Feb 9, 2010

Youngstown to... fail

The plan for today was to go to Sandusky, the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. Why go and see a place with an amazing amusement park in the middle of winter? Well there's the appeal of seeing things at their worst. The sort of feeling that I like to think inspired Morrisey's "coastal town that they forgot to shut down" line. Come Armageddon and all that. But Sandusky is also the name of of a jaunty little instrumental track on the Uncle Tupelo album March 16-20, 1992. To be honest, I don't think visiting the place would have given me any insight into why the tune was written or why tunes are named after places, but it was on the way to Detroit and I really wanted to see Detroit. Yes I know it's meant to be a hell hole, and that Lonely Planet recently listed it as the no.1 city they didn't want to visit. But what nonsense, I mean... c'mon, it's the home of Motown and the MC5, it's the birthplace of Techno and the nursemaid of House. Plus there's Eminem and Kid Rock. Not to mention all the kickass tunes named after the city: Panic in Detroit, Detroit Rock City, Detroit is Burning... in fact there are so many songs about that city that there's even a wiki page that lists them.

And then there's this one... a classic of the genre...

But the Weather Channel was on Def Com 2 this morning and with threats of up to a foot of snow landing in Detroit, we decided to head south and west and try to outrun the snow. By about 12 we saw our first jack-knifed lorry (truck) in the central reservation so we started to think about getting off Interstate-71. But the exit lanes looked so bad I passed a couple by on account of my lack of nerve. A couple of others I passed because they weren't visible. We had hoped to have made it to Cincinnati or at least Dayton (home of the greatest indie rock band of all time) but now even Columbus was looking unlikely as the snow was coming thicker and faster all the time. Then I got lucky, the car in front of me started to indicate that he was going to take the next exit so I thought I'd follow him. It nearly went tits up when he started to fishtail but at least that meant I was able to learn from his mistakes.

So here we are, stuck on the outskirts of a town called Bellville, which is the name of a Django Reinhardt but I expect that's about some gypsy dive in France. So after just two days, the plan to only stay in towns with songs named after them has failed. We walked across the road to the Amish restaurant but it was closed due to the weather. (What has happened to the Amish? One brochure we saw for an Outlet Mall boasted valet parking for Amish horse drawn buggies.) So we were forced to have a crappy BK burger. We're now faced with driving the 4 miles into town or buying diner from the Shell Gas Station across the road. Pray for us.

The only saving grace of today was a short detour to Kent State University to see the site of the shootings that inspired the Neil Young song Ohio. I'm not going to write about that now though, I'm going to save it just in case we're snowed in tomorrow.

Frigid Bones Diary: It was about 30°F most of the day, then fell to about 22°F when it was snowing. I always thought that too cold to snow line was more made up nonsense. For British readers... thats 0°C and -6°C. i didn't go out tonight.


  1. Had a somewhat milder version of a drive like this into Nashville 10 days ago. I no likey.

    So keep it between the lines, eh?

  2. If the lines were visible that would help. It was like Amy Winehouse sneezed most of the day.

  3. I've been enjoying reading this. But 22 degrees is hardly a test of whether it's too cold to snow. That's barely below freezing -- in other words, prime snow temperature. I'm not 100% certain about this, but I think it doesn't snow often when it's below zero (Fahrenheit).

  4. A-ha. Very interesting, because in the UK we think below zero Celsius is too cold to snow. This makes me even more convinced that it's nonsense. I'm guessing polar explorers see it snowing at way below zero, however you measure it.

  5. I don't know anything about the arctic, but you can't use the antarctic to prove your point. It's a desert, with less than a snow equivalent of an inch or two of rain a year. I don't know if what falls is in the summer or winter, though.

    It doesn't make sense that merely being below freezing would be too cold to snow. Anything warmer would be rain.

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  7. A meteorologist answers

    If the air cools to truly frigid Arctic temperatures such as -40 C and below then the moisture capacity of the air will be so low that likely not much snow can occur. Only at these extremely low temperatures is the phrase "it is too cold to snow" fairly valid.


    And now... lets get back to the music