By John Beaudoin, The Democrat Missourian
Ive said it before. I dearly miss the people in Iowa, but I do not miss the weather.
Sure, there were sunny days. Warm days. Downright hot and unbearable days. But the winters north of Council Bluffs, with the wind and snow blowing in from the Rockies through Nebraska, were just brutal sometimes.
I spent three winters in Iowa. Each one featured at least one snowfall of 10 inches or more, several failed attempts at my Grand Am maneuvering the most treacherous hill in Logan, Iowa, and even a few ice storms something usually reserved for us here in Missouri.
I spent many days about nine miles from Logan, Iowa, in nearby Woodbine, which is just down U.S. 30.
Some days, traveling U.S. 30 was akin to gambling, especially during inclement weather. Much of the highway offered little protection from the ditches on either side and when the snow or ice began to fall, forget it.
During a particular storm back in 2008, I really pushed my luck.
All the weather reports indicated a major storm heading to Harrison County. I was still in Woodbine working on deadline on a Monday afternoon, refusing to leave until all the pages were proofed and sent. I shouldve listened to my gut.
As soon as I pulled out onto the Lincoln Highway in Woodbine, crossed the railroad tracks and got onto 30, I immediately knew it would be a white-knuckle kind of drive home.
The snow was blowing and the bare fields on both sides of the highway offered no protection from nearly white-out conditions.
I didnt make it far before my life flashed before my eyes.
Briefly distracted, I put on my brakes too quickly, swerved into the oncoming lane (with an 18-wheeler heading my way) overcorrected and went into the ditch on my side of the highway.
My car was upright, thank God. I was stuck in what was a mounting snowfall. With the radio off, you could hear a pin drop.
I picked up the phone and called the Logan Auto guys for a tow, but with the weather the way it was, that could be a few hours. As soon as I hung up, there was a tap at my passenger-side window. It was so quiet it startled me to no end.
I rolled down the window and there was the friendly gentleman whose port-a-potty business I passed every day.
You OK? he asked. Yeah, we were just sitting in my truck over there and we saw the whole thing.
He joked about how bad my driving was a nice moment of levity in an otherwise stressful situation I suppose before telling me he was going to stick a chain on my car and yank me out with his truck. He was so matter-of-fact about it, he didnt even flinch.
A few minutes later, me and my Grand Am were pulled to his gravel driveway, giving me the necessary traction to get back on 30 and, at a pace of about 11 miles an hour, drive home.
The good people of Harrison County, Iowa bailed me out of what could have been a tragic situation.
And after that, I never tempted fate with the weather.