With the storm ended, the interstate re-opened, and sun appearing in the late morning with practically no breeze at all, my thinking was to head up to Happy Jack in the mid-afternoon and check out the trails and all the new snow. Surely by then some snow-bikers or mountain bikers would have been out leaving behind tire tracks to run on. So my thinking went.
The first sign that things might not work out the way I was "thinking" came about 500m before the Summit Exit, when all traffic stopped. What was going on? The interstate was open! And how could there be crashes with plowed roads, the sun out, and no wind? But there must have been crashes. The highway did still have snow and ice on it in various places, and there's no accounting for drivers going too fast for the conditions.
But traffic was inching forward bit by bit, and I didn't even need to make it to the exit ramp--just needed to get close enough to get on the shoulder safely and then I would be free. Which I did.
I figured I would head for the Tie City parking lot. The state highway had been plowed also, but had a good bit more packed snow and ice on it than the interstate, so I slowed down. It didn't take too long before another vehicle closed in from behind and got close enough to make me nervous, because I knew I was going to be slowing down on a downhill curve ahead to turn (hopefully) into the parking lot, and they didn't. I slowed some more and as the parking lot came into view, tried to assess it; there were several vehicles in the lot, but the low was unplowed and the snow looked deep, and I knew that the parking lot surface had probably been well above freezing as the storm arrived, and therefore that some amount of snow had probably melted and then re-frozen on the surface, turning into ice. I decided not to risk going into the parking lot and getting stuck inside it. Plus I could also guess that the untracked snow was going to be too deep for running, that there hadn't been anywhere near close enough foot traffic to beat a path into the snow, and no signs that any bikers had been out either.
So I didn't turn and kept going. Now the problem was to find a place where I could turn around, which wasn't going to be possible with traffic behind me. That meant driving several more miles down the highway of snow and ice before I hit a spot where I could turn around safely. Then back to the interstate.
At the interstate, I could see the eastbound lanes were still clogged with traffic as far as I could see in either direction, and not moving. Too bad for them, but I was headed west, so down the on ramp on onto the interstate, where almost at once there was a highway sign warning that the road was closed. Which I doubted; far up ahead I could see a couple of cars and a truck going down the canyon slowly. And then right after that another sign was turned on and warning the no parking was allowed on the highway. So I was definitely going to go on down. Which proved to be no problem except for when a snowplow appeared, plowing the shoulder, but going *against* traffic flow--that was a first, never seen that before. But once past the snowplow, it was clear sailing the rest of the way, just needed to stick to the reduced speed limit for the conditions.
It was a long way to go without getting to run up top as I had hoped, but the odds it would work out seemed reasonable at the outset.
Instead, I ended up running for home for about an hour, in conditions that were quite cold as the sun set, and much colder than they would have been had I not tried to run up top and just run straight out from home an hour earlier instead. I think it was about -3F after sunset, and cold enough for October.