How do you salvage a planned mini-vacation when the weather decides to sucker-punch you? This is the question Cheryl and I asked ourselves Thursday night just before the worst blizzard of the year hits Minneapolis Minnesota. Plan “A” The Cowardly choice……Cancel. This is tough, because the hotel room was already booked at a good price and we were locked in. Plus, we had been planning this Ikea Trip for a while after the Chicago one. We even canceled another trip in favor of this one. So…..Plan “B” Wait until the storm blows over and they cancel the warnings. Essentially we leave several hours later than planned and let the snow plows do their job while we get an extra hour of sleep. This sounds doable….
It was all great…Until we hit the Minnesota Border! Suddenly, what were clear dry roads became ice, slush bombs. Traffic slowed to a crawl…but the sun was out. The plows were out as well, but their impact was too little too late in most cases. Most of the damage was done and the road crews were scrambling to catch up.
I have never actually seen a jack-knifed truck with my own eyes. I have seen pictures and videos…but never actual trucks on the very roads I was travelling on. Friday changed all of that! Not only was it the first time. It was also the second, third and fourth! I have never seen so many trucks in the ditch before. Even in Michigan, where the snow is blinding, there are many cars and SUV’s that slip off, but it is rare that you see a big truck. I always thought they were invulnerable to white-outs and slushy roads. I never knew what kind of roads were even possible to cause big trucks to lose control like this.
While parked on the highway ( one of several times) I opened the door and tried to step on the road to see what the traction was like. It was one of those slimy covered ice moments. The SUPER slippery type. I could hardly believe we were driving 20 miles per hour on that stuff most of the day. At several points during the trip, we were forced to detour around either an accident or extreme road conditions. On the southbound side, they closed the road completely for several miles! The Snow Drifts were about 8 feet tall ( judging by the top of the front end loader that was employed to remove it. ) The drifts had completely blocked off the highway! According to the weather channel, there were only 25 MPH winds blowing the powdered snow around. But it was enough with the ice and the drifts to cause major problems.
What started out as a 6 hour trip ended up taking 10 hours! By the time we realized that the situation was grave, it was too late….we were closer to our destination than home and the southbound highway was closed off. We were forced to press on. Our Friday plans were shot but we still had the hotel and a bit of Saturday morning we could still possibly salvage.
Very interesting place! If you like pin-ups, Gothic modern art, Pink, real roses, AND donuts…this place is for you! I have always been fond of the “pin-up” art form. A harken back to the nose art on WWII bombers. Some of them were a bit “racy” but still tasteful enough for the artful eye…
The donuts are all hand made from scratch…and you can tell. They are Rich! Heavy full flavored……and Eccentric! Cheryl just had to try the Bacon Chocolate donut. It was quite good! The bacon and maple icing was also wonderful…reminded me of eating pancakes with maple syrup with a side of bacon. I had the Raspberry filled and lemon Cheesecake. I would have liked to try them all, but there was the time, weather, and they were quite satisfying….( i.e. filling) Check out the interior shots of the place!
After that, we headed to Ikea…the original destination for this mini adventure. It was odd, because we suddenly had this time limit on things and uncertainty on how well the roads were fairing. We did not get any furniture this time, but Cheryl had here eye on some knickknacks and I wanted a new lap desk ( which I’m typing on right now, as a matter of fact!) I also did not want to drive home in those conditions with any large items crammed either inside the car or tied to the roof.
In the end, we managed to find a few light moments were we could take a break and catch a little bit of the local color. Airplanes, Vikings, and Dinos are sometimes easily overlooked when you blow through the state at 65 MPH on the interstate. Unless you have to fuel up or take a bathroom break.
We managed to arrive home alive…and in the initially predicted 6 hours of drive time. I never thought I would be so happy to be back in Iowa…..Upon crossing the Iowa border, the roads LITERALLY became clear, dry and AWESOME! We could see an ARMY of snow plows scrapping and salting every last bit of the ice off the roads. I’m sure Minnesota’s crews were spread out all over the state, whereas Iowa only had to worry about the top northern most part. Either way, we were able to catch up some time on the clear roads and settle my turbulent adrenaline system.
While driving there, I rode the roller coaster of emotions… from fear, to anger, to sheer exhaustion and disappointment. I was so thoroughly zapped that I actually felt a “zen” wash over me as we dined at the restaurant next to the hotel. We were able to play in the pool and watch a little cable TV before retiring for the evening to our room. By this morning, the roads were noticeably more improved, but still sloppy. I’m still wondering if it was all worth it….I guess new experiences are like that. You never know if you are in for a good time, bad time, or both. I’m sure a vacation where everything goes smoothly is a rare beast, but it is only possible if you actually risk leaving your comfortable living room and actually set foot outside to find out. I actually thought of all of those times I would go fishing with my Dad. We would often get skunked, wet, sunburned, lost, or break or lose something valuable in our endeavors to find fish. But every now and then, we would actually find a moment and catch a major haul of fish…..and then brag and reminisce about that “one time” were the Perch were ravenous, the Bluegills were on the beds, or the Brown Trout were crammed into the warm waters of Frankfort. You never find those moments if you never get out on the lake.