Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter on the Highway

Forty below zero with the promise of dropping temperatures is not the way to start on a road trip, even if you're travelling south to warmer climes, but it was the morning planned, so it was to be. I had wakened at 3:00 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep so I figured I may as well get going. But I'm a slowpoke about some things, and it was nearly 5:00 before I drove away. Despite my slow pace in the house, by the time I got behind the wheel of the van I was perspiring and, since the car would heat up shortly, I put on no winter gear except my gloves.

Big mistake! There was no heat and the temperature gauge on the van did not move from its coldest position. An hour and a half later, when I reached the US border, there was still no heat and my fingers were freezing. It was still dark, too. I drove carefully, aware that should I land in the ditch, I wouldn't last long. Thankfully the customs officer was taking his time with the car ahead and I had time to shrug on a sweater, hat, scarf and mittens (much warmer than gloves). Only when the sun rose around Fargo, did I begin to feel a bit warmer. Why had I never noticed before that highway driving in very cold weather would keep everything cold? I get heat when driving in the city.

A Minnesota radio station was reporting fifty below (ºF) in its northern towns and I was driving as fast as I could, with as few breaks as possible to find some warmth soon! It's funny, because now that I'm in Missouri and it's only six below, the people around me are complaining of the cold. People! People! People! You don't realize how nice it is! There isn't even any snow on the ground.

There was plenty of snow in South Dakota. The wind was sweeping it across the highway so that, to look in the distance, the highway appeared obliterated. The snow wasn't sticking to the road, however, and so the driving wasn't difficult--except when I came up behind a snow plough. It kicked up more snow that it removed, creating its own blizzard and making it impossible to pass. The drivers behind me were impatient and some decided to chance it, whizzing past me into the cloud of unknowing. I held my breath and prayed, certain they would land in the ditch. They didn't, though I passed numerous cars sunk into the soft snow beside the road. The ploughs were needed, however, because drifts were forming on the shoulders and pushing themselves into oncoming traffic.

God is good. I travelled over 1,000 kilometres yesterday without any problems--not even after filling the tank with fuel clearly marked, "Not gasoline--use only in flex cars." Oops! Thank you, God!

I'm sitting in a large atrium, sun pouring into my eyes and keeping me warm. For a Super 8 Motel, this place has class with a large brass chandelier hanging from the ceiling, polished blonde oak trim framing the large windows and doors and marching up the stairs to the second-floor balistrade and the heavy solidness of the tables and chairs in the breakfast nook. There has been a fair amount of camaraderie amongst the men who have passed by. They must be a work crew of some sort, staying here until the work moves them on to another motel.

I too must move on. It's after 9:00 a.m. and I have another five and a half hours of driving before reaching my destination. I have no plans to hurry--I did enough of that yesterday--but I don't want to spend my day sitting here either, as pleasant as that could be. My apologies for not writing here more in the last couple of weeks. Hopefully that pause is now over.

1 comment:

Di said...

Ooooo, where are you headed?? Praying for your safety.