with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Snowbound in Spearfish, South Dakota

My father is desperate now to get home. There is only so fast I can drive, and he is unwilling to take a plane to get home faster. Long story. So I’m now driving almost non-stop, averaging 10-14 hours a day of driving with barely a rest for lunch and cooling the engine of this old class C motor home when it gets too hot. My father complains all the time that we aren’t moving fast enough. Gees.

Anyway, the rain chased us for several hundred miles and finally caught up as we neared Wall, South Dakota, home of a popular tourist stop called “Wall Drugs”, an old pharmacy that took advantage of its lonely situation on a major transportation route to become a popular quasi-destination along the route. We stopped for about 45 minutes to let the engine cool and roared on toward Seattle. Then the rain started pounding us.

I don’t have a problem driving in the rain, but rain and dark on hilly highways where I have to drop to slow speeds to make it up the hill since the engine is being temperamental, I decided to find a place to park for the night. The campgrounds I passed along Highway 90 were still closed for the season. That left parking lots. We found a WalMart with a huge “no overnight parking” sign, so that was out. We finally found a KMart with two motor homes and a truck making a nest for the night. We parked in between them, the rain now coming down in a pounding torrent, the parking lot streaming with little creeks.

Unbelievably, I found an open free Internet connection, so I was happy enough to finally catch up on a little work. My father whined about “What did you ever do before you got one of those things?” which I totally ignored. It’s an old song.

I awoke early the next morning with that feeling of safe, warm, comfort. It’s a very unusual feeling for me. I’d been awake on and off during the night as my father, who sleeps most of the day, battled with sleep in the night, so it wasn’t a well-slept feeling. I haven’t had that for months. This was a familiar feeling of snuggling down under covers against the wet chill of morning that comes with….YES! SNOW!

Motor home with my father in Spearfish, South Dakota, covered with snow on our way back to SeattleI looked out the full length window along the top bunk over the cab and found layers of snow curving in lazy boa shapes along the window. I listened outside and heard a crunching sound of a car or two moving across a crust of ice. I looked outside and was thrilled with white white white white everywhere. SNOW!

It looked like three to five inches of snow had fallen in the night when the driving rain had changed with the frozen temperatures. Total surprise.

The weather report had said rain and fairly clear the rest of the way to Seattle, so this caught us totally by surprise. I lay under my sleeping bag all snuggly warm and just stared out the side window at the Perkins Restaurant next to us, ignoring that and watching the snow frosting on the tree outside my window. A truck pulled in with five or six inches covering it. I couldn’t even tell what color it was. A man got out, bundled to the teeth with big heavy boots on, and the frozen water and snow layer beneath him crunched but did not break with his heavy tread.

We’re not going anywhere for a while. At least until the snow lifts. Then it will be drive drive drive drive. The snow plows are out in force, clearing the highway and parking lots around us, doing their scraping dance. But for now, Lorelle is in snow and happy. Totally happy. Snow. It’s a good thing.

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