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My almost weekend in the poconos
Old 03-03-2018, 09:29 AM   #1
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My almost weekend in the poconos

When the Mrs. told me there was snow expected in the Poconos I said ok “we wont go”. She said it will only be a “couple of inches... it will be fun” so I agreed -it would prove to be a big mistake. We left Thursday at 6AM so I could be online and working by 9AM. Yeah I can work from anywhere there’s an internet connection. A bit of early rise (the dog woke me at 5AM) and a smooth drive and all went well. When I get off the highway even though its still a good 25 minutes to the house I feel Ive got the worse behind me. We drove passed a WaWa a Turkey Hill and another nameless giant gass station. It was my second mistake. Why stop when the fuel tank said a bit more then half.

After we arrived I logged on got to work, my wife and sister in law got to work at their planned activity - patching a ding in the stairway wall and sealing a ugly stain below one of the windows. Then painting the entire walls where both decor offending imperfections resided. They ran out to the store and bought some supplies and were gone for 2 hours. By the end of the evening the wall looked fantastic - job done. We made a great dinner, watched some tv, had a couple glasses of white wine and went to bed.

Friday - the dog did what she does and woke me, it was a bit after 6AM. I started the coffee and walked her and there was a snow, sleet mixture going on out there. The Mrs woke around 7:30 and announced the forecast has changed to up to a foot. By that time it had changed to all snow, huge flakes. In no time at all every tree and screen in the house in was coated in snow. Then the wind started to build and the temperature started to drop. Fast forward a few hours and the overloaded tree limbs and trees started to fall. I took a nap only to be woken by the crash of a monster tree across the street. The outside had transformed into an interior Alaska blizzard and whiteout. I shovled the walk and make a pathetic attempt to clean he car. It was then that a tree let go and fell on my BILs aluminum bass boat. I went back in the house...

7PM four oldsters, counting the pooch, having an unhappy blanket party in the living room. No electric, no heat, candles, water in buckets for flushing. Listening to the howling wind and falling trees. It is times like these when I am reminded what a softie I am. We didn’t use the fireplace because we felt our best option was to evacuate as soon as the snow stopped. 9PM the snow stopped and we closed up the house by candlel and flash light. We had to break into the frozen ice sealed car. With limited cell service we were able to have our daughter identify a gas station open and pumping gas, next to a hospital about 20 miles, away on the way home.

A valiant plow driver had made passes every couple of hours. Had he not there was no way we would have made it out. Our home is at the bottom of a big hill. My Toyota Highlander did us right and we made it to the top of the hill. The main road was closed and we had to take an alternate less hilly path. Still there is no way off the mountain without going downhill - it was a white knuckle affair - 5MPH and twice I felt the pulse of the anti-skid breaks kick in. Only when we turned out of our neighborhood did we get a sense of the devastation. Cars strewn every which way, trees half blocking the road and down wires ...oh those down wires. It was an obstacle course the wind and blowing snow added to the effect. Only the dog wasn’t scared. All those wires ratified our decision to leave. There would be no heat at that house other than the fireplace for some time.

The gas station was packed, only had premium and I was grateful for it. The Mrs and SIL bought coffees the other patrons talked about the number of closed roads. The further we got from the Poconos the better it got. We rolled in after midnight. The power which had been off at home was now on. Thank god.

I’m such a softie.
Florida anyone?

P.S. At home I have a generator, an inlet to plug it into and a switch to turn the hose onto generator mode. Our two gas stoves operate on a couple of AA batteries in the receiver and the thermostat - so we have heat when the electric is out. I also have 3 kerosene lamps. Since no one has ever lived in the Pocono house full time it isn’t well equipped.
If I were the sole owner if would
1. Put an insert into the fireplace
2. Buy a small Generator and wire an intlet it so it powers the water pump, an outlet or two and the fridge
3. Get a couple Kerosene lamps
4. Buy Battery operated radio
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:36 AM   #2
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:13 AM   #3
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I can't even imagine leaving home and going on a long trip like that, given that snow was expected. Was this due to the big storm in the news, that we all knew was on its way to hit the northeast this week? I hope your adventure was fun, and I'm glad you got home safely.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:50 AM   #4
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Great (funny?) story rayinPenn. I don't live in the Pocono's but do live in upstate NY where we get (and got in this case) similar weather. My advantage is that I don't have to drive to it, I am already here.

