Tales from a Michigander Abroad: Winter Green

by Brandon James Anderson

This is my first winter living, more or less, in Ohio. And while this state may be closer to the equator than Michigan, it is not warmer. Whatsoever.

In fact, the wind chill adversaries for Toledo and Bowling Green seem to pop up on my weather.com alerts with far more frequency than those I have for Flint, Ann Arbor, and Auburn Hills, Michigan. So, in that regard, the weather of northwest Ohio is that of southeast Michigan.

Except when it’s not. While Mid-Michigan did experience tornado like winds this past October, my girlfriend and I heard the blare of tornado warning sirens all the way into November. On one particular mid-December voyage between the Mitten and the Buckeye state, I began my commute wearing leather gloves and ended up cracking the driver-side window, basking in the glory of 59 degree heat as I neared my destination.

While the hours I’ve amassed driving between these two states has left me intrigued and befuddled by the Buckeye State’s love for numeration, I have also to come to appreciate some of what Ohio has to offer.


One such object for which I have a new found appreciation are the Ohio Department of Transportation service vehicles. Sure, they seem pretty run-of-the-mill and nothing out of the ordinary. But there’s a lot of them. And this winter they are always on the roads, their flashing amber and green lights being their trademark.

According to ODOT, there are about 1,600 of these bad boys. Perhaps it could simply be this particularly brutal winter season we’ve faced in the Midwest, but these trucks are seemingly a constant presence along my commute.

This weekend, as I made a slow-paced trek down to Ohio’s capital of Columbus, I saw dozens of them in action as the state got hammered with more snow courtesy of an Alberta clipper. Yesterday, as I drove through rolling whiteouts along U.S. 23, I saw one of these trucks pulled off to the shoulder of the road with a smashed SUV directly in front of it. Assuming the two vehicles collided, I was surprised to realize that the truck had pulled over to assist the SUV which had actually ran into the guard rail.

If you’re not yet convinced that plow and salt trucks are something to admire and write home about, perhaps this sleek, needlessly sexy video from ODOT will convince you:


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