RE: Snow Storm 2007!

I thought I would add to the snow day here at the house.  I guess I’m bored, or something, so I made a map of my adventure to get my car home early today.

So, here goes:

Snow Hell Map
Blue Arrow marks the starting point. The blue line shows our travel home and the black arrow marks where we finally gave up. From the black arrow to the bright purple line, then to the green line, then to the yellow, then to the pink, blue and finally to the red and the green arrow marks home.

It all started at the blue arrow. The green arrow was our destination, home and safe. It was about 6:18 pm when we hit that point. All was going well, traffic was annoying and though it had taken an hour to get home which usually takes a half hour during rush hour, it wasn’t to bad. (The purple symbols show the elevation change of roads.)

However, RIGHT at that marker on the map was when the snow decided to toss in ice. Had it just been a few minutes early that next 2000 feet journey to the house would have been done. Luck wasn’t with us tonight. (The light brown line shows my normal path home.)

Eventually we made it through the stop light but by the time we got where the blue line turns north (up) there wasn’t a chance in hell we where going to go up the hill. Cars had already tried and it was jammed with people stuck and sliding back down. So we turned left and headed down the street hoping we could go back up to the main street and come around the back.

Well, if you keep following that blue line, you’ll see how far we got. We couldn’t go east, that hill was worse than the one we normally take. The smaller hill going west back to the main street … I just couldn’t get my car more than a quarter of the way up it. Going back? That was a nasty hill we came down in to ‘mini valley’. So if you look in the center, you’ll see a black arrow … that was where my poor car had to be left as we walked home. Trust me, we live in a nice neighborhood but that street where my car sat was the dividing line. That area has seen lots of crime (and that’s a nice way to put it). I was devastated and upset by the time we finally got home at 7:30 pm.

I spent most the night hoping my car was ok and pretty much worried about it until I fell asleep at 2:00 am. I woke up at 6:30am and the snow hadn’t changed. No chance I was going to get the car home yet. So I slept on, waking to check the snow every half hour (it seemed). Finally around 9:30 am I got up, played around on the computer and did a few things for work. The snow was still pretty much every where and ice under it.

At noon I couldn’t take it any longer, a few more cars had traveled the roads so I figured it was now or never. It was suppose to refreeze tonight. So I walked back down the hill to my car, afraid to see it damaged, missing or worse. Luck was on my side and the car was safe and just as I left it. I got in, warmed it up and was determined to get it home.

Now, if you follow the path of the bright purple line starting at the black arrow you can see my progress. I managed to make it up the hill (just barely) that I couldn’t the night before and got to the main street which was perfectly clear. My hopes where up, so I shot up to the next big street hoping it was clear as well. It was, for the most part, but still some black ice here and there. It wasn’t a big deal so I got back to the other side of my street and started south on it. BUT, 500 feet from the house was another VERY big hill.

I tried to go up it but there wasn’t a chance. So I tried a few other things to get enough traction and finally decided I might be able to go around it, perhaps get on top and then come down, then it would be all be down hill literally and I could slowly manage that.

So now we start off on the green line. I go up to the next street, the main street I had to travel was getting worse and I was sliding like crazy but I managed to get the rest of the way up. I took the next street hoping to get past that hill and on top above my house. It’s funny how when you travel these roads when they are clear, you don’t notice hills as much. Staring in front of me was another hill as bad as the one I had just left and no real way to get traction on it either. UGGG!

Turning around and now following the yellow line I wandered around the top of the hill searching for another road down. But there was none, so I went down the back side of my hill which wasn’t bad at all. It was more open and the sun was beating down warming the street and breaking up the ice. I managed to get back to the street I normally traveled but ahead of me was a HUGE hill leading back down to where I’d typically turn to go home. I parked the car; now follow that pink line at the end of the yellow.

I walked down the hill to see how bad it was. It was bad. But I was so close! This was a big hill and it was a huge decent. Water was running off and melting some of the ice but a lot of the trees around had blocked the sun so it wasn’t doing much but making it more slippery. Yet my street was reallyclear, all the people trying to get up or down it had broken the ice and snow all apart. If I could just get down that hill I could get on my street … get enough speed up, make my turn and then up my much smaller hill to the house.

The blue line shows my walk back up the hill. I got in the car, let myself catch my breath from that most breath taking journey up a steep and slippery hill, and pointed the car towards our now determined destination. I put it in 1st gear, foot on the break and hand ready to pull the emergency break if all hell went loose and started down. Actually I should say I slid down. Thankfully my car has some incredibly electronics and its traction control plus ABS system works flawlessly. It might be only half the weight of a normal car but with its little computer working over time it kept the car steady and slowed just enough that I could whip around the corner get speed and fly around the next corner on to my tiny street. (And honestly, had I wanted to stop while going down that hill it wouldn’t have happened.)

I got halfway up my drive way and the momentum I had built up … left. I couldn’t get the car any further. So I backed it down into the neighbor’s yard and went home happy that it was just outside the house.

After taking a break I saw the other neighbor out breaking up the ice with rake. That gave me an idea. I got my rake and went outside to clear out the tire tracks where I had attempted to make it up the drive way. I then cleared out a smaller patch of area just so I could gun the car and give it a boost. My car has an incredible ability to coast for a long ways. Give it a good enough boost and it will coast down the road for miles without ever touching the gas peddle even at 70 mphs (400 miles on a half tank of gas is the results of this handy little feature).

So, driveway now has small tracks of no ice … car ready … I back it up a bit into a nice clear spot under a tree and gun it. I start to loose traction right at the driveway but just as the car is about to start spinning I hit the cleared area I made and next thing I know the car is in the driveway safe and sound.

It’s already started refreezing here so bets are that I won’t be able to go to work tomorrow. Now I wouldn’t mind it snowing again, I really didn’t get to enjoy it yesterday because I was stressing so much on the car. Ugg… roflmao. It’s the only thing I am really materialistic about, heck not even my computers would make me worry that much. Ahh the joy of vices in one’s life.