Well, we finally made it home around 11:30 am this morning. 21 hour drive through icy road conditions. We threaded a needle on the way up and managed to avoid the worst of it as it moved in behind us dropping wintery mix of freezing rain and sleet with a little snow mixed in. We caught it on the way home though..... The drive up normally takes right at 12 hours, this time it was 15 hours.
When we got 75 miles from Dallas last night around 6:30pm, there was a 40 mile long traffic jam that grew to 70 miles long....all the way from Ft. Worth to Ranger Texas. We sat in traffic for 2~3 hours, then we caught a break and stopped next to the on ramp of an exit. We asked a big rig next to us to pull up about 6 feet so we could get out of the left lane of traffic and onto the right hand shoulder to drive up 50 yards to uturn on the on ramp of the exit. At that point, we then had options instead of sitting in a 70 mile traffic jam for 18-24 hours-which did happen....twice! There were cars trapped on the interstate once on friday night, then again on saturday night-though we were able to get out of it. there was a bad section of I-20 that had 4-6 inches of ice accumulation on the interstate. Thank God for Micky Thompson tires and 4 wheel drive!!!!!!!
We ended up back tracking ~40 miles and took Texas hwy 6 south to Waco, then on to Houston. Our cousin Indafire called his MIL (she is a truck driver of 30 years and walked us through an alternate route.) We encountered numerous abandoned vehicles in the ditches along with 2 big rigs. Had to detour at least twice, once because of ice fog on a bridge crossing a large lake close to Waco, and another time for a wreck.
No one could get any meaningful sleep/rest because of the bumpy/icy road conditions...it was not until we got far enough south to get below the icy belt that conditions improved enough for us to speed up and passengers to get some sleep.
The cold...HOLY SCHIT!!!
My perception of cold has been altered irreversibly!! 16* for the low friday morning, 7* for the low sat morning!! Indafire has some pictures of me dressed up in the field...and yes, I look like ralphie's little brother. that is the most clothes I have ever had to try and shoot out of, but I got it done. I brought a pair of those old "ice breaker" over boots I inherited from my grandfather...worth their weight in gold that saturday morning!! everyone else wanted a pair.
We had one of the most awesome hunts in memory Friday morning... done with a 7 man limit of geese in 1 hour 20 minutes.... had 2 big flocks do it right, but one was just absolutely awesome!! first little bunch hit the ground, about -7 birds, then after that, wave after wave set up to finish...guide called the shot with well over 200 geese in close range right in the kill hole. the carnage was unforgettable! I got a scotch double on the first shot, missed on the second as the bird I was shooting fell to another gun, then connected on the third. I think everyone got at least a double, except for 1 guy that had gun problems...
crane hunt was OK. guide could not get his blind set up in the field where he originally wanted to because the field was slop, we hunted the edge, picked off a few birds from some flocks, though we did have a pair along with a triple that finished perfectly over the deeks and we managed to get all of those birds. got pics, will post later once I unpack and load them to my computer.
Saturday, the birds were acting skittish. Combination of not enough wind, and high cloud cover.... we ended up with only 10 lessers along with a few bonus ducks. Indawoods did shoot one of the biggest mallard drakes I have EVER seen. even Johnny agreed that the bird was absolutely huge. the bird ended up sailing, and another guy from the other party walked out 400 yards with his dog to find it. We thought the bird was banded the way he was carrying it, but he wanted to not damage any feather incase the shooter wanted to mount the bird. After inspecting it, it was agreed that woods should put it on the wall. Pics. later on that too.
We had a ball again this go around. Guides destroyed 3 gallons of the gumbo in one sitting, along with 10 lbs. of boudin for lunch...We brought home a lot of meat and will package that up (except for the cranes...those will be cooked later this week...