Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interesting Commute

I wish I would have thought to take a picture of my truck, sideways across the road, but I didn't.

I admit I've been a bit cocky lately about how well this winter's been going.  I was just being thankful this morning that, except for a bitter cold December (actually December only seemed to be bitter cold - it didn't really go below zero at all).  Anyway, except for a cold December, January's been pretty warm.  Night-time temperatures have been in the upper teens and twenties for the last week or so, which is about 10 degrees above normal.  Because it's been so warm, I've been thinking that maybe I could consider driving the car instead of the truck. Heck, I've even left the parka at home for the last few days!

It turns out that because it's been so warm, just a little below freezing for the last few days, that stuff is melting and freezing.  How did I find out?

Well, I, being cocky and considering driving the car, decided to try and take the hill from the mailbox to my house in 2-wheel drive.  I didn't get far before I realized I should be in 4-wheel drive, but I had to stop to switch into 4WD.  Except that I was on a hill which I later found out, along with several of my neighbors, is a solid sheet of ice under some snow.  I couldn't get purchase, and slid about half a football field back down the hill, ending up sideways across the road and THANKFULLY, not in either of the ditches.

I didn't feel comfortable trying to get righted, so I walked to a neighbors house, they called another neighbor, and a third neighbor came driving up behind me.  The third neighbor is good at this sort of thing, so he just drove the truck to a good place (and a good direction) and gave the wheel back to me.  With knuckles seriously whitened, I gave the rest of the hill my best effort and ... made it up.

Have I mentioned lately how lucky I am?  Yes?  Oh.  This could have turned out SO much worse.  What I learned today is that having a big heavy truck and 4-wheel drive isn't really enough.  I should have better winter tires.  See how much better next winter is going to be?  Oh - and thankfully I brought my work laptop home with me.  I think I'll be working from home tomorrow.


  1. You could get chains too but they can be fussy to put on and get off. Good winter tires are a must for winter driving in cold climates. None of those all season tires, must be winter ones.

  2. Wow! Glad you and the truck are both OK! I was also going to suggest getting chains. If there is a limit to how many days in a row you can work from home, you may want to consider it!

  3. Tires, as you said.
    4 WD up the hill.

    Sounds good to me.

    Glad you and the truck came out okay!

  4. So, do any of you guys have studded tires? Some people have them around here. Or are winter tires good enough? I guess I should price winter tires... sigh.

  5. Think hard about studded tires, because the vast majority of your commute won't require them.

    I've never owned snow tires. The auto place where I was going to buy them told me to get all season tires instead. You do need tires in excellent condition and properly inflated, and maybe some weight in the back of the truck?

    But snow tires sound like a smart thing for you, given that this is a daily winter adventure on your hill.

  6. Jordan-
    My mom was a rural mail carrier for over 25 years. Lot of back roads and shady places that didn't melt quickly. She put her studded tire on every winter and took them off every spring. There are laws about how soon and how late you have them on and they will ticket you for having them on early or late. After sorting and bundling, she spent several hours a day in her Blazer and lots of stops and starts. They are the thing for traction in the winter...however, they may be more than what you need. If there's only been a day so far that you couldn't drive your truck where you wanted to go, perhaps regular snow tires are enough.

  7. OK then - regular snow tires it is. I've always thought that rural mail carrier would be a nice job. I'll price tires, but expect it to be a ton of money, partly because I'd have to get rims too and these wheels are BIG. I'm going to try and put off spending the money if I can - in NY, this is the month we have to pay property taxes ($$$)

  8. My 2 cents on tires: here, in MN, studded tires are illegal. So, good tires on a pickup truck are a MUST. Each winter, we put Blizzaks on the Yaris, and, if we could afford it, probably would on the 1-ton, too. They're the best, but they ARE spendy.

    Otherwise, for the pickup, yep: weight in the back. We fill the back end with rock or wood each fall and then let the snow accumulate, too, and never empty it 'til spring.

    And, you do realize that you're tempting Fate, don't you, by leaving your winter coat at home? ;) I sure hope you always have a good shovel in the truck, too!