This weekend sure seemed like a fun one for a huge swath of the country, with 30 inches of snow or more burying the Northeast, roads getting shut down, and entire cities falling into anarchy as Blizzardpocalypse 2016 caused us to abandon our humanity and any pretense of law and order.
It probably made for some shitty driving experiences too. But many of you have dealt with stuff like that before, or worse. So without further ado, here are your worst winter driving stories. Read through the whole comments right here to see all the other ways snow and ice have defeated Jalopnik readers.
[Welcome to Countersteer, where we ask you to tell us your greatest stories of success and failure, then we pull the very best of them to share with the rest of the world.]
Potbelly Joe finds a silver lining in a bad situation.
I drove home from Ann Arbor, MI after the Winter Classic in 6+” of snow and some ridiculously strong wind, pretty much the entire way across Ohio, PA and NJ. I wouldn’t call it fun, but the car I was in was more than capable. Plows were nowhere and the road and whiteout was so bad at times with the glare and inability to see that I found wearing red-lensed glasses for my mountain bike actually made the contrast easier to pick up.
On our journey from A2, to DTW (to drop off a rental of my friends who flew, but now had their flight cancelled) to Central Jersey, we saw a plow nearly get blown off of an icy bridge in Toledo, a Truck jack-knife and then get hit by another truck around Elyria, OH, a Nissan Altima (with Texas plates mind you) spin at the bottom of a grade in PA with very little space between us and them. Good times. We were steady the whole time thanks to very good tires and me having grown up in the snow of Michigan, so being knowledgeable of the “do one thing at once” concept of driving in the snow (braking, accelerating and turning)
It took almost 16 hours to make the, typically, 9 hour trip. But we made it and that was what mattered. On Rt. 33 in PA we saw more than a few cars ill-prepared and stuck, or being pulled by the tow trucks from snowy embankments.
I wouldn’t do it again, but when one of the guys (a Jalopnikian as well) in the car was married a few months later, it made for great fodder in my Best Man (ever) speech.
All to see the Wings lose in a shootout, too.
This one’s long, but it’s good. Even if he could, I doubt JustAnotherG6 would buy another Saturn after this:
Back in February of ‘07 we had a Saturn VUE (4 cyl., AWD, and the much despised CVT) which, up until the last few months we owned it, it was a decent CUV. As we approached the 3 yr mark and about 45 - 50 thousand miles on it (I think, we’ll get to that in a bit) it would occasionally start “pinging” us. We noticed nothing out of the ordinary other than the sound and occasionally an ABS light that would come on and the next time we hop in the car it was working fine with no noise or anything. We don’t think anything of it since it is intermittent & GM, these things happen.
By this time our eldest son was born and we were talking about replacing the VUE since it was doing this weird thing. I convinced my wife that instead of getting another SUV thingy that we should get a minivan and with a BIL (brother in law) working at a Dodge dealership we could get a decent deal on one. So we arrange to drive down one Friday after work, we load up the kid and the dog and start off on the 6 hour drive we have done so many times before and so many times since.
Not 5 miles from our house the pinging starts. Every 20- 30 seconds it seems. After just a few minutes I decide that I will not be able to drive the next 395 miles listening to the ping! the entire way and do the reasonable thing. I pull off the Freeway at the first exit find a safe place to park and shut the car off. When I tried to start it back up it was dead. It refused to turn over. All the lights on the dash would turn on as expected and then go off except for the flashing security Icon (SRS I believe). Of course I decided to pull over in a less than desirable neighborhood so my wife was panicking, the dog was barking/whining, and the car refused to start but fortunately the kid was happy as could be. I did what most logical people would do and call the dealership. It was about an hour before they closed for the day, the service adviser I spoke with thought it may be the computer and said they could look at it in the morning. After explaining that we were driving it through two states to trade it in tomorrow he shared how to reset the security “feature” that was keeping the car from starting. It was something along the lines of “turn the key to run and then all the way off 3 times in a row on the fourth time leave it in run and depress the accelerator 3 times while holding your breath and sacrificing a chicken upon an edifice of the General” or something like that. Trust me, this is also an integral part of the story.
