In the late 1970s, my band would play at a local bar every New Year’s Eve to avoid highway driving. New Year’s Eve 1977 was no different. What was different, three friends and I were leaving for a two-week Hawaii vacation the next day. We ushered in the New Year, then at 1 a.m. we tore down our equipment and loaded it into our van only to discover that a blizzard had dumped over a foot of snow and high winds were causing large drifts.
Three of us were staying at a house in Twin Hills that night and the fourth lived about a half-mile away on River Road. The driveway, which was about 40 yards long, was drifted shut and we had to park the van just off the road. I spent the night calling the Des Moines airport every hour to see when the airport would reopen. At 6 a.m. they announced the airport was open but all flights before 9 a.m. had been canceled, except for the 8:50 flight to Denver. Luckily ours was the 8:50 flight to Denver.