some things you should know about minnesota

Well we are back from our 13 day whirlwind tour of the great North. This was a truly Minnesota Christmas with plenty of snow and cold to go around for everyone.

Spending a couple weeks in Minnesota during the dead of winter always makes me realize that southerns truly have no concept of what four seasons really is. So, to offer a deeper sense of reality, I thought I would dedicate this first post of 2008 to giving a little picture tour of Minnesota in winter:

To set the scene, here is a picture of my parent’s house all snowy-ish. For some reason, the past two years the snow has come late to Minnesota (January), which meant no white Christmas… very sad. We had a very white Christmas this year… in fact, I think this was taken on Christmas Day.

It always humors me listening to people in the South talk about snow. If wintry-precipitation is ‘predicted’ sometime within the next week in Nashville, all out chaos breaks loose. There’s a rush on the local grocery store to stock up on all necessary items like milk, eggs, and canned goods that would get anyone through a nuclear disaster. After that, the roads all but shut down out of sheer fear – no one dares to venture out. The News programs go into 24-hour coverage updating you on every degree change in temperature, interrupting your television show and generally annoying the heck out of you.

In Minnesota it is quite different – we don’t get all amped up about a little driving in snow. Note the picture above – this is New Years Day at about 2PM. Note the mounds of snow in the road, the ice on the windshield, and the numerous cars on the road. Getting from Point A to Point B is just something that has to be done, and so it is. If we were to sit around inside every time it snowed we wouldn’t get anything done for four months out of the year.

Here we have the Official Pace Car of Minnesota roads, our friendly orange snowplow. The plows in Minnesota are really quite impressive… they’re out immediately when a storm moves through and clear the major roads quite quickly, and work through the night to keep them clean. Frankly, we laugh a little inside everytime a Southerner complains about driving in the snow because we think you’re a pansy.

This picture is for Steph… she works with horse-people in Nashville who baby their animals every time the temperature dips below 55 degrees, giving them blankets, barns, and heat lamps. Animals can adapt to their surroundings… look how these cows get all fuzzy in the winter to keep them warm.

For the benefit of Wachs, I want to establish the difference between a ‘snowdrift’ and a ‘snowbank’. Snowdrifts are naturally formed by the wind and generally look very soft and clean [note image to left]. Snowbanks on the other hand are formed by snowplows or some other man-made device and are essentially piles of cleared snow [see right].

Minnesota has a lot of limestone, which is a rock very susceptible to cracking due to various acidic elements in the ground. As a result, this picture to the left is a common sight around our hometown… giant icefalls where water has been seeping through the cracks of limestone, and freezing on it’s way to the ground.

So when all is said and done, this is generally what your car looks like after traveling through the wintryness of Minnesota… lots of road-salt and gunk all over it. I washed the car on Wednesday which took care of most of it. As it sat drying in the driveway, streams of saltwater started oozing onto the pavement leaving these giant white streaks beneath our car… nice.

So there you go. Winter in Minnesota.

    • Anonymous
    • January 4th, 2008

    nicely executed…but how DARE you refer to the southerners as “pansies!”

    When it’s 100 degrees outside in July, don’t be surprised if you get called the same name…

    But then again, this doesn’t even apply to me…I’m not a southerner 🙂



    • uncle tim
    • January 8th, 2008

    nice ride.

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