Monday, February 6, 2023

A Journey of 283 Miles Begins With a Single Stress

We had been planning our casino trip since the beginning of January. My sister the ex-mayor's wife sent me a text to see if we wanted to join them on an Oklahoma casino excursion. We had to wait until word on Hick's back surgery, but once that date was set, we made our casino reservations. Technically, I made our reservations after Sis reminded me twice.

Of course the day after I made them, Sis called to say that since a snowstorm was coming, they'd decided to put off the casino trip for a week. So I had to cancel my reservations, and schedule again. The 8 inches of snow arrived a day later than expected. We probably could have made it. I don't think Oklahoma got nearly that much snow.

Anyhoo... a new ice storm rolled in the Sunday before we were scheduled to leave on Tuesday. All the schools between here and there were closed on Monday. Sis said she thought the highways would be clear enough, once we traveled the 80-or-so miles it takes us to get to the highway. Hick was game, so off we went. Even though I had questioned Sis about a new snowstorm I heard about that was coming in on Tuesday. One that would put us in the middle of it about halfway there.

Sis said she never heard anything about a new snowstorm. She looked up the weather, and said it only called for snow showers, less than an inch of accumulation. With them in their 4WD truck, and us in AWD A-Cad, it shouldn't be a problem.

We were giddy with excitement when we met to start the journey. Our high spirits continued when we stopped in Genius's college town for lunch at Lee's Chicken. So giddy was I that I didn't even get a picture of everybody's meal! Only my own:

That's some good chicken! I had asked for a 2-piece dark meat dinner, but for some reason the gal gave me a 3-piece. I'm sure we paid the price. Anyhoo... chicken in the picture appears larger than it is. As do the giant-seeming containers of SLAW and mashed potatoes. The meal was tasty. This lunch stop is part of our casino ritual. Sis's choice, not mine. At least I didn't slam my leg in the car door like the last time we were here...

We continued down the highway, on schedule to arrive at the casino at check-in time. The bright sun slowly gave way to an overcast sky. Indeed, the first 158 miles of our journey were uneventful. At that point, we stopped at a rest area just before Springfield. That's my ritual, not Sis's. In fact, she remained in the truck as Ex-Mayor, Hick, and I dashed in to "rest" ourselves. When we came out, 


Texting began. Sis had the hourly forecast for the direction we were heading. 90 percent chance of snow at 2:00, 65 percent chance at 3:00, and then next to nothing. Still no accumulation. It was just before 2:00 at that time. We were due to arrive around 3:30. So we figured we'd just drive through it without incident.

When we hit Springfield about 20 minutes later, the snow was flying and the outer road had a white coating. The highway was still clear. Just wet. Hick turned on A-Cad's windshield wipers, which swiped a swath of wetness that immediately froze. That's what happens at 19 degrees on the highway at 70 mph. Hick squirted the wiper fluid in hopes of cleaning it. 


Hick acted like that was perfectly normal. Said he could see just fine. So could I--out the side window! Not through the windshield. Let the record show that I am always harping at Hick to turn on the windshield wipers in mist and rain, and he waits until the window is almost covered before doing so. Just to be stubborn, I think. 

"We can't drive like this! We have 60 more miles to go! I can't see!"

"I can see fine, Val."

"No. You need to pull off at the next exit, and get some washer fluid."

"I could do that. When we see one that has a service station."

I sent Sis a text that we were getting off for fluid. Hick turned at the next exit, and took a WRONG turn, which put us on the outer road that would loop back to the highway! So he made a U-turn. Ex-Mayor followed us.

"Huh. There's a station on the left, AND on the right!"

"Go to the left one. It will be easier to get back on the highway at that light. Most people probably go to the first one, on the right. They might be out of fluid after all the snow last week."

Of course Hick went to the first one. And they were indeed out of washer fluid. So he went to the other one. Which had ONE jug of washer fluid left. Hick bought it, and raised the hood. Where he saw that we HAD washer fluid. He poured some in anyway, and got in the car. The fluid still didn't work. Except now it worked on the BACK windshield. So Hick surmised that it might be a frozen line, or perhaps a mouse had chewed through the line. Neither scenario of which was any help.

Ex-Mayor said to pour some from the jug on the windshield, and then wipe it off. Which Hick did, and I could see again! Back to the highway went our little convoy. As we merged, a passing semi sprayed road gunk up on the windshield!

"Get off at the exit ramp, and pour some more fluid on there!"

"Val. I can't get off at every exit ramp! It will get dirty again as soon as I get back on the highway."

"You can't drive without seeing!"

"I can see fine."

I begged to differ. Up ahead, I could see the flashign lights of a MODoT truck, spraying salt, I imagined, since there was no snow to plow. That made the road even messier. Any vehicle's tires sprayed that moisture up on our windshield. Sis and Ex-Mayor were trailing us. Sis texted me some advice:

"Hick should just drive backwards, since your back windshield is clean."

I don't know where she gets her sense of humor...

Anyhoo... I was about to crawl out of my skin. I had to close my eyes. Or look out the side window, which just gave me false hope that the weather was clearing. I could hear the snow hitting the windshield. At least it was a dry snow that wasn't sticking, and wasn't making ice on the wipers. Although the wipers were useless, not even clearing off the dried salt and dirt film that impeded vision.

It was the longest 60 miles I ever rode. When we crossed the Oklahoma state line, we saw that MODoT even took better care of the roads than Oklahoma! Slushy ruts with tire tracks made driving even more treacherous. But Hick declared we were fine to venture out to three more casinos after we checked in!

I told him I would not be going! Which made him cantankerous. I had no problem with HIM going. Perhaps he could ride with Sis and Ex-Mayor, with their working windshield wipers. I didn't think I could hoist myself into their diesel truck. And I certainly was not going out in the dark with icy roads and no way to clean a windshield!

Sis and Ex-Mayor decided that they did not want to make the rounds that evening, due to the roads. So we all stayed to gamble at Downstream Casino, where we had rooms. Don't you worry about us not being able to lose our money! It's a GIANT casino, compared to the other ones we go to!

Tomorrow: the tale of our ill-fated check-in.


  1. My reasoning would be, if the roads were bad, the casino would be empty which means the payouts would bepoor, but what do I know?

    1. I would think less of a crowd gives me a better chance of playing a winner. I don't like crowds, so I relish a sparsely-populated casino. I never expect to hit a progressive jackpot anyway.

      We always go midday on a week day to our local casino. Sometimes we hear big winners announced every half hour, sometimes none. It doesn't seem to have any connection to the amount of people there.

  2. UGH! The dreaded windshield wipers, I was never so glad my Mr got a car that is 'smart' enough to turn on themselves...p.s. I had the dealer set them up! Good Luck at the casino!

    1. We already lost at the casino, but a good (and interesting) time was had by all!

      My T-Hoe is a 2008 model, and the wipers turn on automatically. Sometimes when I don't expect them! Hick must have done something to the Acadia, because those wipers don't come on automatically, despite it being a 2016.

  3. Sis' comment about driving backwards made me laugh out loud, which stretched my dental-anaesthetic-swollen chipmunk cheeks. They should be back to normal by tomorrow. I'm not at all surprised Hick claims he can see, he's used to being half blind anyway. but I wouldn't have gone around to the extra casinos either.

    1. Sorry about your chipmunk cheeks! On the way home, Sis and Ex-Mayor were following us. She said "Hick drives slower when he can see than when he can't." I texted back to Sis: "Don't poke the bear." No way was I going to read that to Hick, to give him an excuse to sweave at higher speeds.