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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Jennifer Cook

Springtime in the Dakotas

During our pre-travel planning David and I decided that our goal during our travels would be to live in each location for six months. We thought April through September and October through March would be perfect. This would give us a spring and summer place and a fall and winter location. It would also hopefully give us a time frame with decent weather to travel to each new city. Based on the timeframe of selling our home, we agreed to only spend three months in San Antonio (our first location). That was not quite long enough for us to explore everything we wanted to see and do in that city, but it allowed us to get back on our planned schedule.

Additionally, the weather was already beginning to be too hot for our liking in San Antonio and we knew that our second move might offer us the opportunity to get some real snow in South Dakota As February thru April are notorious for active snow storms. We crossed our fingers and said our prayers that the weather would be ok as we crossed through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and finally into South Dakota. Thankfully our journey was uneventful. We got everything unpacked and then we began our watchful waiting.

We had a few snow storms pop up that produced a few inches here and there, but we prayed for and hoped for one really good storm. Well, it finally happened. The forecasters nailed it, and we ended up with between a foot to a foot and a half of snow. Plus there were five to seven foot snow drifts. It was exactly what we wanted!

A lot of people hate the winter, and likewise, the snow. They flee from the North to spend the colder months in Florida or Arizona. They don’t understand why we seek the colder climates. We do understand some people prefer the warmer weather, but that is just not us. Most of our trips are better suited to colder locations and if we can time it with some snow on the ground that is even better for us. I suppose part of the reason for this preference is that David does not handle the heat very well since he suffered another heat stroke (this was a second episode) that landed him in the ER a few years ago. I am a Michigan girl and have never liked the heat, so I am always happy when it is colder and snowy. I don’t have any other explanation for our love of winter, so that will have to do.

Anyway, this storm was everything that we heard could happen when you live in the Northern Plains. The snow was amazing, but the winds were brutal. We had wind gusts between 50 to 70 mph around a constant 35 mph that blew nonstop. There is not much you can do to stay warm outside in that kind of wind. Frodo did not mind the snow, but he hated the wind.

Eventually the authorities had to close down all the roads around Sturgis, SD, including the interstate. We were dealing with whiteout conditions, and with the winds being so strong the snow plows could not keep the roads clear. This next picture is not our own. This came from the South Dakota state patrol showing what the roads were like for drivers at the height of the storm. We drove in weather like this one time, and will never do it again.

It snowed all day Saturday, but eventually everything calmed down. Then the cleanup could being. In Sturgis they had the plows out clearing the roads Sunday morning. As we took Frodo on a walk around the block we were amazed at how much snow had fallen the day before.

This wall of snow is over six feet tall. There should be nothing but grass behind my husband. Instead there is six feet of snow.

One of our neighbor‘s cars was completely buried. They had to uncover their the taillight so that the snowplows would not slam into their car during clean up. Also, in case anyone is curious the roofs were clear of snow within 12 hours after the snow stopped falling. The high winds cleared them off. It was kind of weird to see so much snow on the ground, but nothing on the roofs.

By Monday we had the roads cleared, and all the homeowners had cleared a lane on the sidewalks. Frodo appreciated having a place to walk, but did not like being walled in. There was no places to investigate and sniff.

In the end it was a magical day and night for us. We loved the snow, never lost power, and could drive around by Sunday evening. It was a perfect winter storm.

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