Pinch of Time

January 25, 2012

When you leave the North Country for a winter trip, be prepared for anything


It blessed our hearts to hear Emily play her clarinet and sing Christmas carols at her church and to see Jared in a play he had helped write for the youth group. Our time was all too short, but we had more than 1,100 miles left to drive.

No problems driving through Missouri. Toby is used to six lanes of traffic, all going the same way at 75 mph in St. Louis. On into Kansas with light rain, which slowly turned to mushy rain, then quickly turned into a full-blown blizzard. The Weather Channel didn't warn us about this.

We drove for more than 200 miles, Toby singing with Waylon Jennings and David Alan Coe, and didn't see a snowplow. When we did see one, there were five of them, one after the other, all going east, and we were headed west. The road was like a skating rink, but finally, we saw a plow making a U-turn. I thought, "He'll get ahead of us and sand." He waited until we passed by, then pulled out, crossed over to the ramp and went into town, probably for coffee.

Several times I said to Toby, "Let's get off at the next town," to which he would say, "No, it's not that bad. I drove tractor-trailer for 40 years in weather like this." My reply: "That was the Adirondacks. This is the flat, treeless plains of Kansas!"

There were tractor-trailers in the ditches, travel trailers and SUVs backwards in the road and almost no vehicles around us except when a "country boy" would pass us with a hiked-up truck doing 75.

We literally drove in whiteouts for about 100 miles at 30 to 40 mph. I could not understand why they didn't close the interstate. Kansas has gates that come down over the road, and it's mandatory to exit. No exiting for my retired trucker husband.

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