We finished the last newspaper of 2021 prior to the Christmas holiday. By the time the newspaper went to print I was in Amarillo, Texas (feel free to start humming the George Straight song “Amarillo By Morning” any time now). By the time you received your newspaper I was somewhere near the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, or sitting by a pool trying to figure out how much of a temperature difference it was between where we were in Texas, and back home.
Now, this column I am starting somewhere around Des Moines, Iowa, and by the time it is finished, I will undoubtedly visit with many of you in person back home near Deer Creek. Along the road there are several vehicles in the ditch, a handful of which look like they had rolled several times. Meanwhile, my children are in the back seat as we talk about all of the snow that we received while we went on our somewhere impromptu trip to Texas. If anyone thinks that may be a strange set of circumstances you clearly don’t know me very well.
A few weeks ago Dani and I were sitting at our desks at work and she brought up the idea of taking a quick trip to the Grand Canyon. Neither of us have seen “the big hole in the ground” as I termed it with the help of others, but we both felt the need to get away for a few days. We hadn’t been on a family trip, other than a long weekend here or there, in almost three years. This job, while rewarding, can be challenging at times and sometimes a break out of town is the only way to get away from the grind of getting out a weekly newspaper and navigating a handful of critics.
We left on Sunday night from my hometown, only to drive through the start of what would be a huge winter storm in this area. We finally made it to the middle of Nebraska in the middle of the night when we quickly learned that our trip would be detoured a bit due to a huge storm that was scheduled to hit the Four Corners Monument area, Grand Canyon area and everywhere in-between (forecasters were predicting up to 9 inches of snow in some of the communities we were planning to stay in).
On Monday morning we quickly changed our plans and decided, why not Texas? After all, if we wanted to be stuck in a snow storm we could have just stayed home over Christmas.
So off we went to the wild dark wonder of what would be Texas (I say dark because at night it is like being in a black hole of nothingness in the northwest part of the state).
We made quick stops in Amarillo, Texas, and improvised a bit as we saw a place dubbed “The Grand Canyon of Texas,” as well as the Eiffel Tower of Texas in Paris.
Any impromptu trip wouldn’t be without its quirks. For example, unbeknown to us, the Alamo Bowl between the University of Oklahoma and University of Oregon was going on at the same time as when we were in San Antonio. For a while I thought we were being invaded by the state of Oklahoma as thousands of their fans flocked downtown San Antonio. There was also another winter storm that went across the middle of the country during our planned trip back home.
The storm, which was called winter storm Frida, was suppose to shut down the middle part of the country as several inches of snow and ice fell on Kansas and Iowa. We had to stay an extra night in Missouri on our way home, but by Sunday afternoon the storm seemed to be a dud, for us Minnesotans at least. Sure there were a few serious accidents, but 3-5 inches of snow is nothing more than driving 50 mph on the highway instead of 65 mph and a nuisance for having to shovel the sidewalk in Minnesota.
I guess I also didn’t realize the Weather Channel actually named winter storms. To be honest we are so used to getting snow up here that I just have come to take for granted that people don’t think it is normal to get 5-6 inches of snow at a time.
The lady at the front desk at one of our hotels almost seemed dumbfounded when I told her that we received over a foot of snow in the time since we had been gone on our trip.
Anyways we are glad to be back in the frozen and snow covered state of Minnesota, where people are used to driving in all conditions and the light shines a little brighter. Maybe that’s because we are closer to the North Star.