Snow day, and rationalization of 4WD!

For those of you outside the midwest, last night a winter storm came through and dumped ice then snow on us. Though the conditioned varied depending on where you were, we have about 12-16 inches of snow here.

When I got up this morning, it was still snowing and blowing pretty hard. I got phone calls from a few coworkers suggesting I not come in, and my brother called and said he’d made about 4 miles of progress in an hour in his jeep. That’s good enough for me! By the way, if any coworkers read this and don’t approve, just charge me a vacation day- I still have plenty 🙂

Around 9:30 the snow let up so I decided to venture out to see what the roads were like. I hadn’t really had the new truck out in the snow, so I figured this was a pretty good chance. First off, they hadn’t (and still haven’t) plowed the roads in our subdivision, so I had to plow through some pretty deep snow. Since I wasn’t having too much trouble I decided to head to the Walmart to pick up a few things we needed.

When I left Walmart, I decided to head home a different way. None of the roads anywhere had been plowed, but this way hadn’t had many vehicles come through. Right away I came across a young couple in a Cavalier with hopelessly bald tires stuck in the drift on the right side of the road. Ah, the first challenge of the day! I tried to push them and dig them out by hand, but we weren’t getting anywhere. I turned my truck around and hooked up a tow strap (it’s hard to find a spot of today’s unibody cars) and without too much trouble get them back onto the road. After unhooking, they started forward again, and even though the driver did everything right, the car slide right back where they were. After some failed attempts at pushing and some deliberation, I offered them the choice of a ride home or something a little more adventurous. They chose adventure. I hooked the strap back up, instructed the driver and proceeded to slowly tow the car backwards in neutral about a half mile to a point where the roads were passable. We pulled that off without incident and parted ways.

As I was looping back around I saw a guy in a Grand Am stuck right in the middle of the intersection of the highway in front of Walmart. He was cussing loudly into his phone, so I pulled up and asked if he needed help. Turns out this guy not only got stuck but locked his keys in the car as well. Nothing I could do for him, but he wasn’t very gracious anyway.

About a half mile past where I encountered the stranded Cavalier, I came across an older guy who had run his Trailblazer off the side of the off ramp. He was busily calling every tow company in the phone book but no one was promising anything. I asked him if he wanted to try pulling it out and he jumped at the chance. So, drove up the road a ways and turned around so I was facing the other way (note to self: get front tow hooks). We hooked up but we just couldn’t budge the thing. Way too heavy and way to stuck for my little truck. Admitting defeat, he accepted a ride and I took him to the McDonald’s up the road where he wanted to wait for the tow truck.

In the parking lot of the McDonald’s I had my first easy encounter of the day. Three guys were trying to get an Accord unstuck. Thankfully I had a shovel in the back, so after a little digging and a bit of pushing he was on his way.

When I got back into my neighborhood and about a block from my house, I had to stop for a couple of guys desparately trying to obey the parking ban by moving their car out of the road. They were stuck about half in an half out of the road and had been trying to shovel a spot for quite some time. A few of the neighbors pitched in and were were able to get the car back fully onto the road and shoveled for a little bit. Realizing how long it was going to take us to move that much snow, we decided the better plan was just to flatten the snow by running it over with my truck. That worked like a charm and saved a couple of hernias.

When I got home, I started shoveling the driveway. Before too long I noticed that snow was drifted up against the doors of the neighbors across the street so I went over and did a quick job of clearing the snow from immediately in front of the doors. About that time a car pulled into my driveway. They were there to help dig out one of the guys in the apartments. Together we dug and pushed his little 2WD S10 out to the road. Unfortunately, he thought it’d be a good idea to head down the road and look for a place to turn around. He got stuck in the middle of the intersection a block away so we took my truck and some shovels down to him. I pulled him back out of the deep stuff he’d gotten into and we got him turned around. Without too much trouble he got back to the entrance of his parking lot.

Meanwhile, his helper, driving another Cavalier, had backed out of my driveway and gotten pretty well stuck in the road. We all dug and pushed for quite a while, but she was pretty well high centered in the deep stuff. Now having experience in extracting Cavaliers, we hooked her up with a strap and got her pulled back into the shallows. A couple of pushings later, both of them were on their way to plowed roads.

Not having made a lot of progress on the driveway, I headed inside to have lunch, since Evan had woken up from his nap. Afterwards I headed outside to finish the driveway. When I’d about finished, my neighbor and her son had the good fortune of a guy on a small tractor plowing their driveway for them. They’d been shoveling quite some time to get their Camry out of the road and into the driveway. I went over and helped finish digging out from underneath the car, which was so grounded out that one of the wheels wasn’t touching the ground 🙂 With the help of a couple of neighbors we got the car pushed into the clear of the driveway. With that I headed inside to warm up and put on my third pair of pants of the day.

Around dinner time, Dusty was feeling a bit of cabin fever and the plows had cleared most of the main roads, so we decided to head out to see what things were like an find a bite to eat. Only two places were open. When we returned home, I pulled into the deep snow so Dusty could reach out the window to get the mail. The mail hadn’t come. I’d always heard “the mail most go through!” Guess that’s a myth, not that I blame them.

I had to go around the block to get turned around, so I headed up this loop road. It was deep and hadn’t been plowed, but I’d been through stuff like that earlier in the day and knew it wouldn’t be too much of a problem. Well, not for US anyway. Near the top of the hill we came across a family in a Trailblazer who were having trouble making it the last half block to their house. I hopped out and helped dig a little bit and before too long they were able to make some progress. Unfortunately, the wife turned a little too sharp making the left turn before their house and got into the deep uncharted territory. We got out again and helped dig and push, but they had a lot of snow packed underneath of them – those Trailblazers apparently don’t have very good ground clearance, especially that spare tire hanging down under the back of the vehicle. Fortunately they had some front tow hooks and suggested I try pulling them. I pulled off into the deep snow and went around the front of them. Once again, however, Cavaliers posed little challenge while Trailblazers proved too heavy. We did manage to get them dug out and into their driveway, though it took a while longer.

Today was fun. It was fun to mess around in the snow and it felt good to be able to help a few people in need. I’m also very proud of how my truck handles the snow. Even snow up the to bumper didn’t cause any real trouble, despite the very non-aggressive OEM all-season tires. I’m also thinking this might be my longest post ever, but then again, it was a pretty long day.

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