Adventures on I-90   2 comments


Mishap on I-90

Originally uploaded by Lady Birchwood

Last Friday, we set off from our home in the Twin Cities to travel to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where our 22-year-old grandnephew attends college. He is a senior at Augustana College and has been a member of their choir since his freshman year. Every year, we have said that we’re going to make it to Sioux Falls to hear his Christmas concert, and every year my husband’s business travels have taken priority over the Augustana Christmas concert. This year, mostly due to Ecolab’s budget constraints, Dale is home the entire month of December and the trip to Sioux Falls actually happened. Good thing, too, because the boy is graduating this spring!

A lot of folks would have thought twice about the trip, though. A weather system was moving eastward on Friday, expecting to dump anywhere from 4 to 10 inches of snow on the Twin Cities by Friday night and into Saturday. We were heading in this storm’s direction Friday morning. We were going to Sioux Falls this December, thank you very much!

The sky got dark and gray a couple of hours into the trip and snow flurries danced in the air. The snow didn’t appear to be accumulating on the highway, but the wind was blowing what there was across the road in thin, wavy tendrils, nothing to stop its easterly trek across the flat plains of western Minnesota. Even though the interstate seems to be clear and dry, we hit some very slippery patches going underneath bridges. Then, about a mile from Fairmont, we suddenly hit an icy stretch that seemed to come out of nowhere for no apparent reason. The truck went into a skid, turning sideways so that the nose was facing the median, and we skated down the interstate that way for maybe 50 feet. Dale wrestled with the truck and got it out of the skid. We were facing the right direction again, but there was no traction to be had. We went off the right side of the road, over the ditch and up onto the bank, coming to rest almost against the fence that ran along a field.

I was silent through this whole crazy ride, never making a peep, but when we finally came to a stop, I felt a tingling in my arms and hands and experienced a moment of lightheadedness. Fortunately, it passed quickly and relief flooded over me that we were safe. There were tufts of grass poking out of the snow along the highway and we both figured that we’d catch our breath and drive right back onto the road.

Wrong. We were in a snowdrift about 18 inches deep next to that fence and we weren’t going anywhere easily. Dale took the shovel from the back of the truck and started to dig. Another motorist pulled over to the side of the road, got out with his shovel, and both of them dug. Several tries to drive the truck out of there were unsuccessful. A State Highway Patrol stopped and told Dale, “Just let me know when you’ve had enough digging and I’ll call a tow truck.” Dale finally gave up trying to get the truck unstuck and had the Statie call a tow truck.

A tow truck with Big Richard written on the side soon pulled up. Big Dick was at the end of his cable to reach the truck while still staying on the road himself. Eventually, he got a good hold on the back end of the truck and pulled us out butt first. Then he wanted $85 in cash. No credit cards because his machine wasn’t working. I asked if he’d take a check. He said, “Not if I don’t know ya.”

I wanted to say, “You just pulled our ass out of a snowbank. You know us now!” However, Dale and I both opened our wallets and managed to come up with $85 in cash. I think that was all we had save for a few coins laying around. Big Dick got paid and we continued on our way. Carefully. In four-wheel drive.

All’s well that ends well.

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Posted December 8, 2010 by StPaulieGrrl in Minnesota, travel

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2 responses to “Adventures on I-90

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  1. Holy crap, Bonnie! I got a tingling feeling just reading this. I can imagine how you must have felt. So glad it worked out, though. If anything ever happened to you… Oh, I just got a terrible shiver…

    Love you! ((hugs))

  2. I’m glad that the experience turned out to be a gentle reminder to slow down, put the truck in four-wheel-drive and take it easy. It ended up to be a lesson that cost us $85 and a half-hour or so delay on our journey. It could have cost us much more! Life-altering changes can happen in the blink of an eye, and sometimes it’s good to remember that.

    Love you, too, Lottie.

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