In our December 9, 2018 post – Dreaming Of A White Christmas – Betty & I postulated that Winnipeg might have snow on December 25. We were not wrong. But how well will we be able to accurately predict the weather for the remainder of our overlandish odyssey? We are now living in a connected world, often able to access the Weather Channel or other on-line forecast as we drive. However, despite all the sophisticated radar models, predictions of upcoming weather still seem to be 50 – 50, so your guess is as good as mine… LOL.
Fortunately when it comes to predictability, the reader might just as well read the December 19, 2017 post – Can’t Wait To Cue Willie – to catch the flavour of our festive Christmas activities. In addition to the school concerts referenced in an earlier
post, Betty & I hosted our family for at least the 30th time at Marigold’s Restaurant, while Andrew hosted the traditional Christmas dinner at his Winnipeg home. Everyone contributed to making a fabulous feast! By the marvels of modern technology, I was able to bring the Queen and her annual Christmas message into Andrew’s dining room before we snapped the Christmas crackers. A great time was had by all!
Back to the subject of this post: It wasn’t quite as cold on Dec. 26/18 as last year, but maybe we were a little more prepared. Our family outfitted us with hand, feet and bum warmers, and we headed into the winter wonderland with a full propane tank to run
our furnace. While fairly well readied, I forgot to consider the need to open my driver’s window at the U.S. border, to hand our passports over to the border officer. The window was frozen shut, so all I could do was smile and wave to the officer. Of course that led to us being pulled over for further inspection, which was relatively quick and painless. Before he left our motorhome, the officer warned us that we were heading into a blizzard, so drive carefully! What adventure would lie ahead?
Because we never know which food items will be accepted or rejected at the border (the officer did make a point of checking our empty fridge and freezer) we planned to stock up and power nap at the new Walmart in Fargo, North Dakota. However, by the time we reached Fargo, the wind and snow had picked up considerably, and we decided to push on rather than shop. Traffic became lighter, and the road became whiter. If not for the fact that the road is straight and flat in that section of the Midwest, we would have had to depart the slippery stuff much sooner. As it was, we were able to reach the Dakota Sioux Casino parking lot, on the border with South Dakota, before calling it quits for the night.
Through most of South Dakota the next day, we had the Interstate to ourselves, with only 3 vehicles passing us southbound, even though I was driving at no more that 45 mph. There were only a handful of hearty travellers heading northbound through the blizzard that day. Usually, the Sioux Falls Flying J is just a quick pit stop for us, but it became our overnight resting place on the night of Dec. 27. (I was about to say that it became our final resting place, but didn’t want to give you the wrong impression. Lol.)
The road was clear by the time we reached Omaha, Nebraska, and we pushed on through Kansas City and Joplin, Missouri to our first actual campsite: Ivys Cove RV Retreat, in the Ozark Mountains just west of Little Rock, Arkansas. Fortunately, as we pulled off the Interstate, we came across a truck wash that did an excellent job of removing all the road slush and grime from both our motorhome and Smart car. I have often had to wash the vehicles myself, with a stack of U.S. quarters (they don’t use loonies or toonies), so was very pleasantly surprised to have a team of 8 men make short work of returning our shines.
Since we had tossed all our freezables inside the motorhome just before we left, this campground has provided the first opportunity to de-winterize (get the antifreeze out of our water lines; fill the fresh water tank; and turn on the hot water heater) unpack, and put things away in their proper spots. As might be expected after driving through a blizzard, one of our levelers began leaking hydraulic fluid when we arrived, and our fridge has stopped working. We are hoping that both involve quick fixes, but the local RV techs are closed until Jan. 2/19, so we might have to hold up here for awhile. It’s a nice enough place and the weather is moderate – not a hint of snow in the forecast – so we’re good to go (or stay…) whither the weather!
Our campsite comes with cable TV, so Betty & I couldn’t resist turning on the Weather Channel. Because we are at the end of one year, about to enter another, the channel featured all the extreme weather events of 2018, with many dire predictions for 2019. If we were still in a “bricks ‘n sticks” home, we’d just have to hunker down until the heavy weather passed. This week we turned the ignition key and kept driving until we left the inclement weather behind. Whether that will be possible on our further adventures, only time will tell. Just like the professional forecasters, we have about a 50-50 chance of an accurate prediction. Let’s hope we all can choose the right half in 2019!