Toward the approaching storm
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I was getting concerned by weather reports that showed a winter storm on its way that would move cold weather and snow right down to the Deep South. There didn’t seem to be any route I could take that would avoid the storm. The weather reports seem to suggest however, that Wednesday would be too bad and the worst would hit overnight Wednesday night and Thursday.
At breakfast, at the counter in Denny’s, I got talking to an older man, Frank, who was also heading in roughly the same direction as me. He too was at a loss as to which route to take. He lives in Las Vegas but was taking stuff up to his girlfriend in Pennsylvania in the back of his horse trailer. He asked me where I was from, and when I told him to Canada, he had some of the usual questions that Americans have about Canada, even though he had been to Canada. He wondered if Canada is still part of the British Empire, and I explained in simplified terms are peculiar relationship with the British Crown. The subject then turned to guns, and he wondered if Canada was like Britain in that guns were (according to him) illegal everywhere. I explained as tactfully as I could about Canada’s gun laws and the debate between rural and urban, and pro and con. He asked whether our laws really made any difference to crime, and he expressed the view that if someone was going to invade his house he’d rather be armed to defend himself. I just told him I knew the arguments very well on both sides, and I resisted getting drawn into a debate. He was fine and friendly about it.
I was now just trying to make time with the driving and get as far as I could before the storm hit. I aimed to get to Memphis, and I actually did make it to West Memphis, Arkansas. The weather was clear and the drive pretty uneventful as I drove through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and finally Arkansas.
The storm has still not hit by the time I got to West Memphis, but I watched the forecasts, and checked the weather maps carefully, trying to come up with a plan. The forecasts suggested that arctic air was going to bring it very cold weather and snow to parts of the South that almost never experienced it. I dreaded the idea of trying to drive in snow around people unfamiliar with winter driving and with a winter tires in areas that were not equipped with snow plows. The best plan, I thought, would be to drive straight north toward St. Louis, getting to areas familiar with winter as quickly as I could.