January 26, 2015

26/01/2015: “Never take no cutoffs and hurry along …”

A memoir of last year's IPPF in Atlanta, USA 
by Roger Gilbert
First published in Milling and Grain, January 2015

It started out as a bit of fun - to drive to Lenox Square at the second day of IPPE 2014 and indulge in a little retail therapy; which is proving a highlight for many visitors who make the trip to Atlanta each year in late January for this highly rewarding poultry, meat and feed event.
But 2014 was different. It snowed and temperatures fell! 


Not being able to get onto the freeway should have set warning bells ringing, but we were enjoying our new hire vehicle  - a four-wheel drive Dodge SUV - and of course we have similar conditions in Europe each year to those we set out in. 

We took a shortcut. Our vehicle didn’t wheel spin once driving the snow covered suburban roads to Lenox, while almost every other vehicle did. We found Lenox closed due to the poor weather so visited neighbouring Target Store where the manager offered the Milling and Grain team overnight accommodation; which seemed a little bizarre at the time. 

Still unconvinced of a problem, we headed beck into town at 19:00, but this time driving down onto a frozen I85 and eventually onto an equally frozen I75. What a nightmare! The freeway was empty to start with but soon turned into tailbacks on ice rink carriageway with a slowly sliding sea of gridlocked vehicles morphing and spinning out of control and sliding in slow motion across multiple lanes to hit and block each other. 
Commercial vehicles were smart; they seem to have agreed to park up against the central barrier while cars and light vehicles crashed into each other in slow motion, crushing each other and some being abandoned across the freeway. 

Families were walking the hard shoulder at midnight and beyond. The scene was surreal. Two state troopers were doing their best with bags of household salt being dropped from an overpass to help clear one black ice blockage. 

With five of us in the new Dodge, we crept forward and gradually moved clear of the carnage without wheel slipping once on the sheet ice. Amazing. With grateful thanks to the vehicle we got back to our accommodation at 3:00am. Others, the vast majority of our fellow travellers, were not that lucky. We caught an almost deserted Marta metro to the show the next day!

Read the magazine HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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