Minnesota Farmer

Metro winter adventure
December 13, 2010, 11:25 pm
Filed under: blizzard, cars, Christmas, church, cold, family, food, Ice, Minnesota, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I grew up on and still live on the prairie here in Southwestern Minnesota.  For me winter snow and blow is commonplace.  It has been a long time since I experienced a big city snow storm, I got into a real big one this past weekend.

Our older girl was playing the blue angel in her churches Christmas pageant.  This is a big pageant with a 100 plus voice choir, an orchestra and several soloists and actors who play the parts in their Christmas story.  This is her third Christmas at this church and the second as the blue angel.  We decided it would be fun to go see her again.  Since my mom and dad had not yet left for Texas, and my wife’s parents wanted to go also we decided to make a party of the trip.  Then Minnesota happened.

The weather forecast for Saturday was for a major snow and blow event, so we reserved rooms at a nearby hotel and went up on Friday night.  The less than a mile trip would be easy even in the snow.  My, oh my, what snow.

With tickets for the 3:00 show, we spent the morning watching the snow fall.  We also watched the poor guy removing snow in the parking lot work all morning and not get anywhere.  The snow just continued to build up.

As the snow piles grew, the practice for the show was delayed.  Our daughter called to say she was stuck in the driveway of her apartment.  Could we please come help her.  Our GMC is 4-wheel drive, so we drove over to dig her out.  Her Saturn was just outside of the parking lot on the street.  A little shoveling and we got her back into the parking lot.  There the car would sit until Sunday morning.

We took Beth to practice, found some food for our crew to eat, and got ready to see the show.  Because of the snow, our GMC got shuttle duty.  Due to the attempts of all of the private snow removal companies, and all of the city and state equipment, some of the snow had been removed.  It was still a case of follow the ruts.  Streets were narrow and corners were hard to see around.  Changing streets meant driving through a mound of snow.  It would have been a good day to stay home.

About 60 of the expected 300 people made the show.  The evening show and church service were cancelled.  The cast applauded us for even making it to the show.  Now it was time to shuttle folks back to the hotel.

Our group had now grown to 10.  We needed something to eat.  The GMC was again called into action as we went for dinner.  We pulled into Arby’s and got stuck, and they were CLOSED!  Dig out and go for plan B.  After a trip to the grocery store we had the fixings for a great meal.  We sat and watched the snow fall as we polished off most of the food.  Now it was time for games.

Six of us had rooms, four needed to go home.  Paul and Jeni went home and had to wade through waist deep snow to get into their house.  The driveway took hours to clear.  Michael almost made it home.  He dug his car out of a drift, and came back to the hotel.  Beth just stayed in our room.

Sunday morning Beth and I went to rescue her car.  She has an underground garage space, so we dug her car out and pushed her down the hill.  The cars needed some major thawing.  While Beth got ready for church, I dug snow out of the cars.

By Sunday morning the metro area streets were open.  By the time we went to church it was possible for most cars to travel, so the GMC shuttle had less to do.  After lunch and a little shopping, we drove home.

Most of the trip home was uneventful, but as we got closer to home, we found the roads turned into ice.  The last 20 miles were on polished ice.  Anyone who attempted a turn or a stop could easily end up in the ditch.  Tow trucks and rescue workers were very busy along the road.

My yard had snow in it, but the tractor was warm and the blower moved the snow out in short order.  While the others had dinner, I went to clean out my dad’s yard.  When that was done, and everyone was home, we could at last sleep.

Lessons learned from my Metro adventure.

  • Minnesotan’s don’t know when to stay home.  The number of cars on the road at the height of the storm was amazing.
  • Not all Minnesotan’s have a 4X4 to use when the snow gets deep, but they go anyway.  They all pretend they know how to drive in snow.
  • Tires make all the difference.  We saw people getting stuck because they had bald tires.  Good tires can mean moving when all others are stuck.
  • If you do get stuck, someone will help get you out.  They will jump out of their car and dig and push until you are on your way.
  • Restaurants will close when the weather gets bad, but the grocery will still be open.  People were working overtime to keep the grocery store open and people fed when they all should have been home safe and warm.
  • Keep your tank full.  You never know when a quick trip will change into a long wait for a road to open, or a rescue truck to come.

It was fun being in the metro for this historic storm, but next time I think I’ll just stay home.  I prefer to be near to my own equipment when the snow falls and the wind blows.



3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great story, Mike! Thanks for sharing. Glad you all made it home safely.

Comment by Deb Courts-Brown

It was interesting to read your take on the storm from the perspective of a rural Minnesotan. No way would I have wanted to be in the Cities during that storm. Sounds like you fared well, though, with your GMC.

I still say there’s nothing quite like winter on the southwestern Minnesota prairie. You have to take the weather seriously out there. No way would I want to be on the road during a prairie blizzard.

Comment by Audrey

And yet we on the prairie are out in storms because sometimes we have to be. When we had livestock, we went out no matter what the weather to feed the animals. I have assisted trucks and cars out of the snow in some really bad weather. There are tales of trips back from town in some really crazy conditions. Now I enjoy the storms because I don’t have to go.

Comment by Michael

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