While I was on the phone with the dealership my thoughtful wife called her dad and convinced him to come pick up the dog and watch her for the weekend. After a few tries to “reset”, I must not have sacrificed the right chicken, the car was brought back to life. We start off again down 35W and before we even leave the second ring suburbs it starts pining again. Normally, when I’m on the highway I will occasionally check a few things, engine temp gauge, tachometer, or the trip odo. often just to keep my mind occupied as the miles slip away. With a car making the electronic pinging sound I was probably watching things a bit closer than I would otherwise. It was during this time that I noticed our car had a few more miles on the odo. than I had expected, finding this odd I checked the trip odo and found that we had more miles that this thing should since our last fill up. (yes, I reset the trip odo. at each fill up.) As it happens I was watching the trip odo (since this one marked tenths of a mile instead of the standard odo which just shows whole miles) when the car pinged and I saw the number jump two tenths of a mile. SONOVABITCH! I still have somewhere around 5 and a half hours to drive and this thing is adding MILEAGE at a rate of .2 every time this thing pings! Immediately I call my BIL and tell him what is going on with the thing we are bringing in to trade in knowing that we already set a trade in value for the POS and fully expecting him to back out on the deal. He seemed a bit concerned but was overall pretty cool about it and told us not to worry about it. So we trudge on, we should have stopped then...
We were cruising on about an hour away from home doing our best to drown our the ping or ignore it, even starting to laugh at how the mileage is piling up. At this point I think around 70 - 80 thousand were showing. At that point the Tach and Speedo decide they would rather play than do as they were told. Literally, both gauges started bouncing as if they were telling me about each and every bump, crease and seam in the Interstate. They looked more like a Seismograph than a Tach or a Speedo. Laughing, we called my BIL again and let him know still expecting him to back out of this deal in heartbeat but he still held his ground. As we cross over into Iowa the fuel and temp gauge crap the bed. Not wanting to get stuck in the middle of the wasteland that is IA with a 7 month old at night we decide to pull over and fill up, “just in case”..... I never should have turned the car off.
I’m filling up, wifey checks the kiddos pants then runs inside to use the facilities and grab a bit of food. We get already to take off and the car won’t start... again on our second or fourth time we get the car “reset” and she comes back to life bringing our limp temp and fuel gauges and the dancing tach. and speedo but at least it stopped pinging! A few miles down the road the pinging starts up again, god damn this car.
We hit Ames and there is a bit of drizzle, wipers and headlights seem to be working fine and we are keeping pace with traffic. We stop for gas again in Des Moines and again I should have kept the car running but didn’t and again it took a few tries before I get the car “reset”. While in Des Moines (roughtly 30 min.) the drizzle turns into sleet (did I mention it was in February?) Coming out of Des Moines we start seeing cars in the ditch, at first one here or there, later in a few spots one on each side of the road. I take up position behind a Tractor Trailer crawling at I don’t know how fast with just enough room between us to know they were still there and wind is gusting like I have never experienced before. The snow makes it seem like we are in the Millennium Falcon at light speed. Roughly 30- 45 min later the car decides it doesn’t like us having a radio or lights on the dashboard. Not that I was using them, it was just one more damn thing to go wrong. I’m white knuckling it through this version of hell, my wife is trying in not so subtle ways that we should pull over for the night which we finally do about an 90 miles from my parents place. We had been on the road since 3 or 4 in the afternoon and it was now Midnight. As we pull in there happens to be a Motel 8 or something, lobby was packed. Everyone was getting off the road and already exhausted from fighting the road this far, I had no fight to argue for a room. My wife on the other hand had a different thought on the matter. After pulling the “I have a baby in the car” routine along with a few tears we had a room.
My wife and baby are getting settled in the recently acquired room so I set about to get the few bags and pack and play from the car. I slide my way though the lot to this thing we called our car and go to pop the rear hatch from the key fob. Silly me, thinking that that would work. I went to find the lock on the hatch, figuring “why would a hatch not have a lock that one could use a key to open?” only to find that no lock existed. FUCK! Ok, minor setback I’ll just fold down the rear seat and get the shit that way. DAMNIT! Car seat is installed in the center postion and we have this stupid dog gate keeping me from just pulling it over the seat. After what felt like a few hours struggling to get a pack and play along with a few bags through the 1/3 of the seat I could fold down, I was successful. To this day I cannot hold too much of a grudge against IA if for only the fact that they let Gas Stations sell actual beer. I earned it that night.
Next morning, I wrestle everything we pulled out back in. As we back out I notice the power steering is out. Fuck it. We finished our journey, made it to my parents house around 8 that morning. At 9, my wife and I left for the dealership. When we arrived there the car had 220 thousand miles on the odo. One of my BIL’s buddies came up to greet us and started asking questions about the car, specifically that he had a couple that were interested in buying this one. I told him flat out, I would not recommend this car to my worst enemy.
