The weather forecast was actually spot on. We received a good three to five inches of snow here in Northern Illinois on Saturday night into Sunday morning, as predicted. It took three hits of the snooze alarm before I could get out of bed and look at the snow. I debated on sleeping in but I have a self-imposed winter snow rule that I follow before cancelling on a show. My rule is that I've got to get into my car and start the drive to the show. If the weather and the roads are conducive to travel, I'll go to the show. If the roads are dangerous, I'll turn around and go home.
My amazing wife cleared off the snow from my car and shoveled the driveway (she's a keeper!). The roads in my neighborhood were plowed. Unfortunately, the neighborhood plows do not work on the main roads. It is actually really silly and inefficient how things are set up in my little burg. The village plows the neighborhoods while the county and the state split up the main roads.
The village and the county always do a bang-up job clearing the snow, but the state, on the other hand, takes its sweet ole time before they clear the main road leading to the highway. As usual, that road was scary. One of two lanes was sort of cleared.
I figured the highway would be better until I saw the piles of snow on the entry ramp -- that was scary. I was not sure if my car was going to make it onto the highway. Thankfully there was not much traffic and my car, which is usually horrible in the snow, made an easy transition from the snow-covered ramp to the partially plowed highway.
There are four lanes heading north when I enter Interstate 294 from Half Day Road. The three left lanes were sort of clear while the far right lane had a layer of snow on top of it. I had a scary choice at this point. One choice was to move into the middle lane that was partly clear but then have to deal with cars speeding too fast for conditions. The second choice was to stay in the slow lane that was covered in snow. I decided that staying in the slow lane covered in snow was safer choice than getting in one of the other lanes and being tailgated at 70 MPH in snow and ice.
The snow was wet and other cars and trucks kicked up sludge and covered my windshield a few times. As I just stated, my car does not drive well in snow. So I was blinded and sliding, going about 50 MPH. I started to think that I should exit the highway and head back home to the comfort and safety of my warm toasty bed. Only problem was that all of the exit ramps were a mess. I thought I would spin out for sure if I pulled off onto one of those exit ramps that did not seem to be plowed at all. I nervously drove on, trying to stay in the tracks made by the cars in front of me.
With heavy winds blowing my car about, slush flying from other cars and covering my windshield, it was scary as hell. I just took it slow in the one lane that was not plowed. Steady as she goes.
Just past the Illinois-Wisconsin border in Kenosha, Wisconsin, I saw nothing but brake lights. I did not hit my brakes because I knew my car would fish tail, so I just took my foot off the gas and was able to slow down in time to get a full view of a jackknifed semi-truck with its back end smashed up against the median and front end extended across the highway. Luckily, this occurred on the other side of the road, southbound. I was heading north, shaken but still too scared to pull off the highway.
The roads cleared up when I hit Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. I could breathe and drive stress free the rest of the way. There was much more snow back south. Thankfully the general Milwaukee area did get nearly as much snow as Northern Illinois. A couple of the intersections in Franklin, Wisconsin, were bad and in need of plowing. I fishtailed a little bit on one turn but made it to Root River in one piece, but very late. I had wanted to be there by 8 a.m. but did not arrive until 9 a.m.
The parking lot at Root River was full when I arrived which I found promising. I saw Randy loading in and he and I were the last dealers to arrive. I brought out 11 display cases. I could have fit one more but I was having trouble fitting them all into my car.
Set up took a while. Customers started to arrive and were glued to my display cases as soon as I filled them. There is a grandfather and grandson team that I met in Oak Creek a while back. They were itching to look at some cards. I let them go through the display cases on their own while I finished setting up. Otherwise, I would not have been able to complete set up. My pal Dave McDonald had previously vouched for this pair so I felt comfortable letting them go through the cases on their own.
When I finally finished setting up, the pair had pulled a large pile of cards. After they paid, I had already more than doubled my total take from last month at Root River -- Woot! Despite the snow, attendance was excellent. I was worried that the Packers loss to the 49er's the night before might deter some folks from coming out. There were a lot of grumblings about the Packers special teams but, like I said, attendance was excellent... so were my sales!
I don't even know what I sold. I was tired out from the Lake Station show the day before and from my scary drive to Milwaukee, so the day was a blur. All I know is that I had a big pile of cash at the end of the day and was pretty freakin' happy.
Unfortunately, I have conflicts with the Root River show over the next two months and can't make it back until April. Seems like all the dealers had great days. I don't know what was going on but that show absolutely rocked! Can't wait till April!
The sun was out and the roads were all clear for my drive home which was easy peasy. Even the lame ass State of Illinois plows had cleared Half Day Road.
There is no rest for the weary. I am setting up in Madison at the Sheraton on Saturday, January 29, 2022. Then in Orland Park on Sunday, January 30, 2022. I am leaning toward binders for Madison and showcases for Orland.
The next Oak Creek show is February 5, 2022. Busy, busy, busy. See you in Madison!