SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Truck drivers, who’ve been stranded for days by the ground blizzard in KELOLAND, are starting to get their rigs rolling again now that sections of the interstates are gradually re-opening. But the delay has set many of them so far behind, they aren’t going to make it home in time for Christmas. Truckers at Love’s Travel Stop in Sioux Falls say that while being stranded is disappointing, it’s the safest option under these conditions.
Mike McAfee is warming up with a hot cup of coffee in the company of his fellow truckers who’ve run head-long into the South Dakota cold.
“And I live in the Catskill Mountains, and it’s cold there, too. But this wind has been brutal,” McAfee said.
McAfee has been stranded in Sioux Falls since Wednesday.
“I’m content to be content, for now. It’s miserable, but I’ll get over it,” McAfee said.
To make matters worse for McAfee, his truck is being repaired because it won’t start in the cold.
“They put four new batteries, it was like a $1700 bill yesterday. And they’re going to have to jump me tomorrow. I kind of chose not to drive today. When I saw all the traffic problems and road closures, I’m just not that stupid,” McAfee said.
The delay means McAfee won’t make it home for Christmas.
“This will be the first of 57 that I haven’t spent at home. I’ve been home every year for Christmas,” McAfee said.
Other truckers don’t mind being stranded. Keith Steineke of Dell Rapids is in-between runs and won’t get back on the road again until Christmas Day.
“This is my enjoyable part when I can actually sit back and relax a bit. Get caught up on my movies series, you know,” Steineke said.
McAfee is hoping his big rig will be ready to roll on Christmas Eve, but his home in New York state is a long haul even under ideal weather conditions.
“I’m not going to speed. I’m not going to make it home for Christmas. If I get there on Tuesday, that’s fine, as long as I get there,” McAfee said.
Love’s Travel Stop says all those stranded truckers are good for business. They’ve been spending money on refueling their rigs, plus snacks and sub sandwiches in the store, as well as coffee, by the gallons.