TLDR: Drove a CUV 6 hrs (400 miles) with a computer problem through what turned out to be a “ground blizzard” with no Tachometer, no Speedometer, no fuel gauge, no temp gauge, no power steering, no dashboard lights, no radio, refused to start if you turned it off until you performed a sequence not unlike the “Konami code”, and added an extra 170,000 miles to the trip in order to trade it in on a minivan.
POD was right to panic on this one.
This was when I was back in college. I was driving a beat up 1999 Ford Ranger King Cab with a Mazda B3000 engine swap. The four wheel drive system sometimes worked, sometimes not, and it decided when it would kick in and out. The truck also only started half the time and when it did start, it would die every time you touched the accelerator unless it was up to full temp. When it was running it sounded like Bowser’s kart in 150cc class in Mario Kart 64.
I was driving from my parents’ home in Washington back to School in Alberta, it’s about 900 miles and goes through Crow’s Nest Pass in B.C. and Alberta. This pass has some pretty horrible winter storms and I was caught in one. Being 22 and invincible, I decided I’d just push on, I had about 20 feet of visibility and that was plenty.
Part way through the pass I was slowed down by a snow plow. As this simply would not do, I tried to see if there was space on this narrow 2 lane mountain highway to pass, nope. So I do what any sensible 22 year old would and pass on the right; while the driver was plowing. Rocks, snow, and the ire of the driver washed over my truck. But I made the pass. The driver wailed on the horn, flashed his lights, and generally made his displeasure known.
About 40 klicks up the road I’m going over a bridge and a gust of wind hit my little ranger. The canopy on the back acted like a sail and it spun me around at 120k/hr. Knowing that my truck stalls out and doesn’t stop, and also knowing that -40c is basically death by exposure in a very short time, I panic. I throw the truck in neutral and just hand on. I slide the rest of the way across the bridge and the tailgate slams into the center median snowbank hard on the other side. The truck finally comes to a rest about 30 feet in. But I’m OK. Nothing broken, the trunk is on all 4 wheels, but the engine has died. Oh god, it died.
After some deep breaths, I try to start it. Nothing. Panic setting in I try to start it again. Nothing. Full on terror and I try one more time. It starts. I praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster and try to move. I’m stuck. The four wheel drive kicked out. I try to move the selector into 2H to 4H. Still only the 2 back wheels spinning. I move from 2H to 4H to 4L, same thing. At this point the snow plow, you know, that same plow I passed on the right, has caught up to my. I see the plow slow, and drive away. Karma is a cruel mistress.
I’m panicking again and I just leave it in 4L, put in in 1st (it was a manual btw) and gun it. While the back wheels are spinning I hear the front go “click click cliack clack clack CLACK BANG” and the front wheels grip and I crawl out. I’m trembling at this point. I get back on the highway and the first thing I do call my parents to tell them of my stupidity and that I’m ok. After the call I catch back up to the snow plow…
And pass him on the right…
I learned nothing.
I thought Jeeps could get out of anything? MMILLER1188 proves not always.
I SLID 1/4 MILE BACKWARDS DOWN AN ICY HILL AND DIDN’T HIT ANYTHING!
A bunch of us in the local jeep club decided to go run some seasonal highways that were not being used for snowmobile trails. We came to one section where there was a lower hill about 1/4 mile long, then an upper hill that ended up on some farm fields.
We all worked our way up the lower hill just fine. The upper hill was glare ice and ended up turning into a giant stuck fest.
Mud tires ... DO NOT HAVE TRACTION on slippery surfaces. There were only 4 of 10 or so Jeeps that didn’t end up in a ditch on the upper hill.
I wasn’t in a ditch, but I could not move. One person jumped out of his jeep on the hill after getting in a ditch and broke his ankle. Of course, since he was at the top, he couldn’t get down and had to wait ~3 hours.
We spent about 3 hours on the side of the hill trying to figure out how we were going to get out of that. Eventually we were able to figure out the right combination of tieing who to what and start , literally, sliding our way back down between the two hills.
I ended up tieing my jeep off to two trees about 30 feet apart. I would detach one of the straps and just push the jeep backwards down the hill, in park - then once that strap would get pulled tight from the tree, I’d hook up to another farther down and push. It was that bad. I was standing on the side of the road pushing.
