Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Winter Road Trip - Part II

This is a continuation from a previous post  of January 29, 2011.  After visitng our new grandbaby, Max, and his Mom (Margaret) and Dad (Jeff), we left Iowa on Friday, January 7th, headed toward Minnesota to visit Ron's youngest daughter, Anne, and her family .  Upon leaving Davenport  that morning, we stopped for breakfast and the first snow flakes began to fall. As we traveled north through Cedar Rapids via I-380, the weather got messier with more snow and blowing wind . We made it to Waterloo and then headed into more rural northern Iowa via Hwy 27 to Mason City and the I-35 junction.  The rural roads here were covered with drifting snow and we didn't see any snowplows to clear them.  In the open farmlands, winds were in the 25-35 mph range and no hills, trees or buildings are there to stop the blowing snow. Here's a video showing what driving conditions were like:

We finally reached Interstate 35 where many cars were disabled from accidents on the slick roadway. A semi-truck suddenly came sliding off the icy road from the south-bound lanes into the median heading right for us. Luckily, the driver kept it from rolling over or going into our lane.  We drove very slowly and decided we needed to get off the snowy highway that had very little visibility due to the blowing snow.

 It was 1PM and we were hungry and cold, so we took an exit in the white-out conditions hoping to find a town.  We were going down a deserted highway and thought we would  be lost.  Looking at our map, we decided to find the nearest town. We found a road that led us to Faribault, Minnesota.  In Faribault, we found a little restaurant that served Greek food and had a candy shop.  After enjoying hot soup and a gyros sandwich, Ron bought a pound box of chocolate truffles to take to Anne and her family.  We drove another hour to Chaska, MN.  We greeted Anne, Brent, Will and Milla at their home that was surrounded by snow and ice.

Grandpa Ron, Ron's daughter Anne,
Grandma Vicki, Son-in-law Brent
and grandchildren Milla (front) and Will (back)
Anne served dinner Friday night and we settled in to watch The Fifth Element movie courtesy of streaming Netflix.  Because of the freezing weather, outdoor activities aren't an option, so we took everyone to the movies Saturday to see the forgettable Gulliver's Travels with Jack Black. Returning home, Ron presented Will with a favorite book on Magic he'd had as a youngster and showed Will how to do some magic tricks. Will is seven years old and loves Legos and drawing.  He is very talented and many of his inventive drawings graced the wall in the dining room. Vicki drew some pictures with Will, and presented two-year old Milla with wooden puzzle blocks that make animal sounds when put together correctly. Milla is a beautiful little girl.  That evening, Brent and Anne took us for dinner at a new local sports pub restaurant with a very eclectic menu: Prairie Ale House in Eden Prairie, MN. They had a nice bar menu with many hand-crafted beers with nice $4 Happy Hour prices so we tried several, including the hearty Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat Stout.

Will last summer
Anne with Milla in 2010

On Sunday, we decided to head home to New Mexico to beat an impending snow storm.  We got as far as Kansas City before the snow caught up with us.

As we drove on I-35 south of Kansas City through the darkness and heavy snowfall, we saw many auto accidents caused by slippery road condiitons. "White-knuckling" the icy roads, we made it to Emporia, KS to spend the night.  On Monday, January 10, we headed toward Liberal, Kansas via US 54 where the snow had  finally stopped.  Our 4Runner was completely covered with ice, sand and salt by the time we made it home to Sandia Park, New Mexico at 8PM that evening.  We breathed a sigh of relief and settled into our beds, happy to be back home safe and sound.  Ron pledged that we would not be making anymore winter road trips to Minnesota and Iowa again.

No comments:

Post a Comment