About 8-10 years ago a storm knocked out power at my house for 4+ days in a December storm. The house went down to 33 degrees, and that was with a fireplace. As it was approaching freezing in the house, I finally gave in and drained the boiler and baseboards. Which of course was the sacrifice needed and power was shortly restored.

From that, I learned my lesson:
1) Have a generator. Actually, I have two of them. The larger unit uses propane which is an advantage in that you don't have to worry about old fuel going bad.
2) Have a stockpile of food and water. The Morman's/Boyscout's/prepper's have their act together on this front.
3) Have a vehicle equipped for the conditions. I have two non summer vehicles. One is AWD and one is a truck (4WD). For both of these I've invested in dedicate snow tires on dedicated wheels. Having good snows is in many cases more important than having AWD/4WD. Having both is even better. I also have a set of easy on chains for the truck (but have never had to use them). Having the dedicated wheels saves money in the long run - I never have to pay to have them re-balanced, and most places are pretty cheap to just mount the wheels in the fall / spring). It also allows the summer tires used to be designed for those conditions, and not for "all" seasons, and my summer tires last a lot longer than if they were also used in the winter. Even with 4WD/snows, I also put weight (bags of sand, salt) in the back of my truck (I have a hard cover so it doesn't look like crap and I also keep my skis there all winter.)

Then again, maybe I should get rid of all this crap and move to Florida too. In the meantime, it's off to cross country ski on top of this 15" of white stuff.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:55 AM   #5
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I always watch the 3 day weather forecast before we plan to go anywhere that involves an overnight stay. If it looks "iffy", we usually postpone the trip if at all possible. I've learned my lesson over the years.......had to drive through some horrible snow/ice storms in the past, and I have no desire to do it again! The nice thing about retirement is that you can usually postpone most trips until things look okay.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:10 PM   #6
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Grew up in the Poconos (still have family there and will be there next weekend). BE PREPARED! No fireplace but multiple kerosene heaters. Couldn't tell you the number of times we (family of 10) congregated in the living room for days with every blanket in the house when power went out, the doorways covered in blankets, kerosene heater going, playing board games by candle light until power came back on and the roads were passable. We would just hunker down and ride it out. Always have extra stuff on hand. Still remember climbing down the ladder in our pump house to thaw out the water pipes with a propane torch so they did not freeze. Definitely a different lifestyle.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:20 PM   #7
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You lucked out, I'm guessing next time you go up there in winter you will be watching the weather more carefully....
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:27 PM   #8
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DW and I grew up in PA and moved to FL right after college. Weather was the deciding factor. The goal was to drive south far enough to find people who never saw snow.

However, names like Irma, Wilma, Jean, Francis and Andrew are coupled with stressful memories of our time in Florida. We have evacuated four times from the island not knowing if our home would still be standing in two days.

Very glad your family made it back safely- a white knuckle drive with loved ones in the car is stressful.
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:55 PM   #9
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I can't even imagine leaving home and going on a long trip like that, given that snow was expected.
I might go for it but DW would have to be dragged kicking and screaming every inch of the way.

