Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Drifting Snow ... bad for driving.

Well, last night was a little more exciting that I expected. When I left Omaha, I was thrilled that I got moving 15 minutes early. More sleep for me (ok, 15 minutes means a lot sometimes!). The interstate was clear and it was a beautiful night for a drive. I'll admit, it was a little cold and windy, but the road was great. You could tell the semis have been needing some nice weather through the state, they were out in full force. But, they're always easy to drive with. I just feel that much safer on the road, knowing that those guys are working through the night.

I stopped in Des Moines for gas and began to wonder about the roads north of Highway 30. I knew that they hadn't been great, but oh my goodness, it was only 2 inches and the worst of it had ended on Monday, how could it still be bad by Tuesday night, right? I will say it again, I wondered about this county road up here and how bad it might be. In fact, I actually considered just stopping in Des Moines and staying in a hotel for the night. But, I didn't have any part of my life with me - just changes of clothes ... no shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush ... nothing. I just needed to press on through.

But, no ... I'm tougher than this, I can do it. It just can't be that bad. I mean, really! It's not like they haven't had plenty of practice this winter. They know how to clear roads.

I drove north on I-35 and the roads were still clear ... until I got to the exit about 10 miles south of where I usually turn off. Patches of ice began getting in my way. I really began to worry.

I turned off my exit and began heading west. The first stretch of road from Ellsworth to Jewell was fine. A few patches of snow and ice, but this is nothing I can't handle. When I left Jewell, everything changed. A few patches of bare concrete - a lot of snow and ice. Everything would still be fine if I could just drive slowly enough. There are no curves in the road, its a straight shot.

The first batch of drifted snow concerned me. Then, the second. The drifts kept extending further and further into the lane. I was driving in the eastbound lane. Finally I came upon a drift that pretty much went across both lanes. I shook my head, stopped the car, turned it around and left.

You see, I knew full well that the location where I had gone in the ditch last month would be awful. And I knew that it wouldn't be the worst I saw. I also knew that I would have to deal with a gravel road into the cabin and I wasn't even sure what drifting would happen on the lane to the cabin. Driving through all of that at 12:30 am was not appealing.

There is a very nice hotel at the exit just before the ice began on the Interstate - about 10 miles south of my exit. I headed out and had to stop at a convenient mart for shampoo, etc. But, I tucked myself into bed, smiled and knew that I wasn't going anywhere for a long time. I'd stay until those plows got out and ate up the drifts and the sun came out and began melting the ice.

I drove in about 1 pm - still patchy ice and snow, but it's no big deal. The gravel road is in beautiful shape, the plows had destroyed the drifts, the sun is shining brightly in a clear, blue sky, the snow is glistening, the icicles are melting. It's a glorious day.

The amount of email and activity I need to catch up on from being offline for 24 hours is a bit overwhelming, but that's ok ... the delete button works pretty well on my computer. I'm looking forward to sticking my nose back into the Bible and my History books tonight. I try to write a week's worth of blogs while I'm here and everything is quiet.

My friends and family know that I will try my best to use wisdom when I attempt to travel during bad weather. I'm not so sure that it's wisdom as it is terror after putting my Jeep in the ditch once, but at least it kept me safe last night and will keep me safe for a few years, until I can put it behind me.

As for the winter snows? Can I just hear an "AMEN!" when I say that this needs to end? I'm really tired of bad weather. The snow is beautiful - in fact, it is absolutely gorgeous, but I'm ready for temps in the 30s and 40s and no more snow on the roads!

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