Thursday, January 29, 2009

Winter Storm - Part 2

Well, I made it in to work today. A trip that normally takes 23 minutes took almost 45, which really was not that bad. I pulled right out of Reba's driveway onto Sherlock Road, and had no problems all the way to Highway 279. I took it slower than I needed to, but I never put weight in the back of the pick-up this winter (since in years past it didn't handle all that well when I put weight in it), so I knew it wouldn't take much to get me slipping. Once I start slipping in that truck, despite learning how to drive in Rhode Island winters, I have no way to stop except a ditch.

Highway 279 was only fair from Bella Vista to Hiwasee. Power was out in Hiwasee (a small place name with a general store, bank, churches, and 50 houses), giving an eerie feeling. I turned onto Highway 72, which was a little better than Highway 279. I was able to get up to 35 mph a few times, but the clear parts of the road were few, with it mostly ruts in the slippery stuff. North of Centerton is a 90 degree turn to the left, super-elevated, and it was fully covered with ice. Three of us took that at 5 mph. The next curve, to the right, was dry. The next curve is to the left (all of these curves are at 1/2 section lines, about 1/2 mile apart), and it was sheer ice. An officer was there directing all traffic off the main road, into Centerton. To do so you have to "climb" the super-elevation. I almost didn't make it, but did, and after that roads were not bad.

I don't know why they closed Highway 72 into Bentonville. The road has two major dips on tight curves, and maybe road conditions were so bad they didn't want people attempting it. Or, maybe a bad accident had occurred to block the road. If so, it was far up the road and out of sight. I can believe either, given the conditions I experienced. But, all drivers were taking it slow, being cautious, keeping good separation between cars, and not being impatient with the occasional bumper-to-bumper.

So I'm at work. The strategic planning meetings that were supposed to take place today, with people coming in from other offices, will happen by video conference if at all. Should be interesting.

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