On Tuesday I set out alone from Manhattan, KS to Fayetteville, AR for a studio project, things did not go to plan.

I had gotten a University vehicle from the motor pool, a late model Chevy Silverado, extended cab, V8 with 4wd via a manual transfer case. After loading the cedar 2x6s out of my pickup into the Chevy I set off. I no more than cleared the motor pool driveway when I realized that, contrary to what I’d been told, the truck didn’t have a full tank of gas. A great start to the trip.

The 5.5 hour trip down was mostly good, if a bit boring. Between NPR and pop stations (and talking to myself) I kept myself entertained. I did have to stop in Ft. Scott and throw a tarp over the wood due to rain.

Fayetteville was great and I got to learn about and do some Shou Sugi Ban charring.

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I left Fayetteville and headed back towards Manhattan, about an hour in everything went to hell.

The good part of the story, bad part of my trip

(Driving north on I-49, weather is getting bad, I’m running about 45mph in 4wd)

“There’s lights up ahead, I wonder why”

(slows down a bit, truck slides)

“Oh, it’s a little slick”

“That’s a bunch of emergency vehicles”

“Oh shit, it’s a LOT slick”

(looks out passenger window, which is now “forward” because the truck is sliding at a 45 degree angle down the highway)

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“And now I know why, there’s 2 vehicles upside down in the ditch... one of which is very much on fire. Please don’t let me crash into a cop car”

That was one of the more horrific crashes I’ve ever seen. I managed to get the truck back under “control”. If any of my studio mates had been driving I’m pretty sure we’d have been the third car upside down in the ditch. The roads were entirely ice beyond that point. I couldn’t keep the truck in a straight line no matter how carefully/slow I drove. Stopping from 25mph involved sliding for like 150 feet.

I gave up. I stopped, found the nearest hotel, and got a room. On the 10 minute drive to the hotel I saw at least 6 more cars off the road.

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So I got to spend a night in a Best Western in Neosho, MO and drove home the next day.

Speed Six for your time

TL:DR

I drove a long way, did a thing, and on the way home nearly crashed in an ice storm. Turning a day trip into a 2 day one.