I’ve just returned from a four-day trip to visit family back in Illinois, where I hadn’t put in a holiday showing in 10 years. Two 13-hour drives in four days is some fun, I’m here to tell you. At least I got to pass through some mountains, albeit at 30 times my typical hiking speed.

I’m not entertaining any excuses this coming weekend; as long as we don’t have an ice storm (the bane of winter travelers in the Carolinas), I plan to get some dirt-walking in.

The nice thing about arriving to 14-degree temperatures up north is that our days in the upper 30s and lower 40s seem positively balmy in comparison.