We finally made it back to the bottom. It started to get pretty nice out, too. Sun was even shining.
I tried to go up the lower hill - with which we previously had no problem. It looked a bit slippery since we packed it down and the sun was shining.
Sure enough, it was slippery. I put it in 4LO and made it about 20 feet up before sliding backwards.
I wasn’t going to let a hill defeat me that easily. I put it in 4HI, 1st gear and pinned the gas pedal to the floor. And it worked!
Until it didn’t. I was probably 30' from the level and I ran out of momentum.
I had to think quick. I could either back it into a ditch - which would take a lot of time to try to pull it out, or just slide back until I got traction. I chose the later.
Quickly found out that I made the wrong choice. I NEVER got traction. All 4 wheels were locked solid and I had no control over anything.
Luckily, leveler heads prevailed. I puckered up. Put it in neutral and placed both feet firmly on the floor. Looked out the backwindow and steered.
THANKFULLY, without no brakes applied, I kind of had control.
So, about 2 minutes after I went up, everyone was quite surprised when I came flying back down the hill at 30-35, backwards. Missed the stream, trees, ditch and bridge! I parked it and rode with someone the rest of the day.
The next weekend, I made a trip to the local junkyard to buy a new drivers seat
Pics: You can see the ice under the snow
Where I pushed it back
Stang70Fastback has another long one, but points for presentation. And effort. Would you go this far for a job offer?
Two years-ish ago, I was offered an interview for a job in Chicago. At the time I lived in Virginia. This being my first (and only) full-time job offer, there was no way in hell I was going to turn it down. So the interview was scheduled for, IIRC, sometime in January.
Which, OF COURSE, wound up coinciding with a massive snow storm. A day before the storm, they emailed me asking if I wanted to do a web interview instead, since any sane person wouldn’t have even considered making the drive (yes, I was driving. I couldn’t afford a last-minute plane ticket, and my flight likely wouldn’t have worked out anyway.) Being someone who wanted to make a good impression, I insisted I would make the drive up there. My plan was to drive up the day before (650 miles), spend the night, do my interview first thing in the morning, and then drive back the same day. It’s a LOT of driving to do in a short period of time.
To compound things, my old, 280,000 mile Outback with leaky head gaskets wasn’t up to the job, so I rented a full-size For Taurus the evening before my journey. When I picked it up, it had already begun to snow. On my drive back from the Enterprise rental location (which was already closed now) it became apparent that something was horribly wrong with the car. Pulling over, I quickly discovered that the left front tire was bald. Not low on tread. BALD. Just the left front. The rest were brand new. I have no idea how that happened, but it did. Great. I had literally NO grip from that tire on snow.
So I found a parking deck away from the snow, and spent 30 minutes jacking the front up, and removing the bald tire and installing the spare tire, then jacking the rear up, and putting the bald tire there, then jacking the front and putting one of the new tires there. Best to have the bald tire on the back. I can deal with oversteer. I can’t deal with no traction from the drive wheels.
The next morning, I awoke to my rental surrounded by, and covered in, more than a foot of snow, and an unplowed parking lot (it was still snowing). So I cleared it off, got in, and pretty much “POWEERRRR!”-ed my way through the parking lot (kudos to the Ford, because I thought for sure I’d need to clear a path with my Outback first.) I immediately got stuck in the hump of snow that the plows make at the entrance to the main road, and that took me 15 minutes of “shoveling” with my feet, and back and forthing to finally get free. Then I took a photo.
So the main roads were clear. That was good. And my journey began, and it started off decently enough:
The one benefit to road trips during snowstorms is that you have the whole road to yourself. Here’s a normally somewhat busy two-lanes-each-way-with-a-grassy-median highway:
I passed all manner of accidents, such as this tractor-trailer:
Every time I hit the brakes on this car, it had a tendency to oversteer to the right, because the bald left rear wheel was, for all intents and purposes, non-existant. Turning left wasn’t too bad. Turning right was basically DORRIIFFTTOOO!!!
At one point there was a hill where the highway was somewhat sloped to the right, and there were about 20 cars piled on the right side that had slid off. As I made my way up, I realized I couldn’t even maintain my speed or the car would slip to the right. I eventually somehow managed to work my way into the far left lane and hook my left front tire into the snow on the grass in the median, to keep me from sliding to the right, and I barely made it up the hill.
