Illinois Adventures · Musings & Whatnot

Winter Adventures In Northwest Illinois 2018-2019

These past 3 years I’ve spent the winter along the east coast of Florida. You’d typically find me somewhere between St Augustine FL and Key West FL. Once in a while, for a change of pace, I’d head up the Georgia coastline for a bit. This year (the 2018-2019 winter season) I’m spending winter in Warren IL with my Dad.

One thing I’ve learned by spending winter in the Homeland is that I simply don’t like winter.

I’ve always enjoyed the change in seasons but, until a few years ago, the change in seasons is all I’ve ever known.

Now, I’ve been to the other side of winter and it’s changed me!

I prefer the warm, sunny Florida coast winters over the cold, gloomy northern winters where the weather is erratic and the sun often hides for days.

Admittedly, the winter scenery can be amazing… but the beauty of the northern winter is best admired from the sunny coast of Florida.

Enjoy it while you have it…

I learned long ago to enjoy what you can while you have it. I’m doing my best to enjoy this time with Dad – even if I don’t like the weather

Christmas around the town…

During the Christmas season I took a few spins around town at night to look at the lights but my pictures are all blurred and streaky. That’s what I get for using my phone to take the night time pictures!

During the daylight hours, cute snowman cutouts greeted me with a smile as I roamed around the town.

Snowmen abound in Warren IL.

Running errands with Cookie…

Sometimes Cookie comes with me when I have a quick errand to run in town.

During the Holiday season it was comical because Cookie barked and wagged his tail at the festive snowman cutouts!

Christmas Decor at Dad's House 2018

Decorating for Christmas…

The extent of my Christmas decorating involved putting up a little ceramic Christmas tree with lights and plugging it in.

For some reason this little tree is popular this year. Similar ceramic trees were selling on Ebay for upwards of $600.

But I love this little tree and this one is NOT for sale!

December weather in northwest Illinois…

The weather was pretty decent this December. We had minimal snow and it wasn’t too awful cold. One morning, on my way to Freeport to do some grocery shopping, I decided I needed to stop and smell the roses (or smell the frost!?).

During the night, Old Man Winter magically blanketed the landscape with an amazing Hoar Frost (a beautiful white frost that covers the land but melts quickly once the sun comes out).

Winter Hoar Frost
Hoar Frost Winter Adventures
Winter Hoar Frost Scenery

Turkey for Christmas…

I’ve been hungry for turkey so, while at the store, I decided to get turkey to cook for Christmas dinner.

I’m not one to cook but having to cook my Dad’s meals and then cook my own meals has brought out a side of me that I didn’t know existed!

My Dad and I don’t eat the same way so I often cook separate meals for each of us.

On Christmas day we enjoyed turkey, pumpkin pie and other fixin’s for our Christmas dinner. It actually tasted good!

Over the Holiday season I also tried my hand at some Christmas goodies. My favorite was Christmas Crack.

Ringing in the New Year…

Our New Year’s Eve festivities were pretty uneventful.

Dad falls asleep easily and it was debatable if he’d be awake at midnight. So, I went upstairs to watch a movie and see midnight before hitting the hay.

The last time I looked at the clock it was 11:50pm.

I never saw midnight.

Oh well…

Winter storms galore…

December was mild and I thought I had this winter season made in the shade.

Then January came around and my dreams of a mild winter went down the drain quickly.

We’ve had back to back winter storms dumping quite a bit of snow in a short period of time.

We hired someone to plow the driveway and sidewalk but, for some reason, when it snows a lot they don’t shovel around the van and I have to do it.

I cleaned Bella off already but she was covered with a very thick layer of snow.
The back deck. There’s a gas grill and picnic table under the snow.

If all this snow wasn’t enough…

Winter storm Jayden was followed up with record low temps and windchills.

We had about 80 hours of record low’s. The city instructed everyone to let a water faucet run to keep the pipes from freezing (the water stream only had to be the size of pencil lead).

I was a bit on edge. Furnaces in this area aren’t made to deal with temps this low. And, with these extremely low windchill’s, frostbite can occur in 4 minutes.

I didn’t watch the news so I don’t know how low the temperatures actually got. But, thru the 80 hour time frame, I checked the weather app on my phone periodically to keep an eye on the outside temperature.

