‘Snowpocalypse’ made for rough trip

For a guy from Kenora getting to travel around the southern U.S. to fish bass tournaments on the FLW Tour, I truly can say I’m getting to live one of my dreams.
Last week, I left home for Florida to get ready for my first tournament of the season at Lake Toho, just south of Orlando, which takes place the first week of March.
Over the past three years that I’ve been travelling across the U.S. to fish these tournaments, I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve not had to travel through too much bad weather, nor have I experienced any mechanical breakdowns with my equipment.
That all changed this past week on our trip south.
My wife, August, travelled with me, along with her sister and a couple of friends. We actually brought two vehicles, with me pulling my boat along.
The trip started smoothly as we escaped the minus-30 temperatures in Northwestern Ontario. The roads were clear until about midway through Illinois, about where the snow usually ends on these trips south, when we ran into what the radio stations were calling a “snowpocalypse.”
Within a matter of minutes, we went from clear highways to the most intense blizzard I’ve ever seen. For the next 12 hours, we pushed on slowly—covering what would have taken us about three hours under normal driving conditions.
Eventually, we hit Nashville, Tenn., where the snow fizzled out to make for much better driving conditions.
To put this blizzard in perspective, there literally was 10-12 inches of snow on the ground within a few hours and hundreds of vehicles in the ditch.
Some might ask why we decided to drive through this mess? Well, the roads were not busy so we just put our vehicles into four-wheel drive and drove slowly.
The problem in that part of the U.S., through southern Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee, is that they are not set up with plows and equipment to deal with these storms, so we didn’t want to get stuck somewhere and then not be able to move for three or four days because everything was shut down.
We had a house rented in Florida that was waiting for us.
Fortunately, after we got through the blizzard, the roads were good the rest of the way to Florida.
Throughout my travels, I always make a point to have a look at my trailer (mainly the wheel bearings) to make sure everything is working properly. If the bearings seize up, it’s only a matter of time until you have major issues, with the worst-case scenario being a tire flying off the trailer as you’re driving down the highway.
This happened to me once years ago and it wasn’t fun.
When we arrived at our place in Florida, I looked at the trailer and immediately noticed brake dust around my back tire. Upon closer inspection, it was evident the brakes on my trailer had failed and did not look good.
I took the whole rig to a dealership to have them look at it, and they told me what I was afraid they were going to—that everything would need to be replaced.
The problem is that parts would have to be ordered from the trailer manufacturer so as I write this, we’ve been in Florida for almost a week and I still haven’t been able to get my boat in the water.
The idea for coming down here early before my tournament, which takes place next week, was to get some hours on my new motor and make sure everything works on the boat.
Fortunately, my friend, Bill Godin, and his wife, Nell, from Lake Despair Lodge, are down here right now so Bill took me fishing one day. We’ve also been having fun doing other things down here—riding roller-coasters, hitting the beach, and doing some shopping.
I’m hoping to have my boat back in time to run it for a couple days towards the end of the week before the pre-fishing starts for our tournament this weekend.
As bad of luck as it is that this trailer thing happened, it could have been worse. At least it didn’t happen in the middle of the “snowpocalypse” or when I arrived in town for the actual tournament week.
Heck, we’re in Florida. Hopefully I got all my bad luck out of the way before next week!