Eventually the roads got worse (Ohio appears to have NO snow plows at all) and at one point the highway was closed, forcing me to take a random exit, and since nobody else was ON the road except for my dumb ass, the exit hadn’t been plowed, or even tunneled by another car. So here I am plowing through 12" of snow in my rented Taurus hoping I don’t get stuck, when lo-and-behold, a wild plow appears! I was able to follow him down a small, winding side road as he cleared the way for me until I was able to hook up with the highway later on:
In the process, I passed multiple abandoned vehicles, including this one, which appeared to have crashed early on in the storm:
I finally made it to Chicago something like 10 hours later, went straight to bed, had my interview, and got back in the car. I assumed at that point that the roads would be clear on the way back. Well, I assumed wrong. A small clipper had come through, but it had been warmer, so the highway was literally a sheet of solid ice. Every time I went under a bridge, the car would immediately yaw left, and the brakes essentially didn’t do anything. Halfway back, the roads turned to snow again, and Ohio hadn’t seemed to have done much to clear the snow from the highway. I basically drove on 4" of packed snow the majority of the drive back as well. By the time I got home, the front of the car was rather icy.
On the bright side, I was able to post this photo to my Facebook a month later :)
I feel legitimately bad for TFo4 on this one. He thought he was getting some.
Ah, the exuberance of youth and OKCupid, thou art a powerful and sometimes dangerous mix. In 2005, 22 years old and having just “met” a beautiful 18-year-old girl whom, in retrospect, I would have no business dating for longer than a week (a devout and, shocker, sheltered Catholic who once truly believed her beloved Paul Walker was communicating with her on MySpace vs. a staunch cynic and atheist, just to name a starter), I set out on a wintry East Coast jaunt under the auspices of checking out grad schools for the future, thus legitimizing the endeavor in my mind. First time driving in the white stuff, mind you - California kid. Turns out occasionally getting my E30 sideways was not sufficient prep for black ice mixed with 22-year-old leadfoot stupidity.
I’d just passed Montpelier, VT, alternating between bursts of 90 mph (whee, car with “tiptronic”, otherwise known as a Toyota Solara!) and just barely escaping the bumper of a VW Golf in the slush when I came up on an 18-wheeler slapping my windshield with all kinds of foulness. No problem, I have all four speeds at my disposal. Drop down a gear in the grounded-to-the-ground Sport mode, pull out, gun it... Except not. Right around where I went full Kimi, there was a patch of white stuff covering a patch of black stuff. You know how in a life-or-death situation your life is supposed to flash before your eyes? That highlight reel was notably absent - the only thing I saw was the trailer beam slicing the A-pillar in two and thinking first “how did the windshield not just pepper me with the sharp stuff” and then “can I stop spinning already?” I had been, basically, turned into the underside of the trailer, its height thankfully not enough to suck me underneath. So an autograph from his wheel on my right hand side later, I was mercifully spat out into the snowy median. Had it been a mile before or after, a guardrail would have been my receptor and I sincerely doubt I would come out of it with just a severe case of hurt feelings. You know, being the seasoned California driver and all that.
Ended up in Cornwall, ON, a few days later, after a spectacularly relaxing ride in the back of a Greyhound bus from Montpelier to Ottawa that was carrying a bunch of drunk college students to Montreal. Girl was sick with pneumonia and afflicted with an overbearingly strict father, so best I got was a brief phone conversation from their family-owned downtown clothing store and a two-hour-long conversation with her truly lovely (no snark intended) mother.
Kids will be kids, what can I say.
FatValKilmer’s lady keeps it classy.
Long story...took the girlfriend (now wife to be) to meet family out of state in my almost year-old FR-S in April 2013. I had the stock Michelins and on the way back we were caught in a snowstorm that pretty much came out of nowhere.
We had just filled up the gas tank in Iowa and within 10 miles of crossing into Minnesota were hit with 3 inches of snow. I think ‘well I can just go slower and look for an off-ramp to turn around/stop’. FYI, this is a stretch of I-35 that has hardly any lights and long distance between exits. Then the snow starts falling heavier to where it’s now dangerous if you lose momentum.