  • The lowest actual temperature I saw was 38 degrees BELOW zero.
  • The lowest windchill I saw was 52 degrees BELOW zero. 

Getting the van started…

I didn’t bother trying to keep the van running. It was too cold to be outside messing around with it.

My plan was to send warm vibes to Bella (my van) and, when the deep freeze ended, call AAA to get Bella started.

Those warm vibes must have done the trick because I didn’t have to call AAA… Bella started on her own!

Mother Nature has a weird sense of humor…

Mother Nature must think we haven’t had enough winter fun.

The back to back winter storms and record low, deep freeze temperatures were followed up by an ice storm.

Everything was covered in a sheet of ice. E V E R Y T H I N G!

I tried to Cookie outside to go potty. He slipped and slid as soon as he hit the sidewalk so I quickly snatched him up and had him use puppy pads for the day.

The ice storm was a couple days ago but Mother Nature hasn’t let the temperature get much above zero and the ice isn’t melting easily.

An unexpected adventure in the back yard…

A couple days ago, as the sun was going down, I went out on the back deck to get a closer look at the sun beaming through the ice covered trees.

Winter Adventures 2018 2019

I often step out on the back deck to enjoy the scenery but I usually don’t put a coat or shoes on because it’s just a quick peek. And, when I take pictures I usually use my phone.

But, this time, I decided to take my camera and leave my phone inside

I snap a few pictures and turn to go back inside but the door doesn’t open…

The button that unlatches the screen door is frozen solid.

I whacked it several times with my bare hand but it wouldn’t budge.

My fingers started to get so cold I couldn’t feel them. I’d looked at the temperature a while ago and it was minus 1.

I bang on the door but no one inside hears me.

My dad can barely hear me when I’m standing right in front of him and Cookie is deaf. With no phone and 2 warm but deaf bodies inside I found myself locked outside – in the cold – with no way to get anyone’s attention to open the door for me.

It’s no fun being outdoors in below zero temperatures wearing a tee shirt and capris…

My typical “around the house” attire is a tee shirt and capris – regardless of the outdoor weather.

Given my attire, I needed to come up with a quick plan to get back inside.

The plan… make the journey across the slippery ice covered snow to get to the side door.

There was a small patch of snow shoveled on the deck. I usually shovel a patch so I can step out back and enjoy the amazing views. But I had to head over to the snow covered deck and out into the yard.

I step on to the deep snow fully expecting to sink in…

The ice covered snow was frozen solid and I didn’t sink in! I attributed this to my recent 44 pound weight loss (haha).

As I walk to the edge of the deck I grab the ice covered railing with my bare hand to keep myself from falling.

I begin to shiver. It’s dang cold out here…

But, I still have a ways to go.

My journey through the frozen terrain as the evening sun is setting will involve traveling on foot around the deck… through the back yard… around the back of the 2 1/2 stall garage… through the open gate of the fenced in yard… around the side of the garage… onto the patchy ice covered driveway… and, finally, across the front of the 2 1/2 stall garage to the porch door so I could head into the house and thaw out.

Normally I step out onto the deck in my bare feet. But this time, thankfully, I put shoes on.
My treacherous trek across the ice covered tundra was successfully completed wearing Crocs…

Crocs are NOT ice friendly. They’re the worst thing you can wear on snow let alone ice covered snow.

My concern was falling and not being able to get back up because no one knew I was even outside!

So, I took my time and, if my shoes were too slippery, I’d go barefoot (what can I say?…. I hate shoes and socks!).

I made it back inside and told Dad what happened…

Dad said the same thing used to happen to him (although he never went out in the middle of winter in below zero temps with no coat, mittens, hat, etc).

He told me that’s why the hammer was laying on the deck – so he could gently tap the button on the door and open it.

I always wondered why there was a random rusty hammer laying on the back deck. Now I know why!

The random rusty hammer laying on the deck.

Adventures can happen anywhere….

It seems there’s never a dull moment in my life. I suppose this is proof that adventures can happen even when you’re not out and about traveling the country.

Some would call this an unfortunate event – but I call it an adventure.

It’s simply how you choose to look at it.

The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude

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