Well....today I was scheduled to take my Mother in law back home after her Christmas visit. She lives around 200 miles away. I was going to drop her off while my wife whipped the house into shape after yesterday's Christmas celebration. One small problem....
We were on the road early....and I mean EARLY (4:45 AM). I figured I'd be back home, 400 miles later, by around 11:30 AM or so.
The incompetent Denver weather forecasters neglected to mention a massive winter storm ravaging the eastern plains of Colorado. We hit snow within the first 10 miles leaving home. No problem, I thought - we'll drive out of it.
After averaging 50 miles an hour for the first hour or so (exceedingly slow for this drive - I usually average somewhere around 75 mph) through light snow in the dark. Before you wonder if I'm a madman...I've literally driven this particular road (all 200 miles) a couple of hundred times. I know it so well that I can tell you when a rancher has added livestock or when farmers are planting....
Soooo. I get to Wiggins Colorado...and notice a sign that says "US34 closed at Otis". What? That can't be! The blowtorch of the Rocky Mountains, KOA 850 AM has only mentioned a highway closure at a small town around 100 miles south of my destination and never mentioned any other highway closures....surely the sign hadn't been updated???
We forged on. Still dark. Wind started to howl. Snow started to come down. Took 30 minutes to go 10 miles. Stopped for a few while the wind let up, decided to go for it and make the last 90 miles or so. Surely US34 at Otis wasn't closed?
By this time it was light out. This is where the Eastern Front reference comes in. Remember all those Eastern Front shots in "World at War" where the camera man captured snow blowing, sifting and drifting across the plains? Well, eastern Colorado bears a distinct resemblance to the steppes of Mother Russia.
While light, that doesn't imply visibility. Made it to Akron...visibility down to around 100 yards. Still kept pressing on....visibility down to around 2 car lengths when we made it to Otis.
Did I mention I have a 4WD?
US 34 WAS CLOSED.
That means - the road is blocked, no passage allowed due to dangerous conditions. Just wonderful. By this time, I'd been driving for around 6 hours through increasingly deteriorating weather. All that stood between me and returning my Mother in law home was around 50 miles of bad visibility highway.
While I love my Mother in law, she's been at our house for a week. Only 50 miles!!!!! I'd have driven through the snow drifts off road to get her home if they would have allowed it!!!
So. That's my story. Stopped at Otis, Colorado. Turned around and came home. I get to be on the road at 4:45 AM tomorrow and do it all over again. The Broncos play at 2 PM tomorrow. I'm getting her home NO MATTER WHAT.
Hitler's Panzers couldn't make it to Moscow. I couldn't make it past Otis. I'm not planning on doing any winter snow scenery for my wargames.