Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy post-Thanksgiving, and welcome to winter driving!

Hi all,

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I have returned from the long weekend, and as always, it was tons of fun and consisted of a ton of food!

Our Sunday platter of traditional Turkey goodness

Lots of stories to tell, so how about I start with my trip to Mom and Dad's last Wednesday. All was well until I got to Sturgeon Lake, MN. There was some snow that was starting to accumulate on the roads. Hmmmm, our esteemed running meteorologist never said anything about this in the previous evening's forecast!

A few more miles down the road, conditions deteriorated rapidly. Just past Barnum, I saw the first sign of trouble; about a half dozen emergency vehicles attending to a pickup truck that was on its roof and in the woods. Ick!

The stretch between Carlton and Esko was the worst. Roads were completely ice-covered. Dozens of cars were in the ditch, police vehicles were everywhere, and traffic was crawling along. It was scary.

I was cursing wildly. This seems to happen every Thanksgiving, from the time I was in college coming home from break all the way to two years ago when I got stranded in the above-mentioned town of Barnum during an ice storm. Unbelievable. Travel at Thanksgiving absolutely bites!

Already making plans to find a hotel, I called the folks to let them know where I was and what was going on. Dad told me this was a result of "lake effect" snow off of Lake Superior. When you get a northeast wind off of the lake, there is sort of a geographical perfect storm in that the lake creates it own weather and blows it southwest over the hill in Duluth. In all seasons, it can really screw things up and produce anything from dense fog to freezing rain and snow. Dad said if I can get through Duluth, it should be smooth sailing because they had clear skies up on the North Shore!

Anyhow, Dad was right. I crawled into Duluth and the roads progressively got better. By the time I hit the expressway on the outskirts of the city, I was back up to cruising speed, and it was a fantastic drive the rest of the way. I had the roads virtually to myself and the iPod playing classic rock on the stereo. Driving at its finest!

I arrived close to an hour late, but I was greeted by the family, and we sat down to a steaming hot kettle of Dad's famous seafood chowder (a pre-Thanksgiving Day tradition. Yum, by the way!) and a cold beer. A great way to wrap up a fairly eventful drive, and to start off the Thanksgiving weekend.

Even the cat was happy to see me!

More to come...

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