Super Fans on the road

Julie & Mike Shaughnessy, Super Fans and snowbirds, reporting from the road. As substitute teachers during the fall, they get to know most of our hockey girls:

Hi all,

I hope this doesn’t get as long as my Christmas letter, but I wanted to fill you in on our “blizzard dodging capabilities.” I will keep score for you.

We left Alex on Saturday, 12/18 instead of the following Monday. (Thank you Finnestad’s for changing the date of PUPU’s). We drove to Chicago with great weather and even sunshine by the time we arrived. If we had left on Monday, we would have had snow and terrible road conditions. Score one for us.

We left Chicago as scheduled on Dec. 21. We got to the airport very early only to find our flight had been cancelled. But, when checking in at the self-serve kiosk, Delta gave us 4 choices of flights we could take. We chose the one that left in an hour and a half (a full 2 hours before our original flight). Score another one for us.

It was a Delta commuter flight with a stop in NY (our original also had a stop). We were not charged for luggage, and there was free coffee and juice at the gate. We were also served (free) bagels and cream cheese with a cookie dessert along with beverages. Score two more for us (free luggage and free breakfast).

We got into Worchester on the commuter rail at the exact perfect time for Carrie to pick us up on the way home from work and the car was already warm. Score one more.

We had a fabulous time at Carrie’s: shopping with the boys for gifts, Mom shopping with Carrie, watching PJ snow blow the rink on the lake, watching a bunch of kids and Carrie skating, and enjoying patting Libby , the newest member of the family.

We had been eyeing the approaching East Coast blizzard on the news all week. On Christmas night (Saturday) the news confirmed that the storm would hit Boston Sunday afternoon and continue all day Monday with snow forecasts in feet and not inches. Our flight was scheduled to leave Monday at 10:30 AM. We all looked at each other and said, *!/=@*!*. Carrie and I had plans to do some after Christmas shopping, etc. so we did not want to leave early. But discretion took the place of valor, and I called American Airlines (a 2-minute hold ). They were able to reschedule us (no charge) on a flight at 7:05 Sunday morning. We scrambled to pack and had to get up at 3:45 to allow for plenty of time for even a flat tire on the way to the airport. We did not have a flat so we were there early enough to have breakfast at Mac and Dons. This is a double score.

Mike and the boys picked us up at the Chicago airport. We were a few minutes late waiting for an available gate but we were out of Boston. All of the Chicago flights to Boston, JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark had already been canceled! and this was only 9:30 on Sunday.

Because we got back to Chicago a day early, we were able to leave for AZ a day earlier than our original schedule: Monday instead of Tuesday. Another score.

We had a 50 MPH stretch near Des Moines because of some slippery roads the first day. Day two to Albuquerque was wonderful. On the Albuquerque news Tuesday evening there were blizzard warnings starting at noon on Wednesday. It only followed that the blizzard would be in the mountains north and east of Phoenix before it got to New Mexico. We got up at 5:00 and left way earlier than we usually do on day three. Score another one.

We ran into the beginnings of the snow storm at the AZ border. We had about 30 miles of lots of slow traffic and a little slippery road conditions there, and then another section in the mountains NE of Phoenix. But the total miles of bad road was about 50 miles and we were still able to go 40-50 MPH. We did have it in 4-wheel-drive once. Julie was a good passenger (says Mike) so it really wasn’t too bad. The weather gets one point here.

On Wednesday night they had already closed I17 into Phoenix from the north, and by Thursday morning the E/W freeway in northern AZ was closed from border to border along with all of the roads we traveled on the day before (are you remembering we were a day early). The Beeline Highway from Payson was closed down to Bush Highway.

We watched AZ blizzard reports for two days. The roads finally all reopened on Thursday afternoon. Score one for watching from our own living room.

But, it is cold here. It has been below freezing for the last three nights (25 degrees last night at our house). But the sun is out and the temp is in the high 40’s. Who can complain.

Final score: Us=9 Weather=1

We are so happy to be here safe and sound and in our own place.

J & M

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