Winterscape Driving

Winter Driving

Our view of winter driving before the sun set.

Typed out on Saturday, January 25, 2014:

Since Molly and I are driving in a borderline blizzard, at night, back from Bismarck to Fargo, and since she’s driving, I thought I’d type out some descriptions here while riding shotgun. We’re just passing Casselton, where the famous mushroom cloud rose up out of the northern Great Plains winterscape a little more than a month ago. It’s nearly pitch black here in the car, the only illumination coming from the buttons and dials on the dashboard and headlights from oncoming traffic in the northern, west-bound lane.

We’re keeping it at a steady 60mph, snow blowing thicker and thicker south-to-north across the road. More urgent travelers are passing us in the left lane. When they pass, they kick up the snow starting to drift in the left-lane, and it creates a kind of rooster tail that the wind immediately sweeps north. Beyond the interstate off in the prairie it is nearly pitch black. The illuminated billboards on the right side of the road emerge in the distance out of the blowing snow. As we approach they glow increasingly brighter. In this blowing snow at night, just as we pass the billboards, you can see how they create drift. As the wind hits the flat surface it swirls, and the blowing snow curls up over the top of the signage. All of this is brightened by the billboard flood lights.

On the radio is Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion. Of course, those of us who live on the prairie know Garrison gets his best material from our hour-to-hour reality. It’s good stuff. And we appreciate him for it.

We just passed I-94 Exit 343, and the lights of Fargo brighten, creating that orange pinkish hue through the blowing snow. This grows in intensity the closer we get. That you’re reading this blog entry means we safely made the Saturday night drive. Good weekend to you all.


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