Just about every morning, I watch the local news. Mostly, I want to get the weather report. After the weather is the traffic report. The traffic report is always fun for me. They give you times for your commute. “Twenty-eight minutes from Summerville to Downtown Charleston.” Well, that’s not true. I have some friends that live in Summerville and it takes them 28 minutes to get across the town of Summerville. Seems like everyday there is a wreck or some other traffic tie up and they show pictures of cars lined up with red brake lights on and no movement. I’m glad that I live seven tenths of a mile from my work. I could walk to work in 20 minutes. Small town living at its best.
Thanksgiving is the biggest travel season of the year. Millions of people are trying to get somewhere for Thanksgiving dinner and get home again. Airlines, trains, and cars are on the move. November weather comes into play. Snowstorms, thunderstorms, cold fronts and icing conditions cancel flights, make driving hazardous and knocks out power where you want to go.
I’m thankful that I don’t have to travel and be on television as the car stuck in a snowdrift. Mostly, I can walk to Thanksgiving dinner. Usually, a seven-mile drive was about the furthest I had to travel.
I did get into a big Thanksgiving trip one time. Some friends were living in Amarillo Texas. They invited us out for Thanksgiving. This was going to be a big trip. We were going to fly to Texas, get in their van and drive to Las Vegas via the Grand Canyon and be back in Texas for Thanksgiving at their house. This was a long time ago and we were all young and dumb.
What a trip it was. We were in their van cruising through the country. Got to look at the big hole in the ground that took 400 million years to make. We went through the Petrified Forest and rolled into Las Vegas. We played the slot machines, saw a show and then we were headed back to Texas.
Like all things travel we didn’t quite have our time planned out like we should have. It was going to take us longer to get back than we thought. No problem, all of us would drive leg and we would get back home late at night. No. Problem.
We were making good time until we hit some wind. We had a strong head wind and the van would only manage 72 miles per hour. Still, we were headed home on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We planned on cooking a Thanksgiving feast the next morning.
I took over driving about 10 at night. I was going as fast as the van would go. We were wavering between 70 and 72. The traffic had thinned out and there were not many cars on the road. I guess everyone else had made it to Grandma’s. The van had a CB radio and we listened to all the truckers. Finally, the truckers had thinned out and I was listening to two truckers talking about plans for Thanksgiving. The trucks were ahead of me a few miles and occasionally I could see their tail lights. One guy was going to Arkansas to have dinner at his sister’s house. I thought if I could stay with them we would make good time to Texas. Every now and then a car would pass me. They could go faster than 72. Then the truckers started talking about how fast the cars were going. “He won’t last long going that fast.”
Now it seemed like the trucks were slowing down and I was catching them. If the guy going to Arkansas was going 45, maybe I should be slowing down too. There was a reason for slowing down. The road was covered with ice. I slowed down and stayed behind the trucks. Cars kept passing us. Then we started passing those same cars spun out in the median of the highway.
After an hour of this slow driving the ice cleared off and it was back to 72 miles per hour. We made the turnoff and the trucks headed on to Arkansas. That was my one trip to fighting weather for Thanksgiving.
My friends now live in Arizona. We don’t go visit at Thanksgiving. We call them on the phone and talk about sliding on the ice for Thanksgiving. They stay home too and make their kids come to their house.