Wednesday, November 23, 2005

ON THE ROAD: Snow, Slush and Gyros

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Greetings from a snowy West Michigan. All meteorologists in the Great Lakes and elsewhere must be for sure be having a great pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday with today's Alberta Clipper that has swept through the region and the lake effect snow machine getting ready to dump a lot of snow in these parts in the morning.

WOOD-TV/NBC had three meteorologists on the 5 p.m. newscast. One live in the weather center, one live in the forecasting office (I'm not sure what the difference is) and Ginger, the newest face (at least to me) to the WOOD-TV weather team, who was out on US-131 reporting on the slushy conditions on the highway.

SO YOU CAN SEE THAT no matter where you go in this country, no matter how seasoned a media market is weather-wise, the weather is a big deal. Even as the wind picked up and 1-3 inches of snow accumulated through the day, the good people of the Grand Rapids went about their business. In Washington, slush would cause havoc. Fear might spread through the federal bureaucracy and the wheels of democracy might grind to a halt. Here, Michiganders build in a couple extra minutes into their commutes and life goes on.

I DROVE TO MICHIGAN yesterday, leaving Washington, D.C., around 12:30 p.m., picking my great aunt up at the beauty shop in McLean, Va. (She did have to look her best for Thanksgiving.) We rolled into East Grand Rapids around 10:45 p.m., only refilling the gas tank once, in Beaver Falls, Pa. The roads were for the most part empty, which helped us make great time.

MANY FORMER GRAND RAPIDIANS when they return for the holidays go do the rounds of their favorite places. For me, I went to Sami's in Eastown for a gyro. Others instantly go to Yesterdog, right across Wealthy Street SE, for hot dogs. (The hot dog joint Dog Years in the "American Pie" trilogy is based on Yesterdog.) I actually will probably make my way through there later this evening on the way home from the bars. Mmmm. Chili cheesedogs.

Have a good evening.


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