“Frozen Highways” by Chad Robert Parker
No where that I have lived has snow plowing and snow driving figured out quite like Minnesota does. You can build a snow man the first snowfall that won’t melt for 6-8 months later, yet I rarely saw a snow day to allow us to take off from school.
Utah has light fluffy snow that is great for skiing. The snow rarely stays in the valley for more than 2-3 weeks and there are only a handful of days each year where driving is tough. It seems like the drivers forget from year to year how to keep control without sliding off the road with the first snowflake.
Indiana has the chance for lots of snow days in rural areas where plows are few and far between, but even worse where the wind blows freely across unobstructed flat farmland. It can easily get packed down and make for icy roadways. The cold days are somewhere between Minnesota extremes and Utah’s mild flurries, but one time the whole freeway froze over.
I’m not talking about black ice. There was literally a 6-inch frozen ice layer stretching from our little town in Covington, Indiana for 8-10 miles or so to the Illinois border. Cars and trucks were backed up even farther. It was like a 4-6 hour crossing because no one was moving most of the time. Most people were outside of their cars talking. Many were making snowmen.
We tried to go to the family warehouse that day and put in a few hours work. We tried to take the backroads to our Illinois place of business. It did not work out. The back way was also backed up. I remember a trucker was handing out food from the back of his truck because without his truck running he couldn’t keep it fresh anymore anyway. By nightfall it started to get cold. We enjoyed a snack or two before we realized there was no chance we would be going to work. We returned to the comfort of home and the warmth of a fire.
There was still a line of traffic not moving on I-15 the next morning.