Nancy and I had been looking forward to attending a University of Wyoming football game this fall, and the recent Cowboys-Fresno State game looked ideal.
Several days ahead of time, the forecast was good. I was not paying much attention to the weather or the roads.
Plus, we were taking three of our grandsons to the game — Wolf, Hayden and Finis Johnson, sons of our daughter Shelli Johnson and her husband Jerry.
Shelli and Jerry were in California celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary by attending a hilarious performance by the comic Brian Regan.
After a fun week of taking care of the boys, we went to bed Friday night planning to get up early and head to Laramie.
At 5:30 a.m. Nancy woke me up. She is prone to migraine headaches but this one was different, she said. Her pain was excruciating. Was she having a stroke? When it comes to health, I generally over-react.
I gave her one of her ordinary migraine Sumatriptan pills but it seemed to have little effect. We quickly got dressed and I gave the boys the bad news. We probably were not going to the football game as I was taking “mom mom,” as they know her, to the emergency room.
When I went back to the bedroom to fetch her, Nancy was making the bed. “Well, you know, I want the house to look nice,” she told me through half-closed eyes.
It was a beautiful morning as we headed up to the hospital.
As I pulled in to the parking lot, she was feeling better. “Let’s not go in. Maybe that pill really did the trick,” she said.
So, we sat there for 20 minutes trying to decide what to do? Since it was early Saturday we could not go to the local clinic and, we were sort of stalled in a twilight zone between “do we or don’t we” walk through that door?
Finally, she said she was fine and let’s go home. We drove around town a little while just seeing if she really was better. She now seemed completely healed. She said we should go to the game. What a difference 90 minutes and a powerful pill can make.
We went home and I rousted the boys. Time was short now and we needed to hurry if we were going to get to Laramie. I thought our trip might take about three and half hours since we would have to stop at Bob Luck’s newly remodeled McDonalds for some breakfast on the way.
After that stop, we headed out on highway 287 going southwest toward Laramie. We should make it right at game time.
In fact, the roads were spectacular. I eased the car past the 70 mph mark hoping none of our friendly Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers were up this early.
We got to Jeffrey City and the roads were dry. Beaver Rim behind us had been spotty and I noticed the outside temperature was 21 degrees. Those small patches of ice on the road could be slippery.
Then the highway between Jeffrey City and Muddy Gap turned to pure ice. The wind was howling out of the south and it was pushing my car around. My speed quickly dropped to 30 mph. There were no other vehicles on the road, which seemed odd. Were we the only ones going to the game? Lots of folks should be on this road.
I pulled over at the Split Rock rest area. I walked out on the roadway and the wind almost blew me over. The surface was ice-packed.
My cellphone would not get any service so I could not determine the conditions of the roads ahead. We were now one-third of the way to Laramie.
My heart said go.
My gut said no.
With a cloud of disappointment dominating the inside of the car, we turned around and headed home. Soon, we were on dry roads and I was kicking myself for being a pansy. It was hard to face the boys. I had let them down because I was a chicken.
After we got home, I checked the state’s roads on the WYDOT site and found out those icy roads west of Muddy Gap extended all the way to Rawlins and Interstate 80 was closed between the Carbon County line and Laramie. It was almost impossible to get to the football game from any direction.
I had made the right decision.
Just another typical fall day in Wyoming.
Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books. His coffee table book series has sold 30,000 copies. You can find them at www.wyomingwonders.com.