snowy roads, Truly selfie
Over the river and through the woods, and across the looooong state of Pennsylvania, we went for our usual post-holiday grandparent extravaganza. The temp was a balmy 56°F at home when we left, so I didn’t pack the usual amount of snow gear, but that turned out to be a bit of a mistake. As we got closer the Lake Erie and the snow belt, temperatures dropped and snow fell. We soldiered on and ended up driving through the, well, driving snow in a typical Northeast Ohio blizzard for over an hour before reaching my parents’ door. Their thermometer showed a chilly 7ºF and a windchill below 0. Happy New Year indeed!
I won’t lie- I survive some of the gorier portions of car trips by listening to various songs and podcasts. On this particular road trip as the sisterly bickering got past my tolerance level, I plugged in to a Radiolab show on, of all things, Bliss. In the first few minutes, I was captivated by the story of a Finnish explorer who is giddily surprised as he opens a cache he had buried in the Antarctic drifts for himself to find towards the end of a 90-day trek there. His expression of surprised elation- a joyous, very Northern European YAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!! -seems so genuine yet so misplaced because he is rejoicing in the unlikely glory of… cheese doodles.
Seriously. You can listen here: https://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/257194.
So of course I had to play this for the unblissed sisters in the car and we all had a moment of entertainment during the long drive. Later, of course, we reenacted the scene on a cold, snowy trail.
The temperatures were low, winds were high, snow flew, and I was readying us for another foray to Pine Lodge and cross-country skiing like we did last year. I knew we wouldn’t be skiing outside for very long, but I thought it would be worth it since we so seldom get the opportunity. I loaded into the beleaguered car some gear, snacks, four sisters in various levels of agreement with the plan, and turned on the reluctant heater.
We were parked partly on the grass since the driveway had been so full when we arrived, and the wheels began to spin without gaining traction. Cleverly, accustomed to such minor car crises, got out and started pushing while I was at the steering wheel. A kind neighbor joined in and soon we were backing out of the driveway. I began driving up the mild incline out of the housing development when the wheels again slid. The snow was heavy and the winds strong at this point and I began to picture the rural roads between us and Pine Lodge. My parents were away on an errand all day so would not be available if we got stuck. My chops for this type of driving, if I indeed ever had any, were seriously degraded from the 20+ years ago I had lived in the area. I had just driven most of the previous day getting here, and my parents house was so warm and dry… I turned the car around. Cable TV and hot chocolate beckoned, and we heeded the call.
We did venture out to go hiking one frigid day, back to this lovely park with the animal sanctuary and nature center. We took a short hike and a few takes on the cheese doodle scene, and also spent time inside the nature center. They had a recuperating possum and a kestral as well, and we enjoyed bird-watching at the glassed-in area near the bird feeders. There was even a microphone outside so you could hear the bird calls!
Armed with my mom’s library card, and my brother’s gift card to a candy store for the kids, we went into the wilds of Mentor for part of a day. The library system in Ohio is enough to make this homeschool mama in an underfunded urban system weep. In addition to a well-funded park system, the library systems all over the state are repeatedly nationally recognized for excellence. They had a children’s section larger than our entire local library! Of course, East Coast cities have other charms like diversity, progressive politics, and historic architecture, but sometimes I wish I could trade a little of something for better libraries. Anyway, this is the library that started it all for me back in the early 1980’s. It has been enlarged quite a bit, and modernized over the years.
Next stop, Malley’s! This is a Cleveland-based chocolate and ice cream company with a new (to me, anyway) store not too far from the library. No need for words here, we loved the place!
I went to Chardon and Sage’s Apple Orchard again with my Dad, this time the cute streets were blanketed in snow. We went sledding at the sled hill. There was more snow and cold. We drove off back East on a cold sunny morning, back to the other side of Pennsylvania and home.