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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Do We Get Around Winter Storm Q?????

Feb 18, 2013--Comfort Inn Rm 228 LaVale, Md

Slept like a log last night until 311 am when I woke up for a drink of water and then back to sleep until the mournful sound of a train whistle at 6:30 ish. I love the sound of trains and very much miss it. The sun was rising above the mountain opposite our room in Binghamton--- how in heaven's name did I put a "p" in that town's name?? Too many British programs, I'm thinking.

We gathered our few belongings, headed down to breakfast and were on the road by 8:30. While I was getting ready this morning the pilot was listening to the Weather Channel--not my favorite forecaster--I prefer local channels. Nevertheless, the pilot and navigator discussed the combined predictions over coffee and decided that the Carlisle, Pa route west through Indiana and Illinois would probably result in running smack dab into Q on its Eastward track. So, despite the fact that we could not avoid the Pa highlands after Scranton-Wilkes Barre corridor that we would continue South to Hagerstown and into Md where we would turn Westward. The hope, of course, to run below the worst of the storm and swing Northward again after Kentucky and up toward Corder, Mo.

So off we went, 32 degrees and already clouding up. We managed to follow the signs this time and not have to find our way back from the Rte 17 branch that the pilot took in error last year while the navigator chatted with her 89 yr old aunt. It seemed safe to do since this is a route we've taken over and over again. The navigator did not make the same assumption this year--so not only did we find the Binghamton motel with ease last night but we also departed Binghamton going in the right direction and to Scranton with not a hitch.

The Scranton-Wilkes Barre corridor is usually horrible--either snowy, or trafficy, or clogged by an accident. The gods were with us this year--no snow, it was before 10 am so the stores were not open yet nor was it rush hour and we passed through on a Tuesday rather than a Saturday or Sunday.  It was a breeze. If only the same could be said for the highlands to come. Never --Never--Never do we go across them without a blizzard and this year was no different. I put in our newly compiled CD of travel songs, I looked to the side of the car, providing there was not a huge drop off and amused myself with pictures of my feet and the temp gauge and reviewed the words to the Hail Mary multiple times--silent prayer, of course.

At last, we arrived at Harrisburg and a rest area. I put on my grippers and got into the ladies' room. As I was washing my hands an older lady--actually, I think we were of the same vintage--asked if I'd listened to the weather report. I told her not since earlier this morning but that the worst was most likely over and that now, at a lower elevation, we would probably encounter rain. She said she could handle rain and I said yes, that the past few miles had been a bit stressful.

Bill and I returned to the car and I looked up a motel in Md for the night. We decided on Cumberland. It was now around noon so we happily made a picnic of cheese, trisquits,pepperoni, a Swedish orange soda and some nuggets of dried pineapple. I called the motel and in the process missed a shot of a jack-knifed North bound semi and the larger than life Pittsburgh paint can. The rep from the motel company offered me a room for 105+--I demurred-he said well, that's a suite but I have a regular room for 84+--said that was fine.

The temperature rose as we progressed Southward and then Westward--finally reaching a high of 52 degrees. Skies cleared and clouded--in various stages. The surrounding countryside was sometimes totally devoid of snow or any evidence of winter and at other times icy and/ or snow covered.

As we traveled along I 68 in the distance we saw what is so often referred to as a Gap. It is easy to see where there are cuts between mountains, even in Vt--but in Md, Va, WV etc the word Gap is much more specific. One can see how the peoples in this area chose paths Westward or how the Armies of the North and the South chose marching grounds through these Appalachians and surrounding foothills. They are so distinct and so visible from great distances. In time, we passed through the Gap at Sidelong Mountain. Truly impressive.

Just as we approached Cumberland and our exit the skies opened up with torrential rain. So in one day we experienced every type of precipitation and huge temperature fluctuations in a fairly short time. When we checked in I asked if any upgrades were available and lo and behold we have that suite at regular room rates. It so pays to be a frequent customer. Nice.

Got our stuff into the room and went next door to Texas GrillHouse -- I had the delicious sirloin with salad, broccoli and cab--Bill had chili, a house salad and Coors light. Turns out we ate there two years ago on the way home and Bets called me that time and I took the phone outdoors to chat.

Upon returning to our room Bill checked the weather--don't think we are going to miss Q--even having tried an end run.  It looks as though northern AK and southern Mo are going to be hit by an ice storm. Oh, well, I have a book--we might have to wait it out somewhere. It is, after all, February. And last I knew we didn't have any deadlines to meet.

For now, I'm warm, full and TV is good tonight--NCIS and NCISLA and White Collar? or something. Also, that whirlpool tub is calling my name---so, buddies, catch you tomorrow. Take care--KandB

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