Saturday, December 6, 2008

Escape from Da U.P.

I have not posted in ages. Last weekend was taken up with a visit from Colin during which, among other things, we recorded Jane Gilday's song "The Year of Mr. O" and posted it to youtube. Those who have somehow remained unaware of this singular cultural opportunity may find it here.

Yesterday we drove to the cabin, stopping on the way in the crossroads village of Traunik to do some shopping at Lily's (pictures), a wonderful little organic food and gift shop we are trying to support. When we got to the cabin, neighbor Steve Wills had opened up a path and had our wood-stove going, which was greatly appreciated. We were there primarily to clear three feet of snow from the roof - we really got hammered in November, with snow accumulation within a few inches of the all-time record. With the job done we joined Steve and Rhoda for cocktails, had a nice dinner, read by the fire and took a sauna. We were about to crawl into bed when we checked the local television station and learned that a full-scale blizzard would hit in the morning and last well into Sunday (this had not been in the forecast).

It was 10:30 (central time), we were dead-tired, and had a decision to make. If we did not leave that night we likely would not get out until late Sunday. We had no food and (worse) no whiskey. So we dressed, packed, and I launched into the complex process of draining pipes, taking apart the roaring fire in the stove, etc. I hope I did everything right despite the sense of haste. We were on the road about an hour later, and already in the teeth of a winter storm. The snow was not heavy yet, but the winds were strong, blowing the snow around in a way that made it nearly impossible to know what lane I was in much of the time. It was a very long and challenging drive, and it got worse the closer we got to home. By Green Bay there seemed to be more cars in ditches than on the road (bar closing may have had something to do with that). Thankfully we had four hours of our old "friend" Vin Scelsa from New York days on Sirius radio, playing live performances and interviews with the recently-deceased Odetta, for company. A pleasant distraction can make all the difference in the world...

So we are grateful to be safely home. We defied a blizzard warning once, many years ago, and will never make that mistake again. Da U.P. in winter: not for the timid or unprepared!

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