Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day #21: Tulsa tonight

Today is the first day of spring ~ and I suppose in some parts of the country, it looked like it ~ but NOT where we were traveling! We had spent last night in Amarillo and I had looked through our AAA Texas Tour book and noticed that just up the road about 35 miles was a little place named Groom where one of the largest crosses in the nation has been erected. I thought perhaps Grandpa Jones and I could stop there and take a look around. After all, our tour book said you could walk around the grounds, look at a replica of the Shroud of Turin, see life-sized bronze sculptures of the last hours of Christ ... all for a small donation.

However, the weather channel was very accurate about today's weather ~ Amarillo didn't exactly receive the 6-8" of predicted snow ~ where we were, there was about 3" this morning ~ but the temp was in the low 20's, the wind was gusting, there were white-out conditions, the highway was sheer ice (but not smooth ice, the frozen slush kind of ice ~ so it was all uneven and bumpy ... but still very slippery) ... so we passed by Groom and will just have to visit it on another trip.
I think if I had realized HOW wild and crazy the conditions were out here today, I would have begged to stay safe and warm at the hotel in Amarillo. But as we gazed out the front door of the hotel, it didn't look so terrible ... so we ventured out!
We finally got out of Texas and crossed the Oklahoma state line a little after 10:00 this morning. It was very slow going. The speed limit is 70, but we were averaging about 45 mph. There were many cars and trucks with Oklahoma and Texas license plates that were actually speeding along ... but we avoided those people as much as we possibly could ... we did find several of those folk who had zoomed past us down in ditches further up the road.
This is NOT the kind of snow that I find beautiful. In fact, it was kind of terrifying in places. However, any of you who know Grandpa Jones and have snickered at how slowly he drives, must be told that he is an extremely SAFE driver ... so I really was glad he was behind the wheel. I would never even consider taking the wheel in these conditions. I took a few pictures of the folk who did NOT stay on the road ...

I lost count ... really ... of how many vehicles slid off the road. We witnessed a NEAR slide-off just in front of us that nearly took my breath away, but somehow the fellow was able to regain control of his car and stay on the road. We stopped in a place called Clinton to eat lunch and freshen up a bit at about noon and then it took another two hours to reach Oklahoma City. We sailed through that stretch of road pretty easily because near the bigger cities, the roads had been plowed and were much drier. However, as we neared Tulsa, the snow was starting to pick up again, the roads were getting slicker all the time ...
... and at about 4:00 this afternoon, we decided to call it a day! We are very thankful we had a safe day. We had wanted to make much better progress, but had to face the fact that we were just plain tired out from fighting the wind and the ice. I think Grandpa Jones is pretty exhausted. Tulsa is presently under a winter storm warning until about noon tomorrow. They say they have received nearly 6" of snow (although it looks more like 3-4" at the hotel), but expect another 3-6" over night. We'd appreciate your prayers as we travel.



Grandpa Jones said...

The "Near slide off car" was actually a Red Pickup Truck. He began fishtailing two cars ahead of us (about 15 - 20 car lengths). He managed to go back and forth between the two lanes of traffic two times before recovering and driving to the next exit where he exited the highway.

Another sporty car with a spoiler on the back went by us 20 minutes later and I almost asked Carol to snap a before picture of the car. I didn't and so fifteen minutes later when he was standing beside his car in the median on his cell phone, Carol didn't bother to take an after shot either.

One interesting sight was a small U-haul type trailer that looked like someone had parked it in the median. Carol commented on it and ask why someone would park it there. She didn't see the car that was way down in the bottom of the median (the two sides of the road were separated by quite a distance with a deep ditch in between at that location.

Emily said...

I hope tomorrow is better!

mom and dad hand said...

Terrible driving conditions. It's
like that enough in Michigan. Who
needs it on vacation, huh. Be safe
and God Bless.

sabrina said...

Be safe!!!!