At the end of last week's column, I wrote of my successful arrival in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, in the midst of snow, ice, falling temperatures and even rain. I managed to do so by outwitting Winter Storm Jayden by altering my flight scheduling and resorting to a lengthy drive.

The conference at which I was speaking was being held at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Convention Center in Mt. Pleasant. Owned and managed by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation, the Soaring Eagle is the largest employer in Isabella County. I was glad to find refuge from the winter storm in the Soaring Eagle's hotel facility.

The day before my speaking presentation, I monitored the movement of the winter storm as temperatures continued to drop. It appeared I would be driving back to Chicago two days later to catch my flight home in severe, sub-zero weather.

Back in Tennessee, my friends, the Knudsens -- who are originally from Mankato, Minnesota -- warned me that double-digit, sub-zero temperatures "aren't anything to mess around with."

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have been conditioned, over the years, to take weather reporting with a grain of salt. In this man's opinion, the more sophisticated weather-reporting technology has evolved, the more inaccurate that reporting has become.

The summer of 2018 was, in my opinion, the worst of all. It seems weather reporting, much like news reporting, has turned out to be more entertainment than prediction, often bordering on sensationalism.

When the temperature is 92 degrees, I don't really care what the heat index is. And when the temperature is 25 degrees, I don't want to hear about the wind chill factor.

And when I was growing up, we never had black ice. What's with this black ice anyway? It must have something to do with climate change. And why do we have to refer to the old jet steam as the polar vortex? It beats me.

Well, to make a long story short, on the day of my speaking presentation, Southwest Airlines canceled my Chicago to Nashville flight due to plummeting temperatures. On the days I was to fly home, Chicago temperatures were predicted to be 20 below with a wind chill factor in the 50-below-zero range. At least Southwest gave me a day's notice.

I considered staying over an extra day or so or even trying to fly out of Detroit, which would have necessitated my dropping off my rental car at a different airport. If I was going to incur an expensive drop-off charge on the car, my best option was to drive back to Nashville. As I pondered my options, it was sunny and minus-7 degrees outside. I ventured outside to make sure my windshield was clear of ice and snow.

The speech went well, with a smaller crowd that expected due to the weather. Farmers always make for a great audience, which made all my efforts to get there worthwhile.

The next morning, I checked out of the hotel at 6 a.m., slipped out into the frigid darkness, and slid behind the wheel of that Chevy. I checked the temperature at time of departure. It was minus-9. Outside, the wind was gusting.

I noticed the crunching sound made by my tires as I drove through deep snow on the way out of Mt. Pleasant. Highway 127 took me south. Lansing, Michigan, seemed asleep in the cold and snow as I passed through.

I-196 would take me further south. As I drove on, the coming of daylight revealed the bleakness of a northern winter. With each mile, the temperature continued to drop. By the time I reached Fort Wayne, Indiana, the temp had made it all the way down to minus-19.

Then, the weather began to improve dramatically. With each mile, came higher temperatures and less snow. I was back to cruising at 70 miles per hour by the time I reached Louisville, Kentucky.

When I arrived in Nashville to drop off the rental, I realized I had made an 8 ½-hour drive in 10 ½-hours, and it was really not all that bad.

But I think I may ask the speakers bureaus with which I work not to book too many more speeches for me north of the Mason-Dixon Line in the wintertime.

Copyright 2019 by Jack McCall