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View Full Version : Over the River...to Grandmother's House We Go


Spavined Gelding
01-02-2003, 06:30 PM
At the out set, I know this is pretty weak and I know that I canít really expect highway departments south of the Snow Belt to be prepared for winter weather of the sort that usually afflicts the upper Mid-west for four or five months of the year, but my experience over Christmas was just silly.

The immediate family, myself, Mrs. Gelding and two adult daughters, all went down to Texas to spend Christmas with my mother and my little sister and her family. We drove. I wasnít willing to put up with the hassle of flying and the train was just impossible since the connections required an overnight in Chicago and in Little Rock. On top of that except for the first and last few hundred miles the whole trip was on Interstate 35ó70 or 80 mph the whole way. The weather report was that we might hit some light snow in Oklahoma and North Texas. No big deal.

We left early Monday, December 23, picked up one kid in Cedar Rapids and another in Des Moines and we were south bound on the four lane by noon. We whipped through Kansas City and onto the prairie without any difficulty and onto the Kansas toll road before dark. We were making time.

Shortly after dark the snow starts. Despite what the weather channel said it was not light snow. It was real snow, wet snow, heavy snow, accumulating at the rate of two or three inches and hour. Driving was a bitch. Slush splashed up on the windshield, wipers going, traffic slowing but still moving at a pretty good clip.

At this point the Kansas Department of Highways stuck its nose into things and immediately transformed hard driving into impossible driving. Do you have any idea how the KDH deals with snow? They donít break out the plows and shove it off the road. They donít just ignore it and hope it goes away. No, they run dump trucks up and down the highways casually spraying a mixture off road rock and rock salt on passing cars. This has the consequence of (1 scaring the bejabbers out of your poster and (2 turning manageable snow into frozen mud. I could not drive any more. My poor old nerves were shattered by the hail of grit broadcast at me by the KDH, the loss of visibility occasioned by repeated layers of snow-salt-gravel plastered on the windshield and the screams and moans of my traveling companions. We stopped at South Harness Buckle, Kansas and laid over for the night.

We turn on the TV in the motel room and are informed that the Emergency Accident Reporting System is in effect. What, you may well ask, is the EARS. It is Kansasís plan for dealing with bad road conditions. It says donít bother us; you are on your own. It is a sort of ďdonít ask, donít tellĒ policy for auto accidents. This news fills us all with a new sense of confidence and security.

The next morning, Christmas Eve, we are off again. Contrary to the apparent expectations of the KDH the salt and dirt treatment did not help. Now we have a roadway of rutted, frozen mud some sex inches deep. The highway department is busy polishing this surface with road graders, those big, slow things you see moving piles of dirt around on construction sights. Not to confine my ire to the great State of Kansas, this situation did not get any better until we were clear of Oklahoma City.

All that aside, there is a certain degree of satisfaction in watching the Okie driving a big wheel pick up who just passed you in a dense spray of dirty slush go spinning into the ditch. At least he wonít have to call the cops. The Emergency Accident Reporting System, you know.

Hanna
01-02-2003, 06:34 PM
Originally posted by Spavined Gelding
... some sex inches deep.

Hmmm. I've never heard of it described like that.

happyheathen
01-02-2003, 07:48 PM
They actually spay dirt on the road, then grade it?!

Heathen scratches two more states from the "acceptable places to drive through" list

Miller
01-02-2003, 07:54 PM
Originally posted by Spavined Gelding
...frozen mud some sex inches deep...


Originally posted by happyheathen
They actually spay dirt on the road, then grade it?!


Jesus, the Freudian slips in this thread are thicker then the snow in Kansas!

Spavined Gelding
01-02-2003, 11:57 PM
Damn, once more, you can't trust spell check. What do I have here, a convention of proof readers?

danceswithcats
01-03-2003, 12:13 AM
It's nice to know they've kept up their abysmal standards. I got stuck in Liberal, KS (don't be deceived, they arent) by a similar storm a few years ago.

But for that experience I'd not have witnessed, the next morning further down the road, the beauty of downtown Hooker.
A lovely little hamlet whose school team is the Hooker Hornytoads.

I don't remember Charles Kuralt reporting on that town. ;)

Miller
01-03-2003, 12:13 AM
"Proof readers do it right!"