I made the decision early not to come home for any Thanksgiving dinner. With Mom and Dad both gone now, and their house for sale, at best it would be very different this year. When I left the farm for Tulsa, I literally packed the car in a half hour. It was time to go back now and finish packing.
I worked the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and decided I'd hit the road early Thanksgiving morning. Wednesday was extremely warm (80 degrees) for Tulsa and some thunderstorms blew through around 10pm. When I awoke the next morning it was 31 degrees. There was a thin layer of ice on the windshield. I stopped at a QuikTrip on the edge of town and get a big 32-oz drink and some peanut butter crackers...the breakfast of champions! As I exited the store I felt something pelting me in the face...ice pellets. Swell.
I proceeded up I-44 keeping a watchful eye on the sky and the thermometer which was teetering between 28 and 31 degrees. The weather turned to freezing rain, and I had to crank up the defroster to keep the windshield from freezing. About 3 hours into the trip, I reached Springfield, MO and pulled off to use the internet at a restaurant. The weather seemed to be travelling right up I-44 with me, but it looked as though I would eventually drive out of it.
I got some fuel at a gas station and while I was filling up, I took the opportunity to give my wipers a bounce to shake the ice off of them. The driver's side cleaned up nicely with a bounce and a couple hits from my ice scraper. I then proceeded to the passenger side. I bounced the wiper blade which cracked in half. Damn! I had noticed a clicking sound all the way, but just ignored it. There was no way I was going to drive with a broken wiper. Now I was going to have to find wiper blades on Thanksgiving Day. To top it all off, the wiper blades were just replaced three weeks before. Friggin' Wal-Mart crap!
Luckily there was a Wal-Mart right next to the gas station. I stormed into the store, mad as a hornet. One worker asked me if they could help me find something. I replied that I knew EXACTLY where I was going as I headed to the automotive department. I hadn't taken the time to determine if it was the short wiper or the long one that broke, and I wasn't going back to the car to check it. I bought both sizes and went out to the car. Luckily, it stopped raining for a few minutes and I got the wiper replaced. I didn't replace the driver's side...because it was only THREE WEEKS OLD. Grrrrr. I threw the bad wiper in the trash can and the other new one in the back seat and headed back to the interstate...an hour later.
A friend called me when I got around Rolla, MO and he checked the weather map for me again. He too thought that I would eventually drive out of the messy weather. About an hour later, I pulled over at a rest stop for a power nap. I woke up twenty minutes later. It was snowing. Crap! The snow continued all the way into St. Louis. When I got to Illinois, it stopped snowing. I had no precipitation at all for about a half hour. Then the monsoon started. I had a heavy rain all the way to Effingham, IL. I stopped again for gas and told my friends in Terre Haute that I'd be there in an hour. By then it was dark and almost impossible to see. I got behind a semi truck and followed him all the way to Terre Haute.
I finally arrived at my friends' house 11 hours after I started (it should take 9 hours). I ate some leftovers and was in bed by 9pm.
I slept in the next day and then headed to the farm. I wanted to run some errands in my hometown but found that Black Friday is not the best day to do this. Even all the government offices were closed. So I went to eat lunch at my favorite restaurant, Frank & Mary's. I spent the rest of the weekend packing and taking stuff to my storage locker.
I later found my original receipt for the windshield wipers I bought three weeks prior, in Indiana. You guessed it; I bought the same damn wipers in Springfield, MO. I will say though, that they sure took a beating with all the rain I drove through. And seeing that it was now prime Christmas shopping season, I didn't bother to return them either.