Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Traffic: 2013 Edition

Here's a little synopsis on my thought process regarding driving up to Toledo for Thanksgiving this week.

The plan was to drive up to Toledo on Wednesday, leaving at 4 AM, like we usually do when heading up that way. But, the weather forecast doesn't look particularly hospitable for that. Basically, we'd be driving through West Virginia in the snow, potentially during a significant snow event, and potentially during the brunt of that snow event. (Probably not the brunt of it, but do we want to take that chance?)

(Disclaimer: I have a degree in meteorology, but I'm not much of a forecaster. Instead, I just do what you all do and look at other people's forecasts, although I'd like to think I know how to interpret those forecasts - not to mention, which forecats are trustworthy and which are not - better than the general population. My primary source is the National Weather Service. Locally, I also trust WRAL and @wxbrad, and @capitalweather up towards DC, but that doesn't help me a whole lot in West Virginia.)

Could we avoid West Virginia altogether? And if we do, would the weather be any better? Let's see...
- If we go north first, then west - say, by way of Breezewood and the Pennsylvania Turnpike - then we're basically just trading trading snow in West Virginia for snow in Pennsylvania. And actually, it could be worse there: there are already Winter Storm Warnings in Western PA. So, no.
- If we go west first, then north - by way of Knoxville - then, we might have some better luck.

Problem is...going to Toledo by way of Knoxville is a pretty long drive. We've done it in one shot before, and NOT including stops, it took 12 hours. So, plus stops, and given that we have a kid, we'd be looking at 14 hours. And that doesn't even factor in the weather or holiday traffic. No thanks. So, we're leaving late Tuesday afternoon instead, and spending the night near the Tennessee/Kentucky border along I-75, before finishing off the drive on Wednesday. (We already have a reservation, because I'd rather not be stuck looking for a hotel in the snow, for instance.)

"But...since you're leaving Tuesday instead of Wednesday, won't that put you right back into the middle of the storm again?" Well, yes...however, it's supposed to be mostly rain along I-40 Tuesday, changing over to snow overnight into Wednesday morning as we head north of Knoxville. As long as we get to our hotel before the change to snow, no problem!

"Well...what if it DOES change over to snow before you get your the hotel?" Then, at least it shouldn't be as heavy as it's expected to be from West Virginia north. There's also a chance the snow won't have completely moved out by the time we want to leave Wednesday morning; if that's the case, then we'll just wait it out at the hotel, I guess.
I never said this option was a perfect option. It's just the best one we have, given that we have to work Tuesday, and would like to be in Toledo before dinner time Wednesday. The good news is that once we're north of, say, Lexington, we should be all clear.

"So why not just drive all the way to Lexington Tuesday night?" We're already looking at a 6 hour drive to the hotel on Tuesday as it is. We don't want to push it.

As much fun as all of this sounds, I'd still rather put up with this than try flying. At least this way, we're in control. (Mostly.) If we booked a flight for late Tuesday or Wednesday, who knows what would happen there, with delays / cancellations / etc.

Anyway, after all that, during our visit in Toledo, no snow is expected. That's really annoying.

No comments: