The highways are not a friendly place right now

I just got back to Jamestown about an hour ago after a mid-morning run to Fargo for a family errand. I would not recommend the same to anyone else.

I left this morning a little after 7 and made it to Fargo a bit after 9. I drove my 4×4 Dodge pickup, which performed admirably on the trip. I spent an hour in Fargo taking care of my business and was back on the road at about 10 a.m.

On the eastbound trip, the average top speed was about 55 mph. Occasionally, I had to go about 35 mph or less. There were a few psychos out there going 65 or more and I was happy to let them pass.

The scariest moment was when a snow plow going the other way went past. I was downwind, so the snow it kicked up put me in an absolute whiteout for a few seconds. If you have a plow coming at you today, give it room and slow the hell down.

There were a few times here and there when my truck lost grip and tried to spin. It was easy to correct by completely letting off the gas and steering appropriately.

In Fargo, the cleanup after the storm still had a lot left to be done. There were many streets in town where I had to engage 4-wheel drive to get through. To be fair to the crews there, the storm left Jamestown much sooner than when it left Fargo.

Conditions were better for the return trip west to Jamestown. I was able to go at about 60 mph in some stretches, but frequently had to slow down. I counted six vehicles on the return trip that had gone off the road, including two semis in the median and a poor fellow who looked like he’d started spinning his vehicle on a bridge and struck a guardrail. He was sitting in his vehicle, which was pointed west in the eastbound lane,  looking like he was waiting for the patrol to come.

The hardest parts where the curves in Valley City, where I came closest to losing control and going into the ditch, and any time I was climbing a steep hill.

I also noticed that the north side of each set of lanes tended to accumulate more ice then the south side. The wind was coming out of the north and blowing snow over the road, and the crowns were catching more of it on the north side. This led to the majority of westbound traffic using the left lane and forcing passers to take the more slippery right lane.

I made it back to Jamestown in once piece a bit before noon and got to work in short order.

If you’re thinking about making a trip on the highway, ask yourself if you really need to make this trip.

If you must, make sure your vehicle is stocked with a good emergency kit, a full tank of gas, a fully charged cell phone and some good reading material. The odds are good that you’ll have some time to kill while waiting for the tow truck.

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