Are we nuts for considering going north at this time of year with a storm predicted?” My husband said as he loaded boxes into our van.
“We once lived in snow country,” I shrugged.
Driving into Illinois, the chill descended. The folks at Love Packages opened their warehouse bay door and welcomed us inside to unload boxes of donated Bibles and Christian literature. Everyone inside wore hoodies and winter coats.
The further north we went, the colder it felt.
Dark comes early up north. By 6 p.m. the headlights reflected off scattered, tiny snowflakes.
“It’s snowing,” hubby groaned.
“Not much,” I assured him. However, the rate of the snowfall increased as we approached Chicago with its lake effect on the weather.
Hubby flipped on the blinker. “I’m going east to avoid the lake effect.” The snowfall slackened.
Hubby spent his early decades driving through snow. He knows the techniques. Still, snow covered roads challenge even experienced drivers.
Hubby reminded me again, as he does most times when we go north in bitter winter cold, “This is why I do not like to go north in the winter.”
“Yes, dear. Of course, we do like to visit the folks.”
I did not remind him that his original plan when we moved south was to stay for five, maybe ten years, and then move back home. He never planned to live the second half of his life away from snow country.
I waited in the van as the wind pushed him into the hotel office to register.
The snow accumulation dictated careful steps from van to room. We shivered our way inside, set the heat for 80 and hoped it would reach the 70s. Until then, we wore layers of warm clothing.
Up north, snow plows appear at the first dusting of snow. And such snow plows!
“Wow! did you see the width of that blade?” I asked. Nothing like the simple plow in front of the truck that we knew from the past. That thing was huge! It flared out on both sides and scooped way up on the front to tackle even a blizzard accumulation of snow.
We traveled routes frequented by convoys of semi-trucks transporting food, clothing and household goods across the country. No one wants the supply chain delayed due to snow.
Keeping the roads open is serious business in Nothern Indiana.
Not so much in Michigan where we had folks to visit. We mentioned it to the hotel clerk.
“I live in Michigan and drove here from there. The roads up there have not been cleaned,” she warned.
“We could always tell when we crossed the state line,” my former Hoosier said as we headed there. “Road maintenance changed at the state line.”
At the end of our Michigan visit, the snow fell fast and thick. We peered left, right and ahead looking for other cars. We could not see far. We turned on the hazard lights. Forget seeing white or yellow lines on the road, even the road shoulders disappeared. Cars coming at us stayed invisible until just before we met.
We made it back to the hotel safely and collapsed.
We needed to eat but did not want to go out in that cold. As we ate the remaining car snacks, we listened to the forecast. The next day promised no snow and warmer temperatures.
We woke up to sunshine and slowly melting snow. I kicked off the chunks of icy snow hanging in the van’s wheel wells. They fell with a satisfying thunk, promising a warmer day, cleaned roads and no whiteouts. We had our snow experience for this year. That will suffice us for a long time.