v1 Days 3, 4 – Harrisburg, IL

Saturday morning dawned snowy and wet. There was already a couple of inches of snow on the ground and flurries were whipping around the building. The forecast called for snow throughout the day, clear Sunday, and more snow Monday. I made the decision to stay through the weekend and take some course of action when the weekend was over.

I started analyzing weather forecasts as far as 300 miles south – using Weather Underground and Weather.com – and both were calling for 40%-80% scattered snow in temps hovering around freezing. These were the worst kind of conditions.

Cold rain is easy to handle by bundling up. Snow is even easier because you can stay dry. But with freezing rain – the kind that sticks to everything – it makes it difficult for cyclists and motorists alike. Visibility is limited and the roads are slick as snot.

My first thought was to rent a car and leapfrog the weather far enough south to get out of the storm system. It made sense – very brief sense – but I saw the weather clearing south of me was a narrow band with another, larger storm system south of it. If I decided to jump the storm I was in at the moment, I knew the next one would catch up to me a few days down the road. This weather looked like it was going to nickel and dime me to death, and if I chose to play the game I would inevitably end up driving most of my route. This was unacceptable.

I made the tough decision to call it quits and head home.

I spent the rest of the weekend researching ways home: renting a car, Amtrak, Greyhound, and U-Haul. Car rentals wouldn’t rent one-way and I had to jump through too many hoops for Amtrak and Greyhound, namely needing to have my gear boxed up before I could travel. U-Haul seemed like the best option, and the most expensive one, but at least I could get in and go if needed.

I spent a couple hours on Sunday wandering around Harrisburg, looking for a Super Bowl party I could hit up that evening. I didn’t even find a bar. I’m sure the bars were there somewhere, after all, there were plenty of people wearing mossy oak camo, I just didn’t find them.

I settled on grabbing some Miller Lite from a nearby grocery store and ordered Domino’s for the game. I caught bits and pieces – the most important ones I would guess – but got entirely too distracted by the magic picture box and it’s reality TV. I haven’t had cable TV since 2006, and I firmly believe it’s the devil.

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