Monday, January 4, 2016

Grateful 365 -- Day 4

I love Nebraska. 
I've lived in Nebraska my entire life so I don't know anything else. 
I've heard others say 'You live in the middle of nowhere.'  or 'There's nothing out there.'
Well I think 'nowhere' is a pretty great place. And I think there is a lot out there! Nebraska is one of the most beautiful states I've ever seen. We have some of the most beautiful sunsets a person will ever see.

We have McConaughy which is a family favorite of most Nebraskans but also a favorite of people in many neighboring states. Its gorgeous beaches and great fishing draw in families all year round. 

Our kids grew up at McConaughy and now our grandchildren are making memories there as well. There is nothing like a hot day of water and sand and sun.
4th of July at the lake is the best!

It's my personal favorite holiday at the lake. 

  And Nebraska has some serious weather. The saying of "You don't like the weather? Just wait a few hours it will change," is so true for this great state. That is one of the many things that makes us special. Nebraskans aren't afraid to travel in a blizzard. Nawww, you just need to drive a little slower on the way home. ** I have a personal story to share with you.**  When our youngest daughter was expecting Jaxon, she had a baby shower planned in Arapahoe which was about four hours from where we lived at the time. My sister and I had planned on leaving early and stopping in the North Platte first before going on to Arapahoe. The weather had forcast a chance of snow and wind (not a great combination for driving). I drove from Bridgeport to Sidney and the roads were awful. Lots of blowing snow and low visibility. All the while I was listening to the radio for updates and road reports. The weather said that the further east I drove the less snow there was. So I thought, Ok, I'm heading east I must be about out of it. By the time I got to Sidney Hwy 30 was closed. Well, I didn't want to turn around and drive 40 miles back home so I drove around the "road closed" signs to get to Logepole where my sister, Shelley, lives. 

Conditions weren't much better by the time I got to Lodgepole. Interstate was closed. After a brief discussion we decided to take Hwy 30 and just see how bad the roads really were. (Because the last 60 miles of low visibility wasn't enough for me. ha!) After all, the weather was still saying that the further east we went the snow had almost stopped. So... we left. We made it 9 miles away to the first little neighboring town and decided to keep going. It became a little more desolate and wide open after that and we knew we were right in the middle of this snowstorm. Visibility was nearly zero. I was driving and Shell literally had her head out the window to see the ditch. Every so often she would shout out, "Come my way a little." or "I think I see some grass." "There's a reflector, we're still on the road."  It was really that bad. We both talked about the chance of running in to someone from behind because we could not see anything. It was just white snow all around us. We had our lights on and our flashers going but it wouldn't have done any good. No one else could see either.  

We wanted to find a place to pull off but literally couldn't see the road well enough to know where to go. After driving for hours with Shell hanging out the window and me gripping the steering wheel and my face in the front windshield Shell hollered, "Turn left NOW"  I turned without even looking. I just trusted her voice. Somehow we had manged to pull into a little path off the main highway. I have  no idea how she even saw the opening. Right in front of us was a Schwan's truck who had also pulled off. We all sat there thinking this storm would surely be slowing down soon. We had been driving for hours and had gone only a short distance. Again, we talked about turning around but thought it wasn't smart to go back into what we'd just driven through. 

Neither of us were scared. Fear of the snowstorm never crossed our minds.  As we were parked we laughed at the situation and knew it would be a story we'd both remember well.

About that time my daughter called and asked if we were going to come to her school to visit her. Well... we said.... We are actually sitting in the middle of a blizzard right now. 

"What??" she asked us. "Are you being serious?"

We explained to her that we were very serious and we were actually thinking about asking the Schwan man for a quick snack from his truck. ha!!

She said the weather was great in North Platte so if we could just get there the rest of the trip would be fine.

We were still seventy miles from North Platte so good weather seemed a way off. 

After sitting on the side road for a while we decided we just had to go so we didn't get caught out there at night. We weren't afraid of the blizzard but neither one of us wanted to spend the night in the car either. 

We hadn't driven two miles in these white out conditions when we suddenly came upon a pickup with a horse trailer stuck right in the middle of the road. Getting him unstuck and getting us around him was quite a trick but we managed. Off we go again...

A few more miles down the road and we hit a "Road Closed" sign again but this time there are State patrolmen stopping traffic. Now that changes things a little bit for us. We're obviously not going to drive around the closed signs with state patrol there. So...we just sit in our car again. 

By this time we are hungry. We hadn't eaten all day and we didn't think to bring food. After all, we thought we would have driven out of the snow long before now.  We told each other that when we finally got to the next town we were going to get a sandwich, even if it was at a gas station. :)

Finally the state patrol allowed us to leave. Hwy 30 was closed so the only route was to head south toward the interstate. As we got closer to town Shell said, "Hey! There's a truck on the interstate! It must be open!  Let's go!"

So we bypassed the sandwich shop and jumped on the Interstate toward North Platte. Within minutes the storm was over and roads were dry. 

Whew!! Once we were on good roads we were in North Platte in no time. I'm not sure anyone believed us when we told them how bad it really was. But we know! I've been in a lot of snowstorms but this far... the worst I've driven in. 

 And yes, I love Nebraska.

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