on thursday at 4:00 p.m., i left work and there were two giant trucks in the gas station parking lot, both loaded to the top with mounds of salt, both with lights on and MOTORS RUNNING. they were READY FOR THE SNOW.

it didn’t start until six, and i keep wondering if they sat there for two whole hours, just waiting, and what, exactly, they might have done in all that time.

i had to go to “nutcracker” rehearsal on thursday night at six. roads were ok. but going back home at about eight, things were VERY VERY BAD. i don’t like driving in inclement weather anyway, and in the dark i hate it even more. i decided not to get on the highway, and instead took a back road that was DARK AND TREACHEROUS AND I COULDN’T EVEN SEE THE ROAD.

but i made it home alive, and at about 10 p.m. i noticed that a neighbor was shoveling his driveway and thought that that looked like a very good idea, so i found the shovel and started in. it was actually nice out there in the dark and cold, because the snow made everything so bright. honey the kitty was having a grand time running all around, but she mostly didn’t stray outside of the shoveled areas. sometimes she charged into the snow, though, and she was highly entertaining.

it was great exercise and there wasn’t much snow, only a couple of inches, and it was pretty easy to do and it made me feel productive. kevin had a very VERY VERY bad day at work, and i wanted him to come home to a CLEAN DRIVEWAY. because what’s better than a clean driveway?

today, though…ICE. well, this afternoon it was mostly rain but now we have an ICE STORM WARNING DON’T GO OUTSIDE TONIGHT UNLESS YOU’RE COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR MIND PEOPLE ARE SKIDDING AND GETTING INTO ACIDENTS LIKE CRAZY.

unless, of course, you have to be in the nutcracker, and in that case you’d better head out pretty soon.

right now there’s no freezing rain but all the snow is now covered with a shiny layer of ice and i’m very very glad i’m not going to be the one doing the driving.

when we get out of the performance it should be quite the skating rink.

randy was YELLING at me this afternoon because i haven’t written in such a long time, but i’ve been very very busy doing TOP SECRET XMAS THINGS. randy is also in the nutcracker and we had our pictures taken together on the stage this afternoon and he thinks it would be great if i’d post the photos but i feel that i’ll probably look like absolutely huge and enormous because my dress is a gigantic tent-like affair with a hat that gives me a headache because it’s too tight.

oh, and i recall, months and months ago, that i mentioned that i might not get the photos of austria up till xmas and now it’s ALMOST XMAS!

so here are a few more photos, and maybe i’ll get doen by xmas.

we left Krems on a cold grey morning and krems is kind of a big place and we weren’t on the bicycle path when we left but we were sure we’d find the river but we didn’t. we had quite a few discussions about the directions and finally we saw a man and asked him if he knew where the path was and he spoke no english at all and we couldn’t understand his german but i thought it would be a good idea to go in the direction that he pointed.

kevin didn’t think so. we were trying to get to the other side of the river, because it was supposed to be more scenic.

so we stayed on the north side of the river and it wasn’t so scenic and it looked like rain. and there was lots of mud that had been scooped off the road. here’s a photo that kevin took while pedaling. yes, he’s very good at multitasking.

road

and he took this picture of me by holding the camera above his head facing backwards.

me

so it wasn’t scenic and kind of cold and we had heard that there was a good chance of rain and suddenly we came across all these detours. we had to drive on a gravel path, or maybe a gravel road, next to a train track and not only was it cold and not scenic but also seemed a little dangerous.

up ahead was a field and kevin said “we’re going to have to ride across the field.”

i, naturally, assumed he was kidding.

THE PATH DETOURED ACROSS THE FIELD.

here is the path, clearly marked with white paint.

path through field

here’s me, figuring that there was no alternative and we’d better hurry before the rain started.

the field wasn’t as bad as riding on the gravel, in my opinion.

path again

at the end of the path was…a bar. yes, a bar at the end of the field. maybe the guy also sold sandwiches. we might have stopped but RAIN WAS IMMINENT.

bar at end of path

the funniest thing about riding on the path through the field was how well-marked it was, with the white arrows continuing across the whole field. so you didn’t get lost and start randomly riding the wrong way in the field.

we stopped at the little town of Tullen, the “garden city.” we didn’t know it was the garden city when we were there, but we did admire the many pretty flowers. it looked like a nice little town, and we sat on a bench eating our lunch after putting on our rain gear. i wasn’t looking forward to riding in the rain, but we could see it coming down in the distance, and it seemed inevitable.

rain

we hurried out of town as the drops started to fall. worse yet, we thought that we were almost to our night’s destination, Stockerau, by the time we got to Tulln, but then we realized that we still had another hour and a half, at least.

but then…the rain was never more than a few drops. whew.

it was a pretty ride on the south bank, and we made it to the bridge again to get to stockerau. here’s a shot of birds on the bridge.

birds

now we had to get to the town, and it looked like we’d be on a road. but the road had absolutely no traffic on it, and soon we were directed to a path through some woods. here’s one more shot taken from the bike.

woods

this was probably the best path into a town we had on the trip. after our nice ride through the woods, we arrived in stockerau and still the rain hadn’t come.

but now i have to go out in the FREEZING RAIN and we probably should have left 15 minutes ago.

ok then,

chilly grace.