Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

No smelling the lilies today February 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 2:48 PM
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TODAY MY HUSBAND AND I had these wonderful plans for a one-day respite from winter.

We intended to drive to St. Paul, tour the Como Park Conservatory and then have lunch with our eldest daughter and son-in-law at their Lowertown apartment.

But that all changed after we decided to heed the Minnesota State Patrol’s advice to avoid unnecessary travel this weekend.

In the aftermath of Thursday/Friday’s blizzard, roads remain treacherous. Rain followed by snow caused a layer of ice to form under the now snow-packed roadways. Yesterday’s traffic situation in the Twin Cities metro was awful with thousands of spin-outs, nearly 700 crashes, almost 1,000 stalls and over 50 jackknifed/stuck semis, according to numerous news reports. The situation in areas of outstate Minnesota has been equally as challenging.

Conditions have been termed the worst in 25 years.

Minnesota Highway 60 just outside of Faribault Saturday morning shows a mostly snow-packed highway with a few patches of pavement showing.

Minnesota Highway 60 just east of Faribault Saturday morning shows a mostly snow-packed and icy highway with a few patches of pavement showing.

In the cold that followed the storm, salt and chemicals are not melting the snow and ice. Roads will improve only with time and we’re told that could be days. A short drive east of Faribault along Minnesota Highway 60 this morning showed us just how bad roads are.

We did not want to be part of the metro mess, thus the decision to postpone the St. Paul outing until another weekend.

And, as our eldest daughter reminded us, we did not want to be the second Helbling to go in the ditch this week.

Monday morning our second daughter’s vehicle hit an icy patch on a rural Wisconsin roadway, spun around twice into the oncoming lane and landed in the opposite ditch facing the opposite direction from which she’d been traveling.

Thankfully, she was not injured nor her Chevy damaged. There was no oncoming traffic. Her car did not roll (as she suspected it would) and it landed in the opposite ditch away from telephone phones.

She did, however, have to crawl out the window as snow was banked against the door.

Yes, this has been quite the winter here in the Midwest.

Preparing to shovel snow from the garage roof. Trees in my neighborhood are still laden with ice and snow.

Preparing to shovel snow from the garage roof. Trees in my neighborhood are still laden with ice and snow.

So, today instead of meandering among fragrant lilies, beautiful pansies and more in the balmy warmth of the Como Conservatory and then lunching with our daughter and her husband, we’ve been dealing with snow. My spouse has been shoveling snow from the house and garage roofs and from ours and the neighbor’s driveways.

Ravine Street in Faribault this morning.

Ravine Street in Faribault this morning.

We may head downtown again later. But we’re not leaving town.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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23 Responses to “No smelling the lilies today”

  1. Thread crazy Says:

    So sorry about your daughter’s mishap but so thankful she is ok and her car not damaged. Thanks for letting us see the beautiful trees laden with snow and ice; they are a spectacle to behold. At this point, one can only dream of the golden daffodils and lacey paperwhite narcissus, getting ready to spring up!

  2. Sorry your trip had to be put on hold for the time being. May you soon enjoy warmer weather and clearer roads. Glad your daughter wasn’t injured! Spring will certainly be a welcome change, and I hope it comes soon for you! Cheers :>)

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    I haven’t left the house since Tues.! That is just fine with me. Church in LaX tomorrow will be wonderful!! I am sorry your lunch/conservatory postponement but the Cities is no place to be right now for sure. Stay warm………Hugs…..

  4. Hotly Spiced Says:

    Unbelievable. I can’t believe how severe and long this winter has been for you all. I’m glad you postponed your trip as conditions sound life-threatening. Your daughter is blessed not to have been hit by an on-coming car. It’s so dangerous to drive on icy roads (says me with no experience at all!) so I’m glad you’re all okay. You all must be very fit from shovelling all that snow and ice – I can imagine that would give you quite a workout xx

  5. Jackie Says:

    My son and sister both live in the Metro, they both have told me it’s quite horrible up there. I think you made the right decision, no need to put yourselves in danger, although Im sure it’s disappointing to miss lunch with the kids :(

  6. Lisa C. Says:

    Audrey, the roads have been awful! I’m glad you and your husband opted to stay close to home. Not worth the risk. I’m also glad to hear your daughter is okay! Have you been to Como Park Conservatory before? You will enjoy it! It’s quite lovely. We meandered through it and the Japanese Garden and thoroughly enjoyed it. :-)

    • Lisa, thanks for your kind words about our daughter. We are grateful that she is OK.

      I have been to the Conservatory, but not in decades. I thought it would be a wonderful sensory break from this long winter. Maybe on an upcoming weekend the weather and roads will be good.

  7. Lisa C. Says:

    Oh, which reminds me, have you gone to Minnehaha Falls? I bet you could get some beautiful photos of it. It’s frozen, of course, and the sight is incredible. :-)

  8. Good decision to stay put! The roads in the metro are awful. We headed to the Mall of America Saturday morning for the JDRF walk, which my daughter was registered for, and it was very slow-going. The freeways were like skating rinks. My neck is still tense from the drive! I think we should all stay home until Easter!

    • That sounds like an awful experience. I’m sorry you had to endure icy roads. You are certainly reaffirming our decision to stay out of the metro yesterday.

      My husband drives Minnesota Highway 3 b/n Faribault and Northfield to work. It’s been horrible since the storm–icy and snow-packed. Talked to someone at church who drove that route this a.m. and he reports conditions are still the same. Great.

  9. Norma Says:

    Audrey–Being a born and bred Californian, I can’t even imagine your kind of weather. It’s beautiful however. I don’t know what’s worse, the snow or the lack of rainfall. I’m sure you will see Marc and Amber soon though

    • Well, Norma, perhaps you should visit Minnesota sometime in the winter.

      Drought like you are having certainly is a challenge, too. No place has ideal weather and this has just been an especially cold and snowy winter in Minnesota.

  10. The story about your daughter going in the ditch gave me goose bumps! I have spun out multiple times living in MN and it is a scary experience, especially when there is traffic. I cannot imagine doing that here with living in the foothills of the mountains. Just makes me cringe!

    • The first time I drove on Ravine Street some 30 years ago, I told my husband, “This would be a park in Redwood County.” And I wasn’t kidding. The curving wood-edged road reminded me of Alexander Ramsey Park in Redwood Falls. I still think that every time I’m on that Faribault city street.


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