Holiday travelers greeted by cheap gas, storms - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Holiday travelers greeted by cheap gas, storms

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Travelers wait to claim their baggage at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Travelers wait to claim their baggage at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Some holiday travelers are giving thanks for the cheapest gas prices in years. But that's cold comfort to those beating a path through stormy weather, including a nor'easter affecting a wide swath of the East Coast.

Alas, the yearly Thanksgiving trek, be it across the country or across town, may be a mixed bag of the usual travel headaches with a little extra pocket money as a consolation prize. A snapshot of what it's like out there:

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IT'S ALL ABOUT AUNT BO

No nor'easter was going to keep the Beardslees from making the 600-mile pilgrimage from home in Charlotte, North Carolina, to a family gathering in Chatham, New Jersey — especially given that Bill Beardslee's 94-year-old great-aunt Bo was going to be there.

"The whole trip is about Aunt Bo," said Bill's wife, Stacy, during a Dunkin' Donuts stop along Interstate 81 in Hagerstown, Maryland, on Wednesday, their second day on the road.

They did hit some snow later, but it was no match for the Chevrolet Suburban they rented. Lower gas prices were one reason they decided to ride in style in a rental that Stacy affectionately called a "big, honkin' car."

That left plenty of room for the ski pants, hats and gloves they packed as part of their winter survival kit.

-David Dishneau in Hagerstown

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REMOTE REACHES

Larson and Alice Hunter and their two young children were in Anchorage, Alaska, heading home to Scammon Bay, a remote Yup'ik Eskimo community of fewer than 500 people on Alaska's western coast.

Back in Scammon Bay, the family will have two Thanksgiving feasts — first with Alice's parents, then with Larson's mother. Along with turkey and the usual fixings, they will have akutaq, or Eskimo ice cream, which usually includes berries, sugar and sometimes fish. Larson's mother will also prepare other native food.

"Moose is typical," Larson said.

"If we're lucky, snow goose," Alice said.

-Rachel D'oro in Anchorage

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RUNNING THE GAUNTLET

A nor'easter on the East Coast, an Alberta clipper in the Dakotas and a winter storm warning for parts of Minnesota. That's plenty of travel chaos right there, yet some, like Anya Verriden, her husband and their two young boys, made it through. The family from Milwaukee caught a flight from Chicago to Albany, New York, where they waited for their baggage in a surprisingly uncrowded airport.

They moved their flight up and planned to rent a car for the rest of their snowy journey to Northampton, Massachusetts.

"It looked like the snow was going to get really bad in the afternoon," Verriden said. "... We're already seeing that flights are getting canceled and delayed, so it looks like we made the right choice."

-Michael Hill in Albany

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RAIN, SNOW AND ... THUNDERSNOW?!

Angela Marcantonini says the long, steady rumble of thunder accompanying a heavy snow is one of the strangest things she's ever heard.

Marcantonini was getting ready to drive from Blue Bell, a Philadelphia suburb, to the Pocono Mountains for the holiday.

"It caught me off guard. I didn't really think it was thunder at first," she said, describing it as a sustained boom, followed by two short bursts.

The National Weather Service had multiple reports of thundersnow near Philadelphia between 11 a.m. and noon.

-Michael Sisak in Philadelphia

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MOOD MUSIC

Anna Ortiz was three hours early for her flight from Milwaukee to Chicago, not because she was worried about the crowds or the weather, but because she wanted to hear the piano players in the waiting area.

The 76-year-old bopped her head as a musician played the "Peanuts" theme song.

"I always wanted to play piano," she said. "It's nice to hear it. It's relaxing also."

-Carrie Antlfinger in Milwaukee

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