February 2011 rolled in with a crazy snowstorm that dumped two feet of snow on Chicago. I had been in Champaign for the bulk of it, and had to get home. It was probably one of the most white-knuckled drives I’ve ever done. My little Honda Civic and I (with two passengers who were, essentially, stranded in Champaign otherwise) made the three-and-a-half hour drive home to Chicago.
That far south of Chicago, the snow wasn’t a problem — it was the howling wind. I enjoyed the extra weight of two additional people and their bags in my car, and took advantage of the semi cruising along in front of me as a guide. (Although, at one point the semi broke loose, and saved it. If I weren’t holding onto the steering wheel for my own survival, I would have given him a standing ovation for the save.)
In retrospect, it was a pretty cool drive, and that Honda Civic never ceased to amaze me in the things it could do. As I let out one passenger on the corner of State and Washington in Chicago, it was surreal to stop at a green light, say our goodbyes, fetch bags from the car and head out, and no one said a word, honked or otherwise … because there was no one else around. At one o’clock in the afternoon we were the only car on the roads in the entire city of Chicago. That’s an impressive thing when you consider Chicago is nearly ten million people strong.