Thanksgiving travelers brave storm to get home

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A driver checks her tire pressure at the Towanda rest stop on the Kansas Turnpike Sunday, as the storm blows snow around her. A driver checks her tire pressure at the Towanda rest stop on the Kansas Turnpike Sunday, as the storm blows snow around her.
Brian Poole works to secure the tarps covering equipment on the back of his tractor trailer.  Despite the storm, he plans to continue on his way north Sunday. Brian Poole works to secure the tarps covering equipment on the back of his tractor trailer. Despite the storm, he plans to continue on his way north Sunday.
Travelers hurry through the blowing snow to get back to their cars after a pause at the Towanda rest stop along the Kansas Turnpike Sunday. Travelers hurry through the blowing snow to get back to their cars after a pause at the Towanda rest stop along the Kansas Turnpike Sunday.
A busy day at the Towanda rest area along the Kansas Turnpike Sunday as truckers and holiday travelers seek shelter from the winter storm. A busy day at the Towanda rest area along the Kansas Turnpike Sunday as truckers and holiday travelers seek shelter from the winter storm.
Road crews gave up part of their Thanksgiving holiday to help keep Kansas highways cleared Sunday,. Road crews gave up part of their Thanksgiving holiday to help keep Kansas highways cleared Sunday,.
TOWANDA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The winter storm caught a lot of Americans on the road Sunday, headed home from the Thanksgiving holiday.  Many ended up pulled over at rest stops like the Towanda oasis on the Kansas Turnpike.

“Been away for a week now and my time off ends today,” said Joseph Tarpeh, who’s headed to Austin, Minnesota.  “I have to show up for work tomorrow morning.”

He expects to find as much as 12 inches of snow at home when he finally gets there.  He hopes that will still be sometime Sunday night.

“Thankfully I have a four by four pickup,” he laughs.

Joseph isn’t alone.  Many of the drivers pausing for a break at this rest stop are on the same troubled road home.

“Along the roads visibility is very poor,” Joseph warns.

The wind is the biggest problem drivers say they’re facing in this storm.

Trucker Brian Poole struggled to tie down the tarps covering equipment on his trailer when he arrived.

“The wind tore apart my tarps, just the back end of it,” Brian said.  “But I wanted to protect my customer’s product. Got to keep it safe.”

He says fellow drivers are as much of a danger in this storm as the wind.

“Following too close, too fast. And then not giving enough room to pass,” he says, describing the driving he’s seen as the storm picked up.

Both Brian and Joseph plan to push on through, despite warnings of the dangers of this storm.  At least for now.

“I’ve been through a lot worse. Once I don’t feel it’s safe I’m going to stop,” Brian said.

“I’m hoping to beat that,” Joseph said, nodding at the snow outside the rest stop’s windows.  “But I’m going to be very cautious. I’m going to use my instinct to at least drive slowly when it gets worse so I don’t get stranded.”

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