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Ice Capades

Posted by on October 21, 2009
We left Loveland, CO just as it started snowing.  Although we had paid for another night in our campground, we did not want to take any chances the following morning should the roads be too slippery.  So, we went through the painful task of filling the freshwater tank and emptying the grey/black tanks in the freezing cold rain/snow mixture.  It was brutal for us southern folk.
We checked the weather websites to see how far the bad weather reached as we wanted to make sure we drove far enough that night to escape the snow.  We ended up in Limon, Colorado at a Flying J’s…our first overnight at a truck stop!  The snow had stopped so we thought we were in the clear.  Chris shopped around in the truck stop, amused with the random products.  [Warning to family members:  I cannot guarantee that you will not receive a Christmas gift purchased from a truckstop.  Who wants the wood-carved rattlesnake to place on their mantle?]
We settled in for the night, made a nice dinner in the Flying J parking lot, and went to sleep, ready for our exciting drive through Kansas.  I had the route all planned out with the grand finish of a visit to the largest ball of twine. I was squealing with excitement to see this monumental sight.
The next morning, we awoke with a shock.  We had not escaped the weather…we were in the middle of an ice storm.  The temperature was a toasty 13 degrees.  The parking lot was really slippery and our Airstream was covered in ice.  We had accidentally drained our battery during the night.. And, for some reason, our fresh water tank sensor was blinking empty again (?).  Things were not looking so great for us. We quickly made some coffee and got on the road…the very slippery road.
The interstate did not seem too bad at first and we were carefully cruising along, still on track for our entertaining route through Kansas.  And then…we started to slide.  Chris, white-knuckled but somehow remaining calm, regained control of the truck but it was a scary moment.  It took some time for our heartbeats to return to normal. To make matters even more frightening, large trucks kept passing by quickly and each one would cause us to sway a bit.
We decided to get off the interstate and try the back road that we had intended to take…the one that led to the ball of twine.  There, we were able to go even slower and not worry about large trucks.  All seemed fine until we pulled over for a bathroom break and when we stepped out, we realized the road was a complete sheet of ice.  Thankfully, it was a straight road, and we somehow just continued to glide along.
Finally, we got back on the interstate, abandoning our quest to see the largest ball of twine (with sadness) and focusing on making it through Kansas in one piece.  The road remained slippery for most of the morning and the temperatures stayed around 15 degrees.  A trailer being towed in front of us was also sliding along so we kept our distance and moved slowly along the long, straight, flat, surrounded-by-nothingness highway.  It was a really long day.
We were very happy to arrive at Clinton State Park in Lawrence, Kansas, turn up the heat in the Airstream, cook a nice meal, and relax that evening.  While our plans to see some Kansas sights failed, the day was not a complete loss. I discovered additional “world’s largest” items that I will need to see eventually.  Along I-70 we saw signs advertising the world’s largest prairie dog.  And, just when you thought it couldn’t get more exciting…I saw a sign for the largest Czech egg! And, to think that so many people think that there is not much to see in Kansas!
Somehow I landed the glorious task of emptying the tanks in the freezing cold. I'm still trying to figure out how I let that happen.

Somehow I landed the glorious task of emptying the tanks in the freezing cold. I'm still trying to figure out how I let that happen.

We left Loveland, CO just as it started snowing.  Although we had paid for another night in our campground, we did not want to take any chances the following morning should the roads be too slippery.  So, we went through the painful task of filling the freshwater tank and emptying the grey/black tanks in the freezing cold rain/snow mixture.  It was brutal for us snow birds.

We checked the weather websites to see how far the bad weather reached as we wanted to make sure we drove far enough that night to escape the snow.  We ended up in Limon, Colorado at a Flying J’s…our first overnight at a truck stop!  The snow had stopped so we thought we were in the clear.  Chris shopped around in the truck stop, amused with the random products.  [Warning to family members:  I cannot guarantee that you will not receive a Christmas gift purchased from a truckstop.  Who wants the wood-carved rattlesnake to place on their mantle?]

Frozen Blades of Grass

Frozen Blades of Grass

We settled in for the night and went to sleep, ready for our exciting drive through Kansas.  I had the route all planned out with the grand finish of a visit to the largest ball of twine. I was squealing with excitement to see this monumental sight.

The next morning, we awoke with a shock.  We had not escaped the weather…we were in the middle of an ice storm.  The temperature was a toasty 13 degrees.  The parking lot was really slippery and our Airstream was covered in ice.  We had accidentally drained our battery during the night.   And, for some reason, our fresh water tank sensor was blinking empty again (?).  Things were not looking so great for us. We quickly made some coffee and got on the road…the very slippery road.

Ice formed on the Airstream's hubcaps

Ice formed on the Airstream's hubcaps

The interstate did not seem too bad at first and we were carefully cruising along, still on track for our entertaining route through Kansas.  And then…we started to slide.  Chris, somehow remaining calm, regained control of the truck but it was a scary moment.  It took some time for our heartbeats to return to normal. To make matters even more frightening, large trucks kept passing by quickly and each one would cause us to sway a bit.

We decided to get off the interstate and try the back road that we had intended to take–the one that led to the ball of twine–in an attempt to avoid the large passing trucks. Although Chris could still feel the icy road beneath us, it wasn’t until we got out of the truck for a bathroom break, that we realized just how icy the roads really were.   [Although, the pitifully cold quail that slipped across the road the in front of should have been our warning.] Thankfully, the road was straight and we somehow just continued to glide along slowly.

Cold Cows in Kansas

Cold Cows in Kansas

Finally, we got back on the interstate, abandoning our quest to see the largest ball of twine (with sadness) and focusing on making it through Kansas in one piece.  The road remained slippery for most of the morning and the temperatures stayed around 15 degrees.  A trailer being towed in front of us was also having some sliding issues so we kept our distance and moved slowly along the long, straight, flat, surrounded-by-nothingness highway.  It was a really long day.

We were very happy to arrive at Clinton State Park in Lawrence, Kansas, turn up the heat in the Airstream, cook a nice meal, and relax that evening.  While our plans to see some Kansas sights failed, the day was not a complete loss. I discovered additional “world’s largest” items that I will need to see eventually.  Along our route we saw signs advertising the world’s largest prairie dog.  And, just when you thought it couldn’t get more exciting…I saw a sign for the largest Czech egg! And, to think that so many people think that there is not much to see along I-70 in Kansas!

3 Responses to Ice Capades

  1. Lotus

    Holy cold cow in Kansas! That sounds like a really scary drive! I had no idea that Kansas could get that cold in October. Glad to hear you made it safely. Hope the road leads you both away from the snow and ice.

  2. Lani

    Yes, that was too cold for us. We’ve lived in cold places but when just 10 days prior we were enjoying 94 degree weather, 13 degrees was just a bit too much to handle!

  3. Mom

    Kansas sounds interesting – I need to visit more of the US – lotsa “world’s greatest” things to see!

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