I’d finished preaching, greeted everyone at the church door who had braved the icy temperatures chatting with them about their fearlessness in the Arctic cold. We had a good laugh. I don’t remember anyone mentioning that the Ontario Provincial Police had closed Route 11 from where we were in Cochrane all the way South to North Bay due to the extremely frigid conditions. Even if they had told me, I still would have gone since I had animals at home that a friend had been caring for, but was expecting me to return that afternoon.
I packed an emergency kit adding bottled water and a thermos of hot coffee and dressed myself warmly while the Explorer Sport’s engine warmed. I checked for the amount of gas in the tank to make sure it was full enough. It was. Then I set out in the warmest part of the day leaving the warmth and safety of Cochrane for the barren plains of Northern Ontario.
Before I reached the next town, my trusty Explorer went silent so I steered it to the side of the roadway. Now what? Stranded in life threatening cold (-30F) with zero cell phone bars, I prayed.
“Lord help! My car just quit and I haven’t a clue why, but you know. Please send someone. It’s too cold for me to leave my vehicle and walk. I’d freeze to death. Is this how you will be taking me home to you? I have animals waiting for me! Rescue me, please.”
Within minutes a speck of a car appeared on the horizon. As it drew closer, I saw it was an Ontario Police car. I thought, “Yes! A Policeman might give me a ticket, but I’ll get help.”
The cruiser sped by me. My heart sank . . .
Then I looked in my rearview mirror, I saw the cruiser make a “Uey”, a U turn. An Officer hopped out of his car and came to my window, tapping on it. I spoke through the glass explaining I couldn’t lower it because I had no juice in my engine. He motioned for me to pop the hood. After checking, he walked back to his cruiser, pulled around me doing another U-turn so that his vehicle’s hood faced mine. He attached jumper cables.
Within minutes I was able to lower my electric window and talk to him. He merely gave me a warning, then said, “In this cold your engine freezes up quickly from the below zero wind chill. The faster you drive, the higher the wind chill and the quicker it freezes. If you want to make it home, don’t go over 30 kilometers per hour (about 25 mph). You should be at your home in Kirkland Lake before dark.” I thanked him profusely then set out at the recommended speed. He followed for a bit, and then did another U-turn to continue traveling north.
After I pulled into the Manse driveway, my dog Frisky greeted me at the door energetically wagging his tail then made a beeline for the back door. After he did his business, I fed and watered him. Then we snuggled beneath blankets on my sofa to watch the weather report on TV. Think I should have checked that before I started for home? Yep, I do too.