The plan was to leave home yesterday, after tidying up from our neighborhood New Year's Eve celebration. The neighbors certainly did their part. After we ate they sprang into action, bringing plates and silverware to the kitchen, putting chairs and table leafs away and doing everything else they could think of to make our getaway plans a reality.
Mother Nature, however, was not nearly so cooperative. As we walked from one neighbor's house to another to savor yet another tasty course in the progressive dinner, the wind howled and the snow swirled. When we awoke yesterday we had about five inches on the ground. Road crews must have been earning double as they rang in the new year with their snow plows all night long. Our roads were fairly drivable, but after checking the weather reports from points on our route, we decided not to leave. It made no sense to drive back into the snow storm that had just left us. When we went to bed last night the temperatures plummeted. By the morning it was a whoppng -3º. Our motor home has a diesel engine and the gas tanks are full of the summer weight diesel we pumped in August. Ken turned on the block heater and crossed his fingers. From the warmth of the kitchen, I could hear the motor struggling to stay on. Just about the time I began to think of alternate plans for the day, it caught. The next problem to solve was the thick ice that had formed on the inside of the windshield. The engine ran, the blowers blew, we finished the final packing and the ice held firm. We wanted to fill up with some water now that our holding tanks had been heated, but the water wouldn't come out of the outlet inside the garage.
It was after 10am before we pulled away from home, peering between the melting ice shards. The roads were almost clear and the temperature began to inch up as we turned south. Tonight we are camped at a KOA.
When I phoned to see if they were open in the winter, I talked to a man who had such a drawl I forgot how each word he spoke began by the time I got past his long vowels to the end of each word. Was he speaking English? Generally KOA's are much too expensive for our geezer budget. But he affirmed that this campground was less than a mile from the highway, has running water, and most importantly an LP connection so we could fill the propane tank which was seriously depleted.
The major snow banks disappeared after we passed Indianapolis, but the forecast for points south is well below freezing. With the furnace running and the electric blanket plugged in, we hope to be ready for whatever Mother Nature has in mind for tomorrow. With the late start today, we'll have to drive much farther to keep the reservations at Ft. De Soto State Park near Tampa. Fingers crossed!