Sunday, February 1, 2015
Another first for us — our first time of being here on a day in February!
Yesterday, whenever Mark came in from the race, he would complain about it being way too hot in the trailer – it was just over 70 degrees – so I turned the radiant heater in the kitchen down to medium and didn’t keep such a roaring fire in the wood burner. The problem was that we forgot to turn the heat back up before we went to bed and the radiant heater in the hall has a timer that we forgot to reset. This meant that at 1:30 a.m. I woke up freezing! Thank goodness for the electric blanket!
I got up with the dogs and let Mark sleep in a little. The inside temperature was 48 degrees!!! Brrrr! I tried messing with the wood burner but could not get it to light and since we were leaving early, I figured there was no point in lighting it just to let it go out again. I turned on the little blower heater and that helped immensely. It was just a smidgen above zero when I put out the bird food and that’s pretty much where the thermometer stayed until we left.
All the usual subjects arrived for breakfast — chickadees, blue jays, white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch, red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, and hairy woodpecker. I didn’t even attempt bird photos. I’m sorry, but 1 or 2 degrees was just a bit too cold to stand on the porch! The black and gray squirrels showed up, too, and I did manage to crack the door open and take a couple photos of the black one but the gray one jumped back up into the trees.
No big breakfast today since we wanted to get packed up and on the road as quickly as possible, hoping to get ahead of the big blizzard. Even so, it is a laborious process re-winterizing the place and with the cold temperatures, we weren’t moving all that fast. Just before getting in the car, we took the dogs for a very short jog up the road. Neither one of us was bundled up heavily, so it was honestly short!
We drove into snow before we even got to I75. By time we reached Saginaw, it was coming down pretty good. Mark opted to avoid the Zilwauke Bridge and instead detoured through downtown Saginaw on 675 – which was in pretty rough shape. That’s where we saw our first accident of the drive. North of Flint the traffic was at a standstill due to another accident. Thankfully we were right at the exit to Clio and were able to get off and take a secondary road that parallels the expressway. We’ve been doing this drive for so many years, we pretty much know every way to get around accidents, road construction, or traffic jams. Mark felt a lot less stressed on the secondary roads, even though they weren’t plowed. I guess he felt more in control of the situation without all the traffic. (Even though there were still way too many people out and about for the conditions!)
South of Flint we got back on US23. These photos – taken with my phone – show the road conditions just north of Brighton. You can still see some of the road.
Twenty five miles later, the road conditions deteriorated rapidly. We got off at the rest area just north of Ann Arbor. As soon as we got out of the FJ, we heard the sirens and saw emergency vehicles going by. We knew this did not bode well, as the S-Curve on 23 where 14 splits off is treacherous even in good weather. By time we attempted to pull out of the rest area, traffic was at a standstill. Again, these photos were taken with my phone so not the best quality, but it shows you that you can no longer see the road. Also, there is a car in the ditch to the right. This was just one of many cars off the road along this stretch but not the cause of the traffic jam. When we finally got moving again, we saw the bad 4-car crash that had caused the back-up.
We got around the S-Curve without incident, but there were more vehicles off the road and another bad crash. We needed to get gas so got off near Ypsilanti and Mark made the decision to avoid the highway for the rest of the trip. From Ann Arbor to Milan it wasn’t bad, but getting from Milan to our house was tricky due to the Raisin River. The road we took was basically a farm road with lots of curves and turns and had not been plowed. Mark handled it like a champ and the FJ is really awesome in the snow – except for the fact that the wipers have a tendency to ice over. He had to stop and put it in 4-Wheel Low at one point, which made handling even better but it meant going was slow. You can bet I was doing a lot of praying!! We were both happy and relieved to finally reach our road and wonder of wonders, we were behind a snow plow for the last 10 miles!
I was also happy because I had gotten word along the way that our local school district had already closed for Monday, so knew I had a snow day to look forward to once I got home safe and sound! 🙂
It took 7 hours instead of the usual 4 to 4 1/2 to get home. I’m so thankful to be blessed with an awesome neighbor with a tractor and he had plowed our driveway before we arrived, right up to our front door!! He also came back again this morning and plowed again. Here are some views of the snow. We got nearly a foot with lots of blowing and drifting.
From the back door.
Mark had to shovel a path and an area for the dogs because Ruby gave herself a tummy ache refusing to go in the deep snow!
And then from the front. See the giant piles of snow from the plow?
Here’s Mark’s little car.
I was surprised he went to work this morning, but he drove the FJ. Our road is in okay shape right now, but word has it that little else in the community has been plowed yet. There’s a chance I could get another snow day tomorrow!