My original retirement plan was one of the Carolinas. I knew FL was too hot in the summer because my sister lived a bit north of Orlando for eight years and described it as "D.C. in August for ten months of the year."
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Old 03-03-2018, 02:17 PM   #10
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Power failures seem to accompany winter weather in the Northeast. Out here on the western side of Lake Michigan, we seldom see fierce winter storms that take down trees. The last one I recall was a very late snowstorm (the latest on record in our area, I believe) on May 10, 1991. Trees and bushes were already leafing out, which caused them to be weighed down by the heavy snow.
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Old 03-03-2018, 02:22 PM   #11
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Sounds like a great time. 😁

Thanks Ray, you made me smile. Any early childhood memory coming home from grandma's, I'm like 5. Dark snowy night, DM is driving her little Rambler Nash with DS and me. Can't make it up one hill, have to back down and up the one before.

I wasn't very aware but DM was scared to death, we're out in nowhere and she'd only been driving a couple of years.
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:38 AM   #12
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I can't even imagine leaving home and going on a long trip like that, given that snow was expected. Was this due to the big storm in the news, that we all knew was on its way to hit the northeast this week? I hope your adventure was fun, and I'm glad you got home safely.
Yep, it was on the news for days before hand, here in Pennsy. There are still a lot of people in Delaware County with no electric due to all the downed trees. Repair crews can't get down the roads to fix power poles/wires dues to all the downed trees.
Ray, Channel 6 in Philly has a possible two more Nor'easters in the up coming week. You must be new to the area and the Poconos.
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Old 03-04-2018, 07:31 AM   #13
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Yep, it was on the news for days before hand, here in Pennsy. There are still a lot of people in Delaware County with no electric due to all the downed trees. Repair crews can't get down the roads to fix power poles/wires dues to all the downed trees.
Ray, Channel 6 in Philly has a possible two more Nor'easters in the up coming week. You must be new to the area and the Poconos.

No we’ve been living in on the Penn/De border for 13 years and owned that Poconos house for 25 years. We just made a very poor decision. (I continue to remind the Mrs of that). I have to say it was the worse storm I’ve ever witnessed. It’s odd too because I always work from home if there’s a forecast of more than an inch or two.

Lesson learned -albeit painfully.
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Old 03-04-2018, 07:51 AM   #14
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After that experience you'll probably swing the other way and stay home if you even hear the word snow.
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Old 03-04-2018, 08:46 AM   #15
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I have a friend who used to travel through the Poconos as part of his sales area. He got stuck once in a snowstorm and the only place that would take him in was a nursing home. He spend several days there earning his keep by doing laundry, making beds, and helping in the kitchen.
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My almost weekend in the poconos
Old 03-04-2018, 10:37 AM   #16
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My almost weekend in the poconos

This story was good reading, Ray. It’s an adventure... when it happens to someone else.

Lots of power outages here in New England, even 2 days later. Looked on the power outage grid map, out of morbid curiosity, and some of the outages (affecting thousands of people!) aren’t expected to be fixed for another couple days. On Friday, at the height of the storm, DW said the wind through the treetops of the forest behind our house sounded like a freight train.
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Old 03-04-2018, 02:03 PM   #17
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Just got home from skiing. This is a great story to come home too. PS: I'm always prepared to go camping, just in case it is in the living room.
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Old 03-05-2018, 11:05 PM   #18
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After that experience you'll probably swing the other way and stay home if you even hear the word snow.strong gust
LOL. I feel your pain Ray. Mrs Scrapr likes to remind me of my stupid (hindsight) decisions.

This last week for instance. We are traveling over the mountain pass back to Bend. 10-12 inches expected. Well, they usually keep the pass well plowed. But she hasn't had a lot of snow driving experience. We are in 2 cars so I can't coach her though it. She hit a slushy spot and fish tailed a bit. I called her on the cell and asked her if she wanted to park the car at a Sno Park and come back for it the next day. "I'm not stopping for nothing" was her reply.

Then I got chewed out when we got home. LOL
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Old 03-05-2018, 11:12 PM   #19
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Every time I read a story like this I am glad we got the hell out of New England and moved to Texas when we did. If we visit family back there, it's only during summer months.
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Old 03-06-2018, 05:57 AM   #20
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Ray, Turn the weather channel on, we have another one coming.
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