Arkansas' plane had to be diverted to..

Little Rock because it could not land at XNA because of the icy weather up here tonight

Spending the night there and will try to get back to Fayetteville on Sunday

I would not have wanted to be in any kind of aircraft tonight. Those were vicious winds in central Arkansas. Glad they’re on the ground and safe.

Maybe they can have a shootaround at Verizon Arena and see if those rims are still Hog unfriendly. They can use an extra practice there.

That’s the truth! Every time the Hogs play a game there it’s like those rims have the smaller, shooting practice rim inserts teams put in during preaseason. Even our good shooters struggle at Verizon Arena, even layups won’t go in.

Last sentence says it all.

Indeed, Saturday was a bad day to be traveling in Arkansas. We were in Cabot for the annual Ashcraft family Christmas party. We ended it early so those traveling to the corners of the state could try to beat the bad weather. Most notably, it was my family traveling to Northwest Arkansas that needed to get on the road. It was me, my wife and daughter Sarah in our Honda CRV. We elected to take it on the trip for the all wheel drive. Could have taken my Silverado with 4-wheel drive. But we liked the 4-wheel drive for this trip.

We got out of Cabot at 4 p.m., a little later than we wanted because all wanted to watch the end of the basketball game. Leaving at 3:30 was the original plan and that was a better idea, but we didn’t stick to it.

So we stopped for a Sonic drink in Cabot, then again in Russellville to fill up the car with gas and empty our body from the Sonic. I wanted a full tank in case we got stranded in the mountains, and we almost did. But, those two stops cost us 20 minutes, and it could have made a big difference. We might have beat the trouble.

Everything was going fine, despite temps at 17 and freezing rain hitting the road. It was obvious the highway department had put down some melting material. But, when we popped out of the Bobby Hopper tunnel, it was clear things were different north to Fayetteville. Traffic slowed, then stopped just around the Winslow exit. Two trucks had jack knifed and were resting against each other on one of those crazy curved bridges the highway department engineers were so proud to build.

So there we sat about two miles back of them, for about 90 minutes. Dead sit. At that point I told everyone in the car to be prepared to be there for the night. I thought I was going to be right until a highway salt truck with plow came by us on the median. He put down more stuff on the bridge where the trucks were stuck and pushed one of the trucks a little to open up one lane. Slowly, traffic began to move in the left lane, where we were at. Then, the smart folks began to let the other lane join in the north bound movement. That slowed the process, but it was the right thing to do. It took about 30 minutes to clear the trucks, but it was easy sailing the rest of the way. The good thing, all of the semi trucks had pulled to the shoulder by then. They were waiting for the highway salting crew to get the road in really good shape, and that was clearly what was going down.

The roads in Fayetteville were worse. Salt trucks had not had a chance to complete their work. After dropping off Sarah at her home on western side of town, we slowly made it back to the eastern side to our home. There was a tough hill on 265 near Signature Bank that had cars stuck. A policeman came and ordered all without some kind of good traction setup (4-wheel, all wheel) to turn back. He picked out the ones with good traction (like us) and sent us up and over. Finally, six hours after the start in Cabot, we were home.

There was not much precipitation over night so we had good roads early on Sunday. The thaw is here Tuesday. We should have good weather with the return to a southern breeze over the last few hours. That’s great news.

I knew what we were getting into Saturday night. I studied the hour-by-hour forecast for 48 hours. We were close to timing it perfect. But the hectic finish to the basketball game through off all my plans. I did enjoy the win over Texas and am glad I saw it. It was worth the problems. Even Jean Ann and Sarah understood. They have the same thoughts (nothing good) about Texas that I do.

One last thought, during our dead stop near the tunnel, there were lots of guys getting out of their rigs to pee. My wife didn’t like that. Why? It was disrespectful to the women. Where are they going to go? It’s a point that I hadn’t thought about. I didn’t dare suggest that it might soon be time to figure it out. It was not something that they wanted to discuss – until we got moving and passed those stuck trucks.

Truckers should always have a supply of Big Gulp cups with lids on hand Clay.

Empty Gatorade bottles work wonderfully.

Female truckers also???

My experience is with marathon runners, who get stuck at times on a 26-mile bus ride to a starting line, taking up to an hour, on a school bus with no toilet. And yes, I’ve seen female runners also make use of the Gatorade bottle under a poncho or garbage bag which they wear to (a) keep warm/dry and (b) permit the use of the Gatorade bottle without flashing someone.

Might be the newest best selling point for Gatorade, co-ed efficient in emergencies!