FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Winter Driving

by Patricia Vanikiotis

Jan 15, 2022

Photo 12370159 © Inga Nielsen | Dreamstime.com

Across the country in the past several weeks severe winter storms have wreaked havoc on our roadways. Most have read the stories about the drivers stuck on I-95 in Virginia for 24 hours in a snowstorm.

snowy highway

Photo 18080783 © Karen Foley | Dreamstime.com

Here in the Pacific Northwest, major mountain passes in Washington state were closed for several days when several feet of snow fell over the course of a few days. Other closures halted traffic on Interstate 5 and Interstate 80 in Oregon, Nevada and California. I witnessed semi trucks lined up for miles along the roadways here in my home town (30 miles north of the California border), waiting for the passes to open up so they could deliver their cargo. Forecasts for this weekend throughout much of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast promise more severe weather, with ice, snow and wind guaranteeing difficult driving conditions.

One can find excellent winter driving tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA, but the best and most obvious tip is to not drive in wintry conditions if at all possible. If you have to drive or find conditions suddenly changing and becoming hazardous, you can deal with the situation best by keeping your vehicle in good condition, keeping certain items in your car for emergency situations and driving defensively.

We all know in icy conditions we should slow down and increase the distance between our car and others’,

cars on highway

Photo 21801292 © Imageegami | Dreamstime.com

but some of the best advice I heard recently is very succinct and practical: Turning, braking and accelerating — on icy or snowy roads, only do one of these at a time. If you do get stuck or are forced to stop, experts advise making sure your car is visible

vehicle in snow

Photo 23621036 © Steve Woods | Dreamstime.com

(keeping the dome light on after dark doesn’t use much power) and keeping the tailpipe clear of snow to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when you (periodically) run the engine for warmth.

My husband and I had the opportunity to test our winter driving preparedness and savvy during our recent New Year’s trip visiting friends in cold and snowy Central Washington. Even before leaving home on our nearly 1,000-mile roundtrip, we checked detailed forecasts and were prepared to cancel last minute if things looked too dicey. We also consulted state Department of Transportation cameras throughout our journey so as to have real-time information about road conditions and weather. I practiced putting on our chains and made sure I had waterproof gloves and one of those foam gardener’s kneeling pads should the need arise. A few other key items: blankets, boots, extra gloves and hats, de-icer and a scraper and brush, phone charger, jumper cables, a flashlight, water and food.

We lucked out on our trip north, but we had to adjust our plans for the return journey. The evening before we were to leave, a major storm passed through the Columbia Gorge, with blizzard conditions dropping at least 18 inches of snow in some areas. Interstate 84 was completely shut down for about 60 miles all of the following day, but our gracious hosts insisted we stay until it was safe to venture west. We left the next morning with temperatures in the ‘teens and an ice fog coating every twig and surface with icy crystals, but the forecast promised temperatures in the mid-30s by the time we reached the Gorge, and the DOT cameras showed bare pavement due to the valiant efforts of snowplow drivers through the night.

Columbia Gorge, Oregon

Photo 171001502 © Dmitry Akhmetov | Dreamstime.com

We topped up our windshield washer fluid, made sure the phones were charged and headed out. The highway was indeed free of snow and ice, though there was a lot of standing water, with the roadside drains clogged with snow and slush. Those 18 inches of snow coating the trees and houses were impressively beautiful, but we were very happy not to have to deal with any on the road. We arrived at our daughter’s home in Portland just four hours later and made the final leg home the next day through plenty of rain, but nothing was frozen.

Turns out we made our dash down the Gorge at just the right time. Two days after our drive, the interstate through there was once again closed, this time due to mudslides due to the melting snow and heavy rains on the burn scars of a major wildfire that burned there four years ago. We were so glad to be able to visit with friends and family over the holidays, but we were prepared to adjust our plans as the weather dictated and were prepared for whatever Mother Nature might throw at us. I hope you stay safe in your travels throughout the remainder of this winter season as well.

— Patty Vanikiotis, associate editor/copy editor





FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.


Insta Feed
Jan 21, 2022

Reasons to Visit New Orleans This February and March

New Orleans has a full roster of activities, events and festivals enticing guests throughout February and March.

 Reconnect with the world in The Islands of Tahiti

Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.

Jan 20, 2022

5 Remarkable South African Women Changing the Travel Industry

With Black History Month and Women’s History Month right around the corner, it’s time to highlight and recognize South African women working hard to make the travel industry better.

eFlyer Reviews
Jan 19, 2022

Cheval Blanc Paris Review

Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.

IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs

IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel

eFlyer News
Jan 19, 2022

New Specials at Well & Beings’ The Spa at Red Rock, The Spa at Green Valley Ranch

Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.

Jan 19, 2022

“JEOPARDY!”, Lindblad Expeditions Announce “Explore Alaska Sweepstakes”

Now through Jan. 28, JEOPARDY! and Lindblad Expeditions team up for a viewer promotion, the JEOPARDY! Explore Alaska Sweepstakes. The contest will award 10 winners and their guests with an eight-day, small-ship cruise of Alaska’s coastal wilderness.

Seabourn: It’s Not an Escape, It’s an Arrival

Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.

Jan 18, 2022

6 Reasons to Put Santorini, Greece, on Your Travel List

It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Santorini, Greece, with us.