Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another world

We had planned an orderly return to Florida - it was anything but ... We had booked a hotel room for Monday night, having planned to leave early Monday morning, and then finish the remainder of the trip on Tuesday. However, when I did a final check on en route weather conditions Sunday afternoon , I found that a major winter storm was expected for Monday. We decided to try to outrun the storm.

The car was hastily packed with items my wife had already set aside. A last check was made, Sasha eagerly jumped in the car, and we were on our way by 5:00 pm. The journey proceeded uneventfully and by 05:00 the next morning we thought our quick departure was paying dividends. Not so. At the same time, we both thought we saw some snowflakes and mentioned it to each other. Couldn't be, we thought - we were in North Carolina where snow is supposed to be rare ! Sure enough, the few flakes quickly changed to a full-blown blizzard !

In no time the roadway was covered, and before long we came across cars that had slid into the median or ditches along the interstate. Lane markings were covered and we judged where we were based on hearing the rumble strips along the shoulders. Fortunately there was little traffic at that time. We searched radio stations for weather updates, and these indicated that later in the day worse was expected further along our route, in South Carolina and Georgia. We decided not to stay in SC as planned but to head further south.

We 'plowed' ahead through the snow, which eventually became freezing rain, and finally rain - which turned the fallen snow into a thick, steering wheel-grabbing slush. After 5 or so hours of this winter driving, the roads were finally clear of snow, slush and ice, and we proceeded in the rain. I needed a few 1/2 hour catnaps along the way to prevent open-eye hallucinations. After awaking from my last catnap in Jacksonville, FL, I felt like Rip van Winkle emerging from a long long sleep - the weather was quite warm (21C/70F) and the sun was shining. The ice that had accumulated on the car was long gone as was all the salt which had been washed off by the rain. And, after 27 hours on the road, we made it !

Today I spent some time pulling weeds out of the lawn and did my best to prevent getting a sunburn ! Here's an example of some I pulled. Oh, I checked it out - it's known as Emilia fosbergii, or Red Florida Tassel Flower.

(60mm  f5.6  1/60 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f11  1/80 sec  ISO200)


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Your travel does not sound like fun.I drove a short distance in a blizzard on Friday,so I can understand the difficulty.The weed is sure pretty.

Cicero Sings said...

When I was a young thing we did a straight through trip to southern California -I said never again - and I wouldn't either. When i married D I was glad that he was of the same mind. We would aim for good travel days and the road less traveled -- no freeway blitzing if we could help it.

Krista said...

Wow! You travel as much as I would like to. :o) I am so glad that you arrived safely! Take good care!

Scott said...

You didn't say if the white of your knuckles had dissipated also. So glad you made it safe and somewhat sound.

Carolyn Ford said...

That sounds very intense! Wow...but, look at the beautiful weed flowers that were waiting for you! Nice macro...in fact VERY nice macro, Rick! Please stay put for awhile and stay safe!

Gabriela Pana said...

very nice...

ju-north said...

Sounds like nightmare of a journey but pleased you made it . Enjoy the sun and send us more flowers!

darlin said...

Rick, you are a true blue Albertan... we're the only ones crazy enough to brave that sort of crazy making weather when we're on a mission! Even if you weren't born here in AB, your life here instilled this trait in you I do believe! :-)

I'm glad that you made it though the nightmarish roads and and horrific weather and got to your destination unscathed.

Quite the storyteller you are, you had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn't read fast enough to find out that you made it. (Now about that book...) I should have just looked at the photos... sheesh! Which by the way are magnificent shots, only you Rick can make a weed look so incredibly beautiful.

Take care and welcome home! :-)

M. Hassan said...

Did you change the name of your blog? I like the new name.

The blur in both photos are gorgeous & the sharpness on the flowers is just perfect.

Well done!

Farmchick said...

This actually sounds like a terrible journey! Glad that you guys made it safe. Ohhh....to be in danger of a sunburn right now!

marty said...

cher Rick, vous avez pris beaucoup de risques
pour trouver la chaleur, le soleil et ces
belles fleurs ! beau séjour et plein de
bisous !

joey said...

Nice to catch up, Rick. Happy New Year :)

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Gosh by that time I"ll be flying over your home back to mine again...gladd you're safe though. Do send some sun this way my friend.
Wonderful weeds and hugs Dag

imac said...

What a brave chappie you are Rick.

Great tale, with my tail between my legs.lol

Tricia said...

I'm so glad ya'll made it safely... especially driving 27 hrs... good gracious!!!

Your flower pics are ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! I l♥ve the lighting & the bokeh is extraordinary... perfect shots!!! =)
I'll definitely be working on the this spring!

SUNBURN?! Lucky you! We're gettin frost bit up here in SeMo (Southeast Missourah) LoL! =)

Tricia said...

PS Your lawn weeds down there are very pretty! =)

The Whimsical Gardener said...

I'm so glad you made it safe and sound...your story was stressing me out - I can only imagine how you and your wife felt! Your weed is lovely...some of my favorite flowers/weeds are the yellow ones that bloom in the fall behind my fence. I anticipate their arrival every year!

Soraia B. said...

Wonderful :D

Rick said...

Thanks Ruth - yep, not much fun at all; this time the fun had to wait till we got through.

I hear you Cicero - our plan was to take our time over 2 days; circumstances blew that plan up :(

Thanks Krista ! We're pretty glad we made it in one piece too !

Ha ha Scott ! I'm from Canada, eh ! A few inches of the white stuff just gets the adrenaline going - and in a blizzard - just a bonus ;-) But truthfully I'd have just as soon had a nice sunny ride down. And thank you.

Rick said...

Thank you Carolyn - I think these were my 'reward' at the end of the journey. We hope to stay here for a while and just r e l a x.

Thank you Gabriela !

Thanks Julia - I'll post a few more - just for the snow-bound ! Hope yours is melting now.

Thank you Darlene ! I'll have to tell you about our last trip to Alberta for a wedding in Canmore in April 2003 when Calgary got 60cm of snow - other than family who had gone the night before, we were the only guests ! (maybe I'll write a short story about it ;-) We were glad to make it here though !

Rick said...

Thank you M ! Glad you like the name, and today's shots. At least I could lie down on the grass here - would have been tough back home !

Thanks Farmchick ! Yes - not one of our better trips - I can do without the drama. Oh - I did move to the shade occasionally, but no worries today - it cooled off quite a bit !

Marty - it's all worth the risk in the end ! Merci et some bisous sans risque for you :-)

Rick said...

Thank you joey - and all the best to you too !

Hi Dag - just wave when you go over ;-) I'd send some sun but it's a little cool right now. Groetjes, Rick

LOL Stewart ! We have to be made of stern stuff 'cause blizzards are a regular occurrence in Canada - we just grip it and rip it ! ;-)

Thank you Tricia - even the weeds are 'exotic' down here - although these are really tiny flowers (which is why I like macro - see things you otherwise couldn't).

Rick said...

Thanks Cat - yes, we didn't need the blizzard to make a long trip just a little more stressful, but what doesn't kill you ... I agree fully about 'weeds' - some of them are really beautiful (I had a large print made of one and hung it).

Thanks Soraia !