Farmer H needs to stop riding the fence. Or else I need to get him a comfortable saddle for Christmas.
Yesterday we went to the edge of Oklahoma to meet The Pony and bring him back home for semester break. The plan was to meet at a Casey's, where we would fuel up the cars and ourselves. No time for an hour-long Steak n Shake feast this day. The weather was threatening, and we had the whole day to spend on the road.
With temperatures dropping steadily, and a fine mist freezing after we passed Springfield, we made contact with The Pony after he arrived. Farmer H, who had been recalculating more than the gal encased inside the Garmin that the #1 Son got us a discount on when he worked there, saw the error in his over-optimism, and commanded The Pony to drive another 15 miles and meet closer to our whereabouts.
You know what that meant. NO CASEY'S PIZZA SLICE for Mrs. HM's lunch. I had eaten a 4-pack of peanut butter crackers, two of which I shared with Farmer H, and a 4-pack of cheese crackers, all from the snack bag I packed for the trip. Meanwhile, Farmer H had treated himself to a breakfast of two Casey's donuts, a second breakfast of two McDonald's sausage cheese McMuffins, and the two of my peanut butter crackers.
"This will change the plans. I guess I'm not getting a piece of pizza to eat on the way back."
"No. This will save us 30 minutes. I'm good. I'm really not hungry."
"I guess not, after all that you ate." And I proceeded to remind him of his consumption.
"You had half a sausage McMuffin. So I only had one and a half."
"I had one bite out of each. But call it half if you must."
The trip was fraught with worry. Mostly on my end. Farmer H denied that the mist was freezing on the mirrors until I pointed to mine, and he knew he couldn't fool me any more.
"Well, it's not freezing on the roads."
"You don't know that. It could be clear black ice."
Farmer H conceded by setting the cruise control on the actual speed limit. That must be why we were running 20 minutes behind in meeting The Pony.
On the way back, we passed a sign about a 6-8 minute traffic delay near #1's college town. A closer sign said the delay was now 14-16 minutes. The temperature was down to 23 degrees. I was riding in The Pony's Rogue by now, and on the phone with Farmer H in the Acadia.
"I think we should stop somewhere and stay until tomorrow. This is going to be a repeat of last night's weather. I don't want to go off the road, or sit in traffic for four hours."
"We'll be fine, HM. We're almost to the turn-off. And then it's only two hours."
"On two-lane blacktop! Those roads will be worse!"
"No. The highway depart will keep them clear. It's a major thoroughfare."
"So is I-44, with a lot of traffic, and look how that's working out now!"
Farmer H said that he could take us on a short cut through college town, on a road by an antique shop he frequents when he's in the area. He had a fit commanding The Pony by way of my phone to CLOSE THE GAP so that we wouldn't miss him if he turned off. Because, you see, we could hardly see out the window, because Farmer H frowned upon stopping to clear the ice off the wipers.
So we went past two exits of the college town, with #1 sending us an unsolicited text to be careful, that the ice had started there an hour before. Of course when I called Farmer H to ask for an ice-clearing stop, I was denied. "HM. We're just going where that highway truck is up there. That's our exit. It's only a mile."
So we passed that exit ramp and ran right up on the one-lane accident scene. That highway truck Farmer H saw was the sign merging traffic into the right lane. As we crept along, people passing us so they could come to an abrupt stop and then squeeze over into our lane ahead of us...Farmer H turned on A-Cad's hazard flashers. By now it was deep dusk. The Pony was not pleased with that decision.
"Why did Dad have to turn on those flashers? They hurt my eyes. I've never had a seizure before, but I feel like I could now."
When asked later, Farmer H said he did it for a warning. Even though we were the car right behind him.
"Did you see how slick that outer road was?"
"You mean the one where people took that last exit to avoid the wreck?"
"Yes. It was solid ice. They were spinning their tires trying to go up that hill."
Huh. I guess he meant like the roads were that we got on 15 minutes and one mile later. A hazard that needed flashing lights as a warning, but safe enough to drive on for 62 miles.