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Archive for February, 2010

Snowmageddon / Snowpocalypse

by on Feb.17, 2010, under Richard Bingle Family

Since I’ve been asked several times if we really drove up into the heart of the winter storm that recently hit the east coast, I figured I’d go ahead and admit the truth and share a little of our adventures.

Ashley was invited to a merit scholarship interview at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, PA (about an hour south of Pittsburgh) on February 6th (a Saturday). We had decided to drive straight through up to Waynesburg and stay overnight there Friday night before her interview. With predictions of heavy snow and bad driving conditions we finally decided to compromise on our original plan of leaving around midnight Thursday night / Friday morning and our extreme “we want to beat the weather” plan of leaving early Thursday morning and settled on leaving after work on Thursday. After getting on the road around 8 p.m., everything was fine for the first four hours, then it started to rain. As we passed through Charlotte, the rain changed to snow.

The snow continued through North Carolina and Virginia. These two states that didn’t seem at all prepared to deal with even three inches of snow and soon the interstates were completely snow covered with nary a plow or snow-spreader in sight (at least not on our side of the road). We contemplated pulling off into a rest area or an exit and waiting until the roads were dealt with, but we weren’t sure that even if we gave the highway departments hours to clear the roads that they would be any better or that we would even be able to get back on them, so we pushed on, trying to stay in the ruts left by the few truckers and other idiots like us still out on the road.

With the temperature continuing to hover at about 31 degrees, we soon entered West Virginia with it still snowing pretty heavily. At a stop at the West Virginia Welcome Center we were advised that taking US 19 instead of going all the way into Charleston, WV to catch I-79 would save us a couple of hours and that 19 would be just as well (or poorly) cleared as the interstates. Turned out that they were right and as an added bonus, the snow turned to rain (still at about 32 degrees) for a couple of hours. But alas, the rain turned back into snow before we entered Pennsylvania. Luckily, we didn’t have too far to go once crossing the border (since the roads were getting much worse as it was snowing harder than ever) and we were soon exiting the interstate. The motel we had thought we might stay at had no food anywhere near it (and we figured we’d likely have to walk for food) and our second choice had a pretty steep uphill driveway that was probably 4+ inches deep in snow, so we settled on third choice, a Super 8 with a KFC within walking distance. We checked in, waded in the snow over to have some lunch/dinner (it was after 3:00 p.m. by this point) and headed back to the motel to weather the storm. A quick phone call to the university informed us that they had decided to cancel the merit interviews scheduled for Saturday sometime while we were driving through Virginia, but we told them we were 2 miles away and weren’t coming back in a week, so they agreed to see us Saturday morning anyway.

The motel lost their cable overnight in addition to the power going off and on several times throughout the night. We awoke to about 18 inches of snow on the ground (and on everything else, including our minivan).


Someone had somewhat parked us in and had abandoned their car there overnight, so with that and everyone taking turns digging their vehicles out and trying to get out of the parking lot, we were a little late getting to the university (where we promptly got stuck going up a hill and and had to back down it and got stuck again trying to get into one of their parking lots).


After Ashley’s interview, we headed (via interstates) over to Somerset, PA so that we would be near where we were planning on skiing on Sunday. Karen had made reservations at a motel the night before, which turned out to be a good thing. About five miles before we got off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-70/I-76), westbound traffic (the other direction) turned into a parking lot with trucks and the occasional passenger vehicle sitting in 6+ inches of unplowed snow. As there was nowhere westbound for westbound traffic to go west of Somerset they weren’t even letting westbound traffic off of the Turnpike there. Thankfully our motel was immediately off of the Turnpike because navigating the unplowed streets of Somerset with all of the trucks parked everywhere in town would have been a nightmare. About four hours later, the sound of dozens of air horns signaled that the road had been reopened. We found out later that it had been closed for over eighteen hours and that the eastbound lanes had been closed for several hours earlier in the day as well.

The roads were fine for our trip to Hidden Valley Ski Resort and despite the cold (it was about 1 degree when we got to the slopes) we had a great time skiiing. We spent most of our day there on the bunny hill, including a lesson for the whole family (Alyssa and Amber had never been on skis before).


After a visit to Westminster College in New Wilmington on Monday we started out immediately for home and again drove straight through. The roads were pretty clear, but slushy in places and full of potholes in Virginia. Our goal was to get back into Florida before the next snow storm hit the east coast (they were forecasting snow in South Carolina and Georgia) and we were successful. We managed to get home about an hour before the rain hit Orlando on Tuesday (as the second round of snow hit the rest of the east coast).

— Rich

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Bingles Survive Earthquake Less Than Twenty Miles From Epicenter

by on Feb.10, 2010, under Donald Bingle, Donald Bingle Family, Linda Bingle

Okay, so it was an Illinois earthquake, only 4.3 on the Richter Scale, but it was just east-northeast of Dekalb, so not that far from us.  It hit at almost exactly 4 a.m., waking Linda, the puppies, and YES even me.  It was a sharp boom and a shudder and knocked a few things off shelves.  Most people who have described it on the news here say they thought a snowplow had hit their house–which is a thought that eventually occurred to me after Linda dismissed my wind/microburst suggestion–we were in the middle of about 8 inches of snow last night.  She also suggested earthquake as a possibility, but I was drifting back to sleep by that point.

So far no damage, no injuries reported.  And, by the way, we do have earthquake insurance.  It is supercheap here (more expensive on Kauai, but we got it there, too, along with hurricane insurance).  Some day the New Madrid fault downstate will go big time–so why not have the insurance?


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