Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas from North Dakota!

That's right. North Dakota. Megan, Seth, and I drove 14.5 hours on December 26th all the way up to our friends' house from Wheaton, IL. It was ridiculous. Only twice in my lifetime have I ever heard of United States interstates being shut down. My second experience was yesterday, driving in blizzard conditions. North Dakota issued a travel advisory for the entire state, suggesting that people travel only when medically necessary.

"Interstate 29 has been closed between Fargo and Grand Forks," the North Dakota travel information line, 511, states. It continues, "Roads are closed only when conditions present a serious risk of death to the motorist and roads are impassible." Unbelievable.

We didn't even know that I-29 was closed until we got on to I-29, leaving Fargo, and discovered a giant gate crossing the entire road, with a giant "road closed" sign. Leaving the highway, we stopped at a gas station and talked with a couple of locals, who suggested an alternate route.

We were only an hour and twenty minutes away - if we were able to take I-29 - but now we were tacking on an additional hour. We'd take Minnesota Rt. 75 to Rt. 2, into Grand Forks.

The closer we got, the more I realized that my buddy Dave wasn't kidding: "They don't plow or salt the roads up here. They basically just let the wind blow everything around." The wind blowing the snow over the road played tricks on my mind. It looked like we were driving on clouds. It was tough to stay focused on the road. Of course, that could have been the effects 13 hours of driving.

The snow drifted in to piles on the road. As the car ran in to them, the vehicle slowed and pitched to the left or right. It was an adventure.

And finally, we arrived. Safe and sound.

Okay, it's time for another nap.

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