February 6th, 2010
07:29 AM ET

Dear President Obama #383: Trapped in Indiana: The sequel!

Reporter's Note: Yesterday I told President Obama of my plight, having stumbled into Indiana with my daughter on a college hunting trip with a major winter storm brewing. Today, I pick up the tale.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Another day, another hotel.

As I write this, I am sitting inside yet another Indiana hotel after one of the most harrowing six hour drives of my life. Seriously, I would rather be forced to watch a 24 hour marathon of “The View” than face such horrors again.

Here is the latest in my saga. As planned, my elder daughter and I spent most of the day on one of these college visits. Notre Dame, as legions of previous scholars have found, is magnificent. Really a lovely place filled with souls dedicated to education. Too bad none of them recognized my slack-jawed, dull-eyed failure to grasp just how deeply my logic was flawed when I said cavalierly, “Oh yes, when we are done here, we’re going to drive down to Indianapolis.” Certainly they could have called some sort of authority from the state hospital to come tie me up for my own safety and sanity, if not my child’s, but no.

As a result, we not only hit the road for this foolhardy journey just as the first faint snowflakes were swirling, we even made a stop along the way…which made the trip longer! Oh yes, I fear the depths of my stupidity on this trip could not be plumbed by even the folks at Woods Hole Oceanographic.

The place I wanted to visit was Colon, Michigan, home to “Abbott’s” the most famous magic supply shop in America. I know this sounds a bit like something Michael Scott would do, but seriously, I’ve been interested in this place for 40 years since I did my magic show as a kid. And since it was only about an hour away from Notre Dame, we figured we might never get a better chance. So we rocketed that way and arrived just 15 minutes before closing. The gentleman minding the shop could not have been nicer, and we exchanged old magician stories. He showed us a few tricks, and we bought a couple; and my daughter delighted in seeing her dad reveling in the great love of his youth. I’ll write more about this visit later…maybe even tomorrow, but for now…back to the road.

By the time we left and started driving again, the light was receding quickly and the snow was picking up steam. And when we crossed the border back into Indiana, everything went downhill. We left too late, we treated the snow too casually, and…big one here…we headed east instead of west to find our southward route to Indianapolis. Seems like an insignificant choice, doesn’t it? Not so. The storm appears to have been much more vicious along the Ohio front, and mile by mile the road grew worse. The wind howled, creating periodic white outs, other cars careened into the ditches, and we pressed on, often creeping a mere 25 or 30 miles an hour.

Constantly I considered trying to stop and grab a hotel, but honestly the visibility became so poor it was one of those situations where we could not see far enough to find one, and we dared not pull over for fear of inviting a rear-end collision, or simply finding ourselves unable to move again. So we could neither stop nor proceed with much certainty. I’ve been through some hairy driving in my day, but for six straight hours this was pure heart-in-your-throat stuff.

When we finally turned west, conditions mercifully improved. Not much, but enough. And at great long last, here we are in our hotel by the airport. Sure we can’t fly anywhere until Sunday at the soonest, but at least we are not more deeply stranded, many miles from our potential launching point.

So, I just thought I’d bring you up to date. My daughter has fallen asleep, and I can’t blame her. “Music and Lyrics” is on TV, and I think I am going to watch it now. Call if you get a moment. We can exchange weather stories from the far ends of the storm front!

And I’ll let you know when the airplane situation improves.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Tim Gibson

    Yet even the common folks like ourselves know when to slow our speed in the face of uncertain weather conditions and that is the magic.

    February 6, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  2. zelda

    Tom im awfuly sad to read your story hope things get better.

    February 6, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  3. Lausafsmith

    I find this so funny & accurate! I grew up near South Bend & my first 25 years around northern IN & completely understand the bleakness of the underestimated Indiana winter. But never fear if you get stranded for the game tomorrow! Find one of several Yats restaurants around town (I think the owner & NOLA native Joe is usually at the Broad Ripple location) and they will be able to help you find a safe place to watch the game. Good luck getting out of dodge & just be glad IN now follows DST or you would have a whole other headache of stupidity to figure out!

    February 6, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  4. cindy from WI

    I experienced the same white knuckle ride last night. Drove through IN to get to a speaking engagement in Cincinnati. Worse roads ever. 35+ yrs of driving all over and this was BAD!

    February 6, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  5. n2seeleybooth

    You are an excellent writer, reading your tale brought back fond and not so fond memories of Indiana winters, enjoy

    February 6, 2010 at 7:40 am |