Tag Archives: record snow

2015/11/22 (N) Repackaging

My lower back bothered me all night, so I did not sleep well, but we both got up at 8:15 AM, took showers, and got dressed.  My right lower back seemed to have gotten worse overnight.  I pulled a muscle yesterday and they tend to take quite a while to heal.  Not good.

The view of our rear deck from our dining room the morning after our major snowstorm.  It’s pretty if you don’t have to go outside to pack a bus or drive in it.

The view of our rear deck from our dining room the morning after our major snowstorm. It’s pretty if you don’t have to go outside to pack a bus or drive in it.

According to the National Weather Service newsfeed on The Weather Channel iPad app Howell, Michigan got 16.5 inches of snow from yesterday’s winter storm, the highest in Michigan.  The highest accumulation in the country was 18 inches somewhere in South Dakota, so we were very close to that.  The official amount was no doubt recorded at the Livingston County Airport about 11 miles west of us on the west side of Howell, but based on what we see on our deck we got at least a foot of snow here at the house.  It was sunny but only 25 degrees F when we got up.  The high temperature was forecast to only reach 30 and the low tonight is forecast to be 18.

Linda made vegan pancakes for breakfast.  She cooked blueberries into hers but I had mine on the side.  I think the blueberries add additional liquid to the batter and keep the pancakes from cooking properly, but Linda likes the way they turn out.  I made a pot of coffee with the last of our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans.  I took some Ibuprofen along with my usual morning pills.  Linda got the heating pad out and I sat with it against my lower right back on the living room sofa while we drank our coffee.  In spite of having a lot to do between now and Thanksgiving Day, we got a slow start to our day.

Linda cleared our front sidewalk so she could get to the front door of the bus.  She also shoveled a path to my car, which I parked behind the bus yesterday, and cleared the snow off of it.  She checked the snow depth with a ruler at several places on our rear deck.  It was 13 inches.  Not 16.5 inches, but it’s still a lot of snow, and it could certainly have been deeper out in the yard.

Her agenda for the day was to vacuum the inside of all the cabinets in the bus, dust the woodwork, and clean the counters and mirrors.  I exchanged some text messages with Chuck including a couple of photos.  I sent one of our bus buried in snow and he sent one of the palm trees and lush vegetation on the unoccupied lot next to theirs at Pelican Lake Motorcoach Resort.  Chuck said it has been too warm to play golf.  I did not know that was even possible but I did not feel too sorry for him.  I sent an e-mail to Butch to let him know I had delivered the antique SUN Electric distributor tester to Bill a week ago Friday.

I resumed working in the garage and spent most of the day repacking my tool boxes.  My objective was to reduce the number of boxes from five to four while maintaining some sort of reasonable logic to how they were organized.  I took short breaks throughout the day to get off my feet and had a few pretzels with hummus for lunch.

Sometime during the afternoon Kerry showed up and plowed as much of the concrete driveway as he could.  Linda must have been vacuuming in the back of the bus and I was working in the garage (with doors closed) so neither of us realized he was there until after he was gone.

I decided that I needed some additional storage boxes for organizing small parts so I drove to Lowe’s hoping to find the Stanley boxes I already have.  They had similar boxes from a different manufacturer but not the exact ones.  I tried The Home Depot but liked the boxes at Lowe’s better so I went back there and bought six, three with 10 deep bins and three with 17 medium bins.  I stopped at Meijer’s for orange juice and picked up a few other things.

When Linda was done cleaning the bus she started loading the things onboard that she had ready.  She got almost everything on board that was staged in the middle bedroom and the kitchen.  She then made three more batches of granola.  That made nine batches since Friday evening, eight of which are in the freezer.  Linda thinks a batch will last at least two weeks if have granola every other day.  If that proves to be true we should have enough granola with us in the bus to get through the end of March.

By 5:30 PM we were both ready to stop for the day.  I changed into my robe and sat on the living room sofa with the heating pad on my lower right back.  We spent 45 minutes considering possible waypoints between here and Williston, Florida.  We did not come a decision but it is very likely we will stop at two of the same places we used two years ago, the Oh Kentucky campground in Berea, Kentucky and the KOA near Cartersville, Georgia.

