Our plan for Saturday was supposed to go like this:
Leave the cottages in Scotland on Saturday morning. Follow Mags and Roger (my mother-in-law and her partner) from the cottages down to a city called Perth, which is right smack in the middle of Scotland. From there, we’d split up – they’d head back to Carlisle, and we’d drive on to Dave’s dad’s house in Yorkshire.
Sounds easy, right?
Here’s how it went down: Saturday morning rolled around and we got ready to leave. Dave came in from loading the car and he was covered with snow. I started to freak because I had no idea it was snowing outside. (It had only been raining the last time I checked.)
We all agreed that we’d better set off immediately before the snow piled up. We set off, and made it less than 10 miles before the roads got too bad. Winding mountain roads + unplowed snow + a car with no four-wheel drive and no snow tires = BADNESS.
We turned around and headed back in the direction of the cottages. I was on the verge of crying, because while I honestly liked the cottages, I was really looking forward to being somewhere with Internet access, and where we wouldn’t all have ash stains on the soles of our socks from the stove fireplace (which is the only source of heat in the cottages). It sounds stupid, I know, but I am just not a “roughing it” kind of girl. I was really excited about getting back to civilization. I did not want to spend the weekend snowed in at a cottage in a remote location. Too many horror movies have plotlines that start off exactly like that.
Roger suggested we try driving the other way out, which is a road that added a good 30 miles onto our trip, but it followed the coastline, which we figured would be less snowy than further inland. We tried it, and it was pretty scary in a few places, but we made it. Since Dave was driving the whole way, I just sat there and gripped the “oh god” handlebar until my knuckles turned white. And I prayed. A lot.
At one point, when we were skidding along a mountain road at 20 miles an hour, Dave looked over at me.
Dave: It’s kind of exciting, though, don’t you think?
Dave: No? You don’t think this is all kind of a fun little adventure?
Me: The idea that we could die in the snow? No, I don’t think that’s fun at all. Sorry.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m not an ideal traveling companion when it comes to extreme weather circumstances. I tend to get a little panicky, and it’s no fun for anyone.
Catie did pretty well for the first part of the morning, but then she decided she’d had quite enough of the car and had a major meltdown. I tried to soothe her as best I could, but it didn’t help very much. We stopped for lunch, and I decided to ride in the backseat with her from that point on, to try to keep her calmed down. It worked, for the most part. I think she just gets bored and fidgety back there, but if she has someone to keep her company, it makes the trip a lot easier.
Eight hours into this little road trip “adventure” (to use Dave’s term), we had made it to Inverness, Scotland. For those of you keeping track, that’s 120 miles in 8 hours – an average of 15 miles an hour. Fabulous.
We found a hotel in Inverness and crashed for the night. Sunday, we woke up only to find that it had snowed even more overnight, so we were still screwed. We set off anyway. It was slightly better than the previous day – we managed to drive 150 miles to Edinburgh, and it only took us 6 hours. So we averaged a whopping 25 mph. Woot! Speed demons, watch out!
We spent Sunday night in Edinburgh (which, btw, is a really beautiful city), and then spent Monday driving the rest of the way to Yorkshire. We were lucky because by Monday, all the roads had been plowed and salted, so it was totally clear and we were able to drive the speed limit.
It’s insane to me that back in the States, driving 500 miles is something you could do in a day. A long day, sure, but still. Meanwhile, here, it took us THREE WHOLE DAYS to drive the same distance.
Anyway, we’re now here with Dave’s dad and stepmom, which is cool because this is the first time that Catie and I have gotten to meet them. It’s so weird to me that Dave and I have been married almost 5 years and this is the first time I’ve met my father-in-law. But they’ve never been to the States, and this is our first trip here, so that’s just how it goes, I guess.
It’s funny, though, watching Keith (Dave’s dad) and seeing how much he looks like Dave, but his mannerisms are exactly like Steve, Dave’s brother (even though Steve looks more like their mom). I can’t really explain it, it’s just cool to get to see all of these family dynamics in person for the first time.