In what will hopefully be the last chapter in our personal “Sno-Jam ’14” story, I was able to go and recover my 2003 BMW R1100S from Cesar’s Automotive Repair on Fairground Street in Marietta yesterday afternoon! In the photo below, there she sits… no worse for wear back in our driveway as the sun and 55°F temperatures on Friday finally melted away the snow & ice on even the shade-covered sections of road that lead to our community.
As a brief reminder, here’s what it looked like out the front door at 8:00pm this past Tuesday:
I must say, the gentleman who owns Cesar’s was as nice and accommodating of our situation as could be, as were the owners of B7 Automotive who they share the building with. I’d called them Tuesday evening at 8:00pm to let them know there was a blue and white motorcycle in their parking lot that wasn’t there when they left before the snow storm hit on Tuesday (they were smarter than I was). “No worries” was basically their message to me; they wouldn’t even accept a storage fee for the 2.5 days that the bike was sitting in their lot.
To facilitate the recovery, I took Debbie to work on Friday morning as it gave us one more day to let the snow and ice that was still covering our local roads to melt before she ventured out in her little car or the truck. It also meant I could pick her up for our every-other-Friday lunch date at The Red Eyed Mule, and then swing by Cesar’s where we’d part ways with me taking the bike back home while she returned to work in the truck.
After running a bunch of errands and taking care of the truck’s 5,000 mile oil and 100,000 mile transmission fluid changes (it’s a ’06, mostly highway thanks to the 4,000 miles a year that I’ve put on my Honda CBR1100 and now the BMW R1100S for my daily commute), I headed back to collect Debbie and was somewhat surprised to see that the road I’d need to ride on were still covered with snow and ice; well shoot.
After finishing our delicious Jake’s Big Daddy and spending a few minutes sharing respective Sno-Jam ’14 adventure tales with Sabra out in the parking lot, we headed back towards Debbie’s office, as I was on the fence about my odds of finding the roads with enough exposed asphalt to get me home without taking any risks on snow or ice: I had enough of that on Tuesday, thank you very much. After thinking about it and seeing the temps had finally hit the 50’s I said what the heck: I can go and kill a couple hours running a few more errands on the bike to give the sun & warmer temps time to work on those roads.
I found the bike in “just as I left it condition”, put on my leathers that I’d stashed in the truck, kissed the lovely Miss Debbie goodbye, gave Cesar the thumbs up and was on my way in short order. Killing time worked out just fine as enough of the snow and ice had been reduced to wet roads by 2:15pm that I had an easy, safe ride back to the house coming in from the least hilly, least snow-packed end of Old Stilesboro Road. The same was true for Debbie when she came home via the other way where I’d shot the video in my Tundra recovery blog entry.
So, we’re “whole” again with our truck and the BMW safely back in the garage for their first night together since Monday. What a week!
As for the blame games that have been going on and who’s at fault? Again, I can only point the finger at one person: Me! I should have been watching the weather radar more closely, which is what I usually do and didn’t. I got lulled into a sense of complacency after watching the warnings drop on Sunday and Monday, not realizing that they were put back in place at 3:00am on Tuesday morning while we all slept.
And lest we think it was just folks in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area that got caught with their pants down by the shifting weather, the Birmingham, Alabama metro area suffered the exact same plight… which local and national news reporters won’t ever mention, lest they undermine their own story lines.
Will it happen again? Absolutely. What we’ll see for the next couple of years will now be overly cautious state and local authorities who will quickly close-down schools and public offices when “watches” are issued — which in turn will force many businesses to do likewise since parents will now need to take off to be with their kids — and the bad weather won’t materialize… just as we saw in middle Georgia on Tuesday. There will be massive criticism of those actions by the short-attention-span media and that will be repeated on a couple of occasions. If we’re lucky, one of those precautionary shut downs will precede another storm, otherwise in 2017 we can expect that the “cry wolf” syndrome will catch everyone off-guard when Mother Nature gives us another dope-slap to remind us who’s really in charge!
My heart was both warmed and chilled by different stories coming out of the storms. We had a number of different friends from the work and play side of our lives who lived near freeways or roads with stranded motorists who went out into the cold, slippery and dangerous conditions to bring drinks, food and comfort to the stranded motorists, or who opened their homes and businesses as make shift shelters… with no expectation that they’d ever be reimbursed by anyone. At the same time I was a bit disappointed when I saw a few law enforcement officers sitting in their cars or cruising around with chains instead of getting out of their vehicles and offering help and assistance where it was clearly needed. In fact, what I thought was a police officer in a bright green traffic vest in the middle of Barrett Parkway and US41 directing traffic at the height of gridlock turned out to be a guy who parked his garbage truck and jumped in to help. However, the story that really made me shake my head came a friend who safely escaped gridlock in his 4WD drive without bothering anyone else by making an illegal turn and crossing a median to get to a gas station before he ran out of fuel. Sitting in his cruiser and watching this was apparently a Kennesaw City Police officer who was more interested in “enforcing the law” than protecting and serving the public to whom he owes his livelihood. According to our friend’s side of the story, the officer fit the “power trip” model that always sends chills down my spine who opted to play the “Judge Dread” card and lecture our friend, e.g., “I could arrest you and impound your vehicle for what you just did” as he wrote him a reckless driving ticket at 7:00pm in the height of the storm and melee. Really? I’d love to see the audio/video from the officer’s cruiser for the entire evening just so I could truly see what happened and how else he spent his time. I’m hoping this was an anomaly, but but gut tells me it’s yet another “super cop” who gives good officers a bad wrap. Every force has at least one.
Here’s hoping everyone else has or will be writing the final chapters in their personal stories of Sno-Jam ’14 sooner rather than later. Like I said, we were able to come out of our adventure no worse for wear. However, I know a lot of folks will continue to be dealing with lost or damaged vehicles and not-so-pleasant memories from the storms.