The Oh Kentucky RV Park in Berea is just west of I-75 at an interchange.  It wasn’t fancy but provided easy in/out access and would allow us to plug in for the night.  Just east of the Interstate at the same exit is a Walmart where our friends, Chuck and Barbara, stayed on their way south a few weeks ago.  The RV park options north of Atlanta, Georgia are surprisingly limited.  The Cartersville Castle-White KOA is convenient to an exit off of I-75 and also provided easy in/out access.  Staying there Saturday night means we can drive around Atlanta on I-285 on Sunday morning, our favorite time to bypass major cities.

Our final waypoint before going into Williston Crossings on Tuesday, December 1st will probably be Mayo, Florida where we can boondocks for two nights at John Palmer’s place.  This itinerary would have us traveling about 400 miles on Friday, 300 miles on Saturday, 340 miles on Sunday, and 75 miles on Tuesday.  Friday would be a longer drive by about 2 hours than we normally plan, but very doable.  Also, this time of year we like to get as far south as quickly as possible.

Linda opened a bottle of Leelanau Cellars Mixed Berry Winter White wine to have before, during, and after dinner.  For dinner Linda cooked a squash and heated up some frozen corn and mock chicken tenders (vegan).  After dinner I tried to check my e-mail but our Internet connection had slowed to an unusably slow speed.  At 8 PM I participated in the SLAARC Information Net and then came back upstairs and went to bed.  We both took some Tylenol PM at 11:30 and then turned out the lights.


2015/11/21 (S) Not Quite As Planned

The weather forecast for today had snow moving into the area starting at 4 AM, increasing in intensity by 8 AM, and continuing through the day and into the evening.  The initial forecast was that we would get 4 – 6 inches of accumulation with temperatures hovering just below freezing.  We overslept this morning and did not get up until 7:30 AM but decided to go to our weekly ham radio club breakfast in South Lyon anyway.  I have had Mike’s (W8XH) climbing harness for a while and wanted to return it before we left for the winter.

There was already some accumulation on grassy areas when we left at 7:45 AM but the drive was not a problem and we arrived at 8:10.  We were the last ones there, of course, but someone had to be.  We had a nice chat with Harvey (AC8NO) and Diane, who are usually close to the last to arrive.  I called Mike, who did not make it to breakfast, and let him know I was transferring the harness to Harvey.

On the drive home we stopped at Meijer’s in Brighton so Linda could get some additional ingredients to make more granola.  By the time we got home at 10:30 the snow was starting to pile up.  I had four text messages from Kristine Gullen in quick succession which turned out to be four parts of one message.  She wanted to pin down our dinner plans for this evening.  I texted her back once I got home and after a couple of exchanges we came to the mutual conclusion that the weather was going to interfere with our get-together.  Sadly, that meant we would not see her and Jim again until May 2016 as they were probably headed to Frankenmuth for the Fall MERA conference and then on north to their cottage at Crystal Mountain for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Snow piling up around the bus less than a week before our planned departure for Florida.

Snow piling up around the bus less than a week before our planned departure for Florida.

Our original plan for today was to clean the inside of the motorcoach and then start cleaning up the garage/shop.  With the snow piling up we decided to defer cleaning the rig and concentrate on cleaning up the garage and staging things that we will eventually load on board.  I worked in the garage most of the day although that included moving things into the library and house.  Linda concentrated on making granola, preparing a billing statement for the bakery, and organizing/staging kitchen-related things for the bus.  She also came out and helped me when I needed assistance.

My objective for today was to get one of the temporary workbenches cleared off and disassembled.  I also wanted to get all of unused plywood stored flat.  By 5:30 PM we had accomplished those two goals, gotten most of the power tools put away, moved quite a few things to the library, and stored or thrown away quite a few other things.  I had also managed to strain my lower right back.  That is never a good thing, but it was especially bad given what we have to accomplish in the next three to four days.  We will continue the process tomorrow and I will try to get my tool boxes reorganized before I quit working for the day.  A critical piece of the cleanup will be getting everything that should be protected from freezing out of the garage and into the library as we do not heat the garage while we are away even though it has a furnace.  From there some of it may get moved to the laundry room in the basement, or not; it just depends on time and energy.

