My Worst Blizzard Drive in Minnesota
This blizzard wasn't so bad for me. Stuck at home, doing the show, drinking coffee, writing blogs, not so bad.
But there was one blizzard, one very sudden blizzard...and it was bad. Really bad. This is the story of that blizzard, and the drive I had to make.
Growing up in Sault Ste Marie, MI, I learned to drive in the snow as soon as I had my license. A big empty parking lot, my mom in the passenger seat, and me, intentionally whipping donuts (the rear wheel version of whippin' a sh@#!ty).
When I was 17, my dad and I were driving from Detroit to Sault Ste Marie (about 350 miles) and it started snowing two hours from home. My dad got tired of driving, so I took over just before the Mackinac Bridge.
Have you seen the Mackinac Bridge? It's a five-mile suspension bridge connecting Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. Pretty in the summer, but in a blizzard? I was terrified. So much wind and snow, I white knuckled it across and the next 50 miles home. My dad? He slept. The. Whole. Way.
But that was nothing compared to My Worst Blizzard Drive in Minnesota.
I was driving from Rochester to Fargo on a beautiful winter's day. It hadn't snowed for more than a week and I-94 was in perfect shape. Tunes on the radio, lunch just two and a half hours away, and then it hit.
Just outside St Cloud I drove straight into a blizzard. Huge heavy flakes, gusts of wind so strong I could feel it rock my car, traffic slowed to a crawl. A long line of cars, unable to see, almost bumper to bumper. i turned the radio off...it was weirdly quiet.
An hour in, we're all driving in the ruts from the semis ahead. They're so deep, I could feel the snow hitting the underside of my car. After the first hour, our speed varied a lot. Mostly 25, but sometimes 10, sometimes 40. I kept the radio off. I had to concentrate to see the way. Still so oddly silent.
Five hours after St Cloud, I reached Fargo and no more blizzard. I'd passed easily 20 stranded cars and trucks. Semis off the right side, stuck until the blizzard was over.
One truck, a moving truck, slid off the interstate and tipped on it's side. It must have been an incredible impact, because the trailer burst open, and furniture, appliances, clothes...an entire home was scattered in the field, and quickly disappearing under the fresh fallen snow.
I made it home and I was starving, but too tired to eat. I fell into bed, still dressed. The stress of those hours behind the wheel wore me out more than any workout ever had and I was out in seconds, thankful for the silence now.
I slept 'til the next morning, woke up, and looked out the window at the County Courthouse. It was flocked with the snow that'd buffeted the building all night. My first thought was, "Ohhhh, my blizzard missed me!"