Yesterday's snow flurries became an absolute nightmare as the day wore on and the powder piled higher and higher in the roadways.
Which is why Gut Check was startled to receive -- just as the Mayor of St. Louis was on live television imploring city residents to stay home and off the roads -- an announcement that the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile had just pulled into town.
We had to know -- just how does a 27-foot hot dog fare in 25-mile-an-hour winds on ice two-tenths of an inch thick?
In its 25 year history, the Wienermobile has suffered surprisingly few mishaps. But it does happen. One Wienermobile spun out on some ice and ended up immobilized in a ditch in Pennsylvania in 2008. Another time, though it had nothing to do with the weather, one smashed through the side of a house.
Not this time, though, thanks to the "Hotdoggers" at the helm. They behaved pretty pragmatically for two college graduates who've given a year of their lives to driving a hot dog cross-country.
"We were definitely watching the radar this morning," said "Deli Eliot" Pattee. "We knew we had to leave."
Pattee and his co-pilot got their buns out of Columbia this morning around 9 a.m. under a heavy dusting. They managed to arrive in St. Louis just before the snow dump that snarled highway traffic and sent other, more reasonable looking cars spinning off the roads.
"The Wienermobile is 14,000 pounds, so it does have a very good center of gravity," adds Pattee. "It did very well on the snow, generally."
Still, that didn't keep this hot dog out of a helping of cold condiment:
The Wienermobile is in town all weekend in various locations around the metro area. Ketchup with the Pattee and score some Oscar Mayer shwag at these locations:
Saturday February 23 (St. Peters/St. Charles):
10:00-1:00, St. Peters, 1661 Jungermann Road
2:00-5:00, St. Charles, 2897 Veterans Memorial
Sunday February 24 (Festus/Arnold):
10:00-1:00, Festus, 650 S. Truman Blvd
2:00-5:00, Arnold, 2201 Michigan Ave.
Friday March 1 (O'Fallon):
12:00-4:00, O'Fallon, 1307 Highway K
Saturday March 2 (Manchester/Maplewood):
10:00-1:00, Manchester, 201 Highlands Blvd Drive
2:00-5:00, Maplewood, 1900 Maplewood Commons Drive
Sunday March 3 (St. Louis):
11:00-3:00, St. Louis, 10741 W. Florissant Ave.