We need to clean up the garage enough to get the Honda Civic inside and also the (non-functioning) lawn tractor.  Optionally we can leave the tractor where it is and put a tarp over it or I can borrow Mike’s trailer and take it to Sloan’s in Linden to have it repaired and stored for the winter.  I like the last option best but I doubt that I will have the time to take it there before we leave.  It would have to be on Wednesday, assuming they are even open the day before Thanksgiving.

Snowstorm in progress.  Lots of snow on the rear deck and still coming down.

Snowstorm in progress. Lots of snow on the rear deck and still coming down.

For dinner, Linda sautéed an onion with some mushrooms and heated some frozen broccoli and peas.  She used all of that as toppings for two baked potatoes.  We watched the snow fall as we ate and estimated the accumulation on the railing of our rear deck to be at least a foot.

By 7 PM Howell had officially recorded 14.5 inches of snow and it was still coming down.  I decided to text Kerry Fear, who does our snowplowing, to let him know that I staked the driveway yesterday but we still have a mower deck, wheelbarrow, paving blocks, and plastic conduit in the northwest corner of the drive that we have not yet had a chance to remove.  He texted back that he was “up north” and would be back Sunday afternoon.

We went to bed before 9 PM, watched a few minutes of weather on TV, and caught a bit of a Cirque du Soleil holiday show on Detroit PBS.  I was going to call Butch and text Chuck but it was after 10 PM so I went to sleep instead.


2014/04/15 (T) A Taxing Day

At 1:30 AM (Tuesday, April 15) my cell phone issued a severe weather alert tone.  The message from the Weather Channel app was an emergency notification that a flash flood warning had been issued for Freeport and advised us to seek higher ground but to not drive through water.  If we had not already been awake, we were now!  But then, that is the point of having your cell phone set up to alert you to dangerous and threatening conditions with a sound that announces an imminent nuclear attack.  As if that wasn’t enough, the leak at the passenger-side rear corner of our bedroom vent-fan reappeared.  I had applied a liberal coat of Dicor self-leveling lap sealant to the outside of that vent-fan back at Williston Crossings and it had not leaked during two subsequent heavy rain events, so I thought I had taken care of that problem.  Either I missed a spot or the water got in somewhere else.

Although Live Oak Landing is on the Choctawhatchee River it is on ground that is noticeably higher than the water level and the RV sites are not right at the bank.  I figured we were safe as we could see the east end of Choctawhatchee Bay from the front of our bus.  Ocean water levels rise and fall with the tides, but oceans don’t flood.  The interior roads and sites are paved, so they were not going to get washed out by the rain and we were not going to be mired in soft ground.

We had a lull in the rain between 3:00 and 5:30 AM and I used the time to work on blog posts covering the 12th through the 14th and keep an eye on the weather.  I prefer doing one post per day, and uploading it before I go to bed, but that is not always possible.  When I first started blogging I would often write the rough draft in bed on my iPad, e-mail it to myself, get up early the next morning, finish it, and upload it.  I still do that sometimes, but just as often I end up several days behind.  BTW:  The WiFi at Live Oak Landing is very good.  We have been able get connected and do what we needed to do, even when it was raining.  We also have an acceptable Verizon 4G/LTE signal here.

The rain resumed briefly at 5:30 AM but without the previous intensity and fanfare.  It started again at 6:50 AM.  I checked the radar on my iPad Wundermap app and it showed the cold front just a few miles to our west and another fetch of rain beginning to come on shore and positioned to train over us.  It was not severe, however, and the band ultimately drifted east of us before coming onshore.  The rain event in most of the panhandle was done by 8:30 AM.   The end of the rain event, however, was not the end of the weather warnings.  Flash floods occur during and shortly after heavy rain events, but rivers can rise above flood stage long after the rains have moved through as large volumes of water upstream try to make their way to the sea.

