rest stops it would be for me.
I would be leaving the day after Christmas, so I made sure to pack my car with as much as I could after the festivities died down. That’s right. I was leaving the state I have known as home for all my life with my car and everything that could fit in it– no bed, no couch, no furniture at all. Merry Christmas to me!
Leap of Faith: The Journey to Colorado Begins
At 3:30 am, December 26, 2018, while my quiet Middle GA town slept soundly, I was preparing to make my trek across the country. My sister slid a very sweet note under my door that night and I remember reading it first thing that morning. I made sure to write her one back before I left, and slid it under her door as I left our home.
At 3:50, I was on my way!
A small sense of dread slipped in when I put my final destination into the GPS and saw 24 hours pop up, along with 1,700 miles. But a strong sense of anxious excitement for new beginnings accompanied it. And at least the ride would provide a lot of time to think to myself and catch up on the latest music. Everything was smooth sailing for the first 16-18 hours of the trip. I stopped and rested when I got tired and I remember thinking –
I will never take a bed for granted again!Me to myself while resting on the road to Colorado.
Sleeping in a jam-packed car where I could not recline the seat WAS NOT the move! Nevertheless, I was always grateful to wake up the same way I fell asleep. Especially considering I was sleeping in busy parking lots in places I had never seen before. All things considered, everything was going smoother than I could have imagined.
Boy was I in for a rude awakening!
Leap of Faith: Meeting the Midwest
I’m riding through Kansas at this point admiring the lights and windmills amidst the rain, and I start to physically feel my car getting cold. I finally decided to take a look at my car thermometer, and it read a frigid 12 degrees. My windows were getting cold and I knew it would probably be a matter of time before it started snowing. It definitely did!
Lest you forgot, let me remind you I am from Georgia. An inch of snow causes a state of emergency. I am sure it didn’t help that it was rapidly getting darker. Of course, I slowed down dramatically but other cars on the road were flying past me like it was a perfectly dry road.
I timidly kept it trucking though, even turned my music up a little louder and Big KRIT helped me zone out and ignore my nerves for a moment. I begin to see cars sliding across the road (literally from one side of the interstate to the other), and I knew then it was time for me to slow down even more. Uh-oh.
I need gas.
By this point, I could not see the lines on the road or even the signs on the side of the road because it was snowing so hard and thick. I got off the interstate and made a wrong turn- I could not even see good enough to reverse and I made the HUGE mistake of getting out the car.
The mixture of snow and ice was hitting me in the face so hard that I felt like I was in the ring with Tyson- not to mention it was extremely hard to keep my balance on the ice slicked road. I safely made it back inside my car finally and even made it back to the interstate. Upon finally making it to a gas station, I noticed that it was some cars already stuck at the entrance, but I needed gas! So, what does my dumb ass do? You guessed it, got stuck right along with them.
Leap of Faith: The Road Gets Real
I get out the car (not dressed properly) to see what I need to do to get “unstuck” and the snow comes up to the middle of my shin. At this point, my pants, shoes, socks, are soaked and it is below 0 outside. I was only a couple of feet away from the asphalt, but I could not get out of the snow and ice.
I attempted moving the car forward and reversing with the pedal to the metal to no avail (I am sure I burned significant tread). Some guy from Denver must have felt bad for me because he told me to get back in my car because I was not dressed properly and pulled out an array of snow tools from the trunk of his. Here it is I am sitting in the warmth of my vehicle and this guy is in extreme conditions trying to free my car.
Mind you, his car is also incapacitated in the same snowbank, and his girlfriend was sitting in their car watching the entire thing unfold. What an awesome guy though, I can never thank him enough (although I forgot his name).
I remember my immediate family being worried sick!
Leap of Faith: Surviving Snowmagden
We had no luck, but I did change my clothes and we waited to be snowplowed out. It was my first time ever seeing a snowplow. I finally get gas and since the guy from Denver was nice enough to help me out, I turned around and helped the owners of the gas station shovel snow from around the gas pumps so we all could get gas.
Hands down, during this drive through Kansas, I experienced the coldest weather I ever had in my life.
I moved my car to a safe spot, and the sheriff of the town pulls up on me to tell me that the weather conditions closed the interstate and I would have to wait for at least eight hours for it to re-open.
My heart immediately dropped.
He directs me to follow him to the 4-H Center to shower and stay there as a refugee. I got there and saw the conditions of the shower facilities and quickly decided that I was clean enough for the journey.
I was just about to make myself at home when the sheriff came back in and told me that he had contacted one of the few restaurant owners in the town. They had agreed to take us all in! The owners of that restaurant fed me, gave me the wi-fi password, and allowed me to do my homework.
Believe it or not, they trumped the term “southern hospitality” by a long shot! They offered to allow me to stay a little longer when the interstate re-opened, but I declined and was back on my journey. Come to find out, several people had lost their lives due to the conditions and this was one of the worst blizzards to come through the area in quite a while.
Leap of Faith: Starting the Adventure in Colorado
Long story short, I made it a day early still, so I spent a third night sleeping in my car. Many more events happened after that of course but for the sake of this story I will end it here.
I must give a special shout out to my mom, sister, and brother. They stayed in frequent contact with me the entirety of the trip and made sure they did all they could do to keep my head in the game. Also, a huge shout out to the guy from Denver and the restaurant owners!
Making it to Colorado was quite a journey. Maybe what my mom meant by getting my stuff together was to get snow equipment for the car, or plan better sleeping arrangement. I can’t quite be sure. Mothers.
This journey just marked the beginning of yet another adventure upon arriving here!
I am so thankful to be here to share it with you all on the Herstun Writer!
See you next month. Be great in the meantime folks. I know I will be.
–Milt the Great