Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Thought We Could Get Out

Nope.  Stranded 1/4 of the way up the driveway.  Beginning to wonder if this is just not practical to live here.  Looks like a week from now might work.  If our LP gas was working, this would be more tolerable.

Put roof shingles under the tires and backed it out.  Now have several black patches on the pavement; the next two days of Sun should clear it.  My wife suggested that building something specifically for getting traction under these conditions as alternatives to chains and screaming might be good.  I thought that I had seen traction mats offered.  And yes, I have.  Cheaper than tire chains and much easier to use; also flat so they take up very little trunk space.  Fortunately, these roof shingles were lying around from the recent roof replacement.  I am going to put a set of four in the Jaguar's trunk, too.

This is the second time this week the roof shingles have allowed me to get out.  4WD forces all four wheels to turn at the same speed, but when one whhel is on ice and the other side is just spinning, traction control seems to take over and nothing happens.


  1. leave a car parked near road .don't despair
    get a second tank and keep it full..
    put some coils of black irrigation tubing on shead. pipe it to a strip under black top then back to roof.small tank for make up and fill with anti-freeze and water. If needed use 1/12 hp pump with a solar switch so will run when suns out.

  2. Clayton,

    Please accept this in good humor despite what you are experiencing. You cannot live in the rural Idaho area that you do and be unprepared for the eventualities that you are facing.

    Over the 20 year period that we lived in the West Central Mountains, we had: a 25 KW generator wired to all buildings with enough fuel to last for 2 months; a wood stove plumbed with a fresh combustion air duct into the house (built new for us) as an emergency heat source, with 6 cords of wood and a splitter stored in shed built for that purpose; a 6 month food supply per person; an emergency generator for pumping water (in the event the main generator failed); two tractors, on 35 and one 60 hp, both MFWD, with loaded tires and chained in the winter, with plows and blowers for both, etc, etc.

    Very few of our neighbors had anything except the rudimentary, and us. One had a truck mounted plow that could not do except in the lighter snow storms.

    There are seasons where you can get by on the cheap, but sooner or later, in the intermountain rural west, a winter like this will come along. If you are well equipped you will be thankful. If not, well, you know.

  3. Traction control systems usually just apply the brakes on tires that are spinning. Turn it off, and see how it works without a controller.

    Hmm, the fact that some tires are spinning would suggest that the differential does not have a limited slip unit, or that it broke or wore out. A broken axle shaft can also cause problems. Your Blazer should have a limited slip in the rear, and possibly one in the front (rare).

    "... but when one whhel is on ice and the other side is just spinning, traction control seems to take over and nothing happens." ( This doesn't sound correct at all.)

    Have you verified that the front axles are getting power?

  4. Front wheels are getting power, and the 4WD system has been recently repaired so I suspect everything is working. I need to figure out what the traction control button does. By default it is on; perhaps it should be off under these conditions.

  5. T macWeave: our tank isn't empty. Suburban Propane locked it because of a gas line leak in the house. If the driveway clears, our HVAC guy can repair the leak.

  6. rfb: The only part of being snowbound that is problematic is not having our LP gas running. Otherwise, my wife and I would just write and blog until the snow mostly melts.

  7. Hire someone to tow your HVAC service truck up to your house. At this rate, it may be spring before he is capable of driving up there. What kind of truck is he using? I would think in that area he would be equipped with 4x4, or 4x6, or even 6x6.
    Maybe look for someone who IS properly equipped for weather in that area.

  8. Will: We are getting the friends and family discount. What would otherwise have been a $1500 service (involving crawling 80 feet through a 2' high crawlspace with near freezing water and spiders for 45 minutes) was $500. His truck is 2WD. Most of his customers are down in Boise. This was a historic winter, so not surprised at lack of 4WD. Suburban Propane will be up Friday to restore service.