Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snowbound

I knew it was going to be rough today.  About 5:30 AM, my wife received a robocall from College of Western Idaho announcing that all classes were canceled because of severe weather.  I spent an hour clearing the driveway--but fortunately, it was all light fluffy snow, and it blew nicely.  My wife took the TrailBlazer out to the old highway in the hopes of making a track that the Jaguar could negotiate safely--and then the TrailBlazer was stuck.  The guy driving the snowplow on the old highway told her that he had to put chains on his snowplow--something that he seldom has to do.

Okay, I'm taking the hint.  I'll take a day of vacation, and find something more interesting to do.

UPDATE: It turns out that this storm (which is unusually heavy for this time of year) has disrupted all sorts of stuff around the Northwest.  Lots of colleges here in Boise are closed for the day; Spokane had its heavily snowfall in history.  I decided that as much as I hate chains there is no realistic alternative.  I pulled out the Safety Chain Corporation's Super Z6 cables that I bought a couple of years ago, and that I have never used.

I still hate chains.  I spent about fifteen minutes discovering that there is something odd about the Jaguar's rear wheels that prevents me from installing them, but installing them on the front was actually pretty easy.  (Admittedly, I was doing it in my garage, with overhead lights.  Still unpleasant.)  Because the Jaguar is always 35% front, 65% rear, I am giving up much of the traction, but it means that I have more steering control.  With the cables installed, I was able to engage in a controlled descent down the driveway to get to the mailbox, and while exciting, coming back up was at least possible.

I also made another ninety minute adventure with the snowthrower up and down the driveway, and took most of it down to asphalt.  Of course, more snow started falling as I finished up, but at least I have a clear path between the walls of snow.  Even knowing that you are on snow on pavement--rather than engaged in off-road adventures--is an improvement.

I don't know how many calories running this snowthrower at these temperatures burns off, but it sure feels like a lot.

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