"Let It Snow"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, December 1, 2018

Over the rivers — (St. Clair, Detroit, Ohio, Niagara and many more) — and through the woods. Leaves blowing all over, piling up on the roads causing some traffic problems. Just in time to catch thousands of folks trying to return from visiting Grandmother, here comes an early snow storm!

For the past 32 years, I have traveled from Michigan to Florida this time of year. The trips took me over many rivers, through lots of woods and very often along snow-covered roads. My trips included a stop at Niagara Falls to meet up with friends who traveled there from New York. The holiday displays and decorations were spectacular at night when all of them were alight, including the falls, and well worth the overnight stay.

For many years, instead of heading south, we traveled east to Connecticut. Our daughter, Leah, and her family were always eager to have us enjoy Thanksgiving with them.

During our stay, we would venture into New York and take the cruise on the Hudson River around Manhattan Island. Times Square was always a stop, especially when the kids were young because the world’s largest, three-story toy store was our destination. One year, we enjoyed a special event when we attended a play on Broadway and got to meet the cast. A tour of the World War II vintage USS Intrepid aircraft carrier was also a highlight of one of our trips.

Normal weather for the Thanksgiving weekend was always cold and snowy, which most drivers were not prepared for. After we left Connecticut, there was always heavy traffic along the New Jersey toll road. It always seemed to me the entire east coast population had gathered to head south at the same time.

year after struggling with the clogged highway I decided to turn east and head for Atlantic City. Once my wife, Pat, discovered the four-mile long boardwalk that had carried strollers along the oceanfront since 1870, we were hooked. We added a stop-over there for several years. She loved walking every step of it, and shopping along the way. One day when we met back at our hotel room, she was actually dragging a large bag that was too heavy to carry.

Our daughter, Lynn, and her family lived in South Carolina for many years, and we always scheduled a visit with them on our trip south. We would off-load a pile of Christmas gifts and enjoy a reunion with them before making the final push through the chaotic traffic clog headed to the sunshine state.

One year, they were living on property with a horse ranch where Lynn helped with the horses and taught our grandson Nathan to ride. One day, Nathan took Pat for a walk in the pasture and several of the horses came galloping up, but Nathan (at the age of 7) simply put his hand up and they turned away.

Every year, I made that 1,500 mile drive plus 400 or 500 more miles with added stops along the route, I asked myself why I wanted to inflict such anxiety. I’m sure all the people who travel during the Thanksgiving weekend ask the same question.

Airborne travelers must also wonder why. This year, records were set as 50,000 gathered at LaGuardia, 100,000 at JFK and another 70,000 at Newark’s Liberty airports to begin their Thanksgiving pilgrimage. Let’s recall, they also all made their treks in record-setting cold temperatures. As we watched the Macy’s parade in the warm comfort of home,

it was announced that it was the coldest weather in history for the event. It was time for me to skip the madness, especially since Mother Nature took out my winter home with a hurricane last year. As I see it, my decision saved me from making the trip in such terrible conditions this year. We enjoyed Turkey Day at home in Huron County, where we intend to be in residence for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I'd like to say congrats to the Tribune staff for doing a great job last week of acquainting its readers regarding how many small businesses we have in the Thumb — and just in time for shopping.

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