There was no sunrise today, just a gradual change from night to muted, grey light that continued through the morning.  By mid-morning the cold front had passed by us, the winds had shifted from southwesterly to due north, and the temperature had dropped. A low pressure center had moved directly over Atlanta, Georgia with the cold front trailing SSE into the Gulf and the rainy weather shifted to northeast Florida, downeast Georgia, and up the Atlantic coast.  A wider view of the continent showed the heaviest weather farther north.  The cold front stretched along the Appalachian Mountains, up through Quebec and then wrapped around through Labrador and into the Labrador Sea.  There were four additional low pressure centers located in northeast Pennsylvania, southwest of Montreal, over the middle of Labrador, and just off the coast in the Labrador Sea.  Behind the front was cold and snow; in front of it, rain.

Linda checked the weather back home. The 3+ inches of snow recorded overnight in Detroit, Michigan pushed the total for the season to a new record of over 94 inches.  The old record was established in 1880/81.  This has been a historic winter with records broken across much of North America.

By early afternoon the storms were gone and the day was struggling to become partly cloudy instead of all cloudy.  The temperature barely broke 60 and it was windy so it still felt like winter’s last hurrah.  Linda discovered last night that the dish soap we bought at Publix never made it into one of our grocery bags.  It happens.  We needed more toilet paper, so we headed back to Publix in the early afternoon and stopped at the customer service desk with receipt in hand.  Mary said it was “no problem, just pick up the soap and tell the cashier that Mary said it was OK.”  It was only a $0.69 item, but we appreciated that Publix took our word for it.

With our shopping taken care of we decided to drive west on US-98 about eight miles to Destin, Florida.  The closer we got to Destin the more developed the area became.  We saw a sign for a Panera at a premium outlet mall and decided to go there for lunch.  Destin is a very upscale, resorty kind of place.  We crawled through traffic, and some of the worst engineered traffic signals we have ever encountered, to get to the mall and the restaurant.

The parking lot was packed and so was the Panera.  Apparently the stormy weather had prevented the residents from getting their maximum daily dose of high-end shopping, and they were all out on Tuesday afternoon making up for lost time.  In spite of the crowd it did not take long to place our order and receive our food and it was the same good quality we have come to expect at Panera wherever we find one.  Unlike Watercolor, which seemed vibrant but relaxed when we drove through yesterday, Destin seemed crowed and almost frantic; not our kind of place.  The traffic lights were so stupidly set up I concluded that the traffic engineers must hate rich people and were using them to inconvenience them to the maximum extent possible.  Being neither wealthy nor tolerant of stupidity, we finished our lunch and got out of town.

Before returning to Live Oak Landing we drove past Topsail State Park, a former commercial RV park, and through the very upscale community of Santa Rosa Beach right on the Gulf of Mexico.   We then drove to Freeport just to check it out since Live Oak Landing has a Freeport mailing address.  It was a one intersection town without anything special to recommend it.  Been there, done that, no reason to go back.

Back at our coach we were both very tired, having had very little sleep last night, and took a nap.  Naps are a great thing.  I used to consider them a luxury, but I’m seriously considering making them a part of my daily routine.  When we finally woke up Linda made a green salad and re-heated the spicy quinoa and black bean dish from the other night.  A beautiful sunset suddenly developed and I grabbed my camera to try to get a view shots.  This kind of lighting situation really requires a tripod and the use of the high dynamic range (HDR) technique, but I did not have time for either of those, so I got what I could hand held.

Sunset at Live Oak Landing.  (This photo has more image manipulation than normal.)

Sunset at Live Oak Landing. Our coach is lower right. (This photo has more image manipulation than normal because of the extremely high contrast lighting.)

Live Oak Landing has cable TV but we were able to pick up a surprising number of channels over the air (OTA).  We watched a couple of shows while I worked on blog posts.  The forecast low for early tomorrow morning was 39 degrees F, so we closed the ceiling vents and windows before we turned in for the night.