It was a tough weekend. First is road construction in the Twin Cities. I grew up there and I have never in my life seen road construction like I saw this weekend. If this is all government stimulus money, I will admit it is certainly putting a lot of people to work. It doesn’t matter if your driving city, county or state roads, its unbelievable. And in some cases downright dangerous. Highway 10 Southbound was being repaved begining at Hwy 65 in Blaine Saturday morning. All 4 lanes of Southbound Hwy 10 had to exit and detour at Hwy 65. The backup at 10 am Saturday was almost 3 miles. The dangerous part is people were darting across the grass median in droves to make a very unsafe u-turn and bail on the backout.
Next was the heat. My 2002 Ford Explorer was kicking out about as much air conditioning as it possibly could. With 109,000 miles, 65 mph was all I was asking it to do Saturday on the long jaunt from St. Paul to Bemidji. We rarely take the truck to the cities, and I must admit I am spoiled with the car and setting cruise control at 70.
About 5 pm with storms rumbling through St. Cloud I headed up highway 10. The big decision is always, do I go 371 through Baxter/Brainerd and Walker or take highway 10 up to Motley and over Mn Hwy 64. Everyone says the Motley route is about 30 minutes faster as there is little traffic and few towns to slow up for. The negative is tons of deer and huge areas of no cell phone service (at least with Sprint). It was decision time as I was coming through Little Falls. The radio was screeching a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Crow Wing County (Brainerd) with it being in Baxter at 5:25pm. I decided to go the Motley / Hwy 64 route.
As I worked my way up Hwy 10, the sky quickly blackened. I turned on the radio picking up an FM station out of Wadena, annoucing that a TORNADO WARNING was being issued for TODD County and the possible tornado was approaching Motley. Well isn’t that the frosting on the cake. I knew I had to be close to Motley, and I wanted to at least get into town. But it wasn’t ment to be. The wind quickly came up and sheets of rain slowed us all to about 20 mph. Driving with 4 way blinkers on and wipers full speed, I couldn’t see anymore. Off to the side of the road I joined about 10 other vehicles. The winds buffeted my heavy Ford Explorer, rocking it. Some leaves and small twigs were floating by the windshield. Now the experts always say "leave your vehicle and take shelter in a ditch." I can tell you that’s not as easy as it sounds in a driving rainstorm with my safe ditch filling quickly with water. I stayed.
After about 10 minutes the wind and rain slowed enough for me to try to make a run for town. After driving about 1/2 a mile came what I feared. Hail. Golf ball size hail. No point in driving through this. Back to the side of the road. About every 30 seconds a big "whop". Several hit the windshield and I decided to go in the back seat, just incase the front window broke. I cringed like a 5 year old with every ding.
After about 5 minutes the hail too let up. I proceded off down hwy. 10 and soon discovered I was only about 3 miles from the city. 3 more minutes and I could have been under the protection of a gas station or the Motley Dairy Queen eating a Blizzard.
Life is full of choices. I’m a fan of Seinfeld and there is a show where Jerry talks about the "EVEN STEVEN" concept of life. He claims to Elaine that everything evens out in life. She gets mad and grabs a $20 bill from him and throws it out the window and declares "your not even anymore!" He puts on his coat and reaches in his pocket and finds a $20 bill. I hope the "EVEN STEVEN" thing is true!
editors note: be a fan of supporting ZORBAZ coming to Bemidji. As you know the city refused to change the 2am closing time loosing out on a $6 million dollar South Shore investment including a new Zorbaz. Someone was nice enough to create a Facebook site. Become a fan: tell your friends: