We here at MHCC love a good driving story, but the bad driving stories are the ones that we remember the most. It was only supposed to be a 3-hour tour (cue the Gilligan theme song), but it ended up taking us just shy of 9-hours to get home on Sunday from a fishing trip. It started Friday so well, with sunny skies and no wind, then Sunday looked like a different planet. So we want to share a tale of why you don’t drive on the roads when they shut 3 major highways around you.
A couple of buddies and I loaded up a Ford F-150 with all our ice fishing gear and headed for Lake Poinsett, South Dakota. Friday the weather was beautiful and we started catching some Walleye’s and were having a grand old time. Two days pass and now it’s time to head home.
That night we noticed inside the “Glacier” ice house that the wind had certainly picked up and the drifts were starting to get a little crazy.
When we woke in the morning it was about 1-4 feet of snow covering the entire lake in massive drifts. We had our fishing host with an old GMC plow pickup and snow chains drive us off the lake. Getting on the lake took 15 mins, and getting off the lake took 2 hours. Plowing a road for our caravan of trucks to get off the lake was insane. Plow a 100 feet, get stuck. Plow 5 feet, get stuck, and so on, and so on. We knew this wasn’t a good sign for getting home.
Once we got off the ice and our guide warned us of the roads ahead and we knew we were in for a terrible day. If we hadn’t been basically ice camping for two days, not sleeping trying to catch fish all night, and in need to get home for work, we would have stayed. Well, life goes on and so did we, so we set out on the highway which we quickly learned wasn’t going to be an easy trip.
Cars were few and far between, but when you did see someone there’s a better chance they were stuck in the snow, rather than driving along with you. We continued to hit massive snow drifts and the F-150 handled it beautifully. Until we finally had a detour according to google that couldn’t have led us more wrong. It seriously looked like we fell off the side of the Earth and had landed in an ice world. The sky blended with the land and there was no way to see more than 30 feet infront of yourself.
The roads at this point were all but gone, so we turned around and headed down highway 212 again. Now at this point, we started to think this was a terrible idea, but we kept pushing on and hoped for the best. We then came upon another car stuck in the middle of the road and decided to try another side road. This is where it really went poorly. We were doing ok until we got pushed by the 50mph winds into a ditch while going through a huge drift. Then we spent over an hour digging out the truck to keep on our path.
The wind was terrible. The roads were terrible. The journey was terrible. In the end, we made it home and unloaded all our gear and decided we wouldn’t do that again for a while. The lesson we learned was when the state shuts down everything around you, you shut yourself down too. It’s always the tough journeys you remember and this was a trip down a deserted highway that none of us will soon forget!