We start passing (slowly) semis, cars, trucks who have been too generous with the throttle or brakes and left the roadway against their will. I’m going about 20mph, white-knuckled in my Whiteout FR-S in whiteout conditions. The tail keeps stepping out and of course my significant other is trying her best to keep quiet to let me focus. Then she says ‘I’m sorry I have to go to the bathroom’ while we’re about 50 miles from Minneapolis and adequately plowed roads. I then tell her I’m happy to stop but we’ll likely get stuck on the off-ramp since there is about 20 inches of snow drifted all over. Smooth move from me because that just makes her cry.
I find what looks to be a decent off-ramp so I creep up it until my FR-S gets stuck. HOORAY! It’s 15 outside and snowing while I’m driving a sports car and my poor gf is peeing in deep snow in front of my quarter panel. Then headlights pull up and it’s a local in a Dodge Ram 2500 who sees our dilemma (hopefully not milady’s goods) and in a typical Minnesotan voice hollers ‘I think ya brought da wrong car for da snow!’.
He graciously gives us a push on the trunk and I gain momentum to get down the on-ramp where I see a poor UPS double-length trailer off the road with all of its packages littered about. I limp the car home and to this day I haven’t had any desire to drive my car in anything less than 40 degrees.
Wife to be agrees and is forever happy she didn’t piss in the seat of her future husband’s car.
I would have given up after seeing the first rollover, but Monkey Puzzle @gundara must be braver than I am.
it was just a small amount of snow, but at the perfect temperature and consistancy it was unbelieveably slippery. Our usually 45 minute drive to the airport took nearly 5 hours, missed the flight.
^ the first sign it was going to be no fun, this sight met us just after the on-ramp that I myself got a little sidewaysy on
^ then a truck with trailer swung across all 3 lanes
^ then this fool spun completly around after diving in and out of lanes. I could see this nutter coming up and had my brother pull up his camera
^ not to disappoint, he then hit a half dozen cars and spun off into the night through heavy traffic continuing to weave in and out of traffic.
I’ve been stuck in blizzards, and driven relying on just GPS to find the next exit and know where the road was, I’ve even been hit on two occasions in the snow, but this simple drive to the airport takes the cake for worst ever winter trip.
Also, Coleman Slawsky, you shouldn’t have to pay for your own uniforms in the military. That’s some bullshit to me.
Before I say this I just want to put a disclaimer:
This was entirely my fault, and I know better. I grew up in the Snow Belt of Northeast Ohio. I usually have the proper winter items and know how to drive in the snow.
Now, just this past Christmas I had leave from the 24th of December to the 29th. I left from West Point (I’m enlisted, working at the hospital, not a cadet) and drove home (Akron, Ohio) the 490 miles in a little over 6 1/2 hours. No issues, temps in the 40s, dry, mostly.
The trip back was a little different. I left late, like at 11:30pm. It was right around freezing but still dry, nothing too bad. This is probably a good time to mention I’m still on summer tires. Like I said, I know better. But being in the Army means I don’t have a lot of money and I had to choose between winter tires or new uniforms. New uniforms won out. Anyways...
I make good time across eastern Ohio and western PA. Up until I get to the western edge of Scranton. The temp had dropped and a mix of freezing rain/snow started falling. Apparently this caught the DOT crews off guard too because there wasn’t a single plow/salt truck out. I was screwed.
I spent the next 6 hours driving what should’ve taken about 2 hours with the tightest of buttholes. Anything over 45 sent the car sliding. The roads were awful, but like an idiot I did not want to stop. For about a good 2 hours I didn’t see another car or truck on 84.
Luckily, as soon as I hit the New York border the roads were actually cleared. I will never make that mistake again, like I said, I knew better. My only excuse is the whole El Nino forcast made me keep putting off buying some winter tires.
And yet somehow still better than spending time with family, says Equana.
Blizzard of ‘78, stuck home with my Parents and Sister. For 3 days straight, with 3 TV channels. My boss called and says he’s opening the store and can I come into work and pick up 3 clerks on my way.Middle aged female clerks.
I had been starting my ‘64 Pontiac and running it a bit each of 3 days stuck inside so it will start. One the 4th day, no bloody start! I’m parked at the end of the driveway blocking Dad’s car, that WILL start. I push mine into the hand shoveled street so I can get the jumper cables to reach. I start the car and its running on 3 of its 6 cylinders. Fuck it, I’m gettin outta this house!
I’m driving the car through drifts and piles left by the plow. It is about -5 degrees F and the heater in my car feels like a hamsters breath at a full run. Cylinder #4 comes to life! Power! I pick up clerk #1, she complains about the cold car. #5 makes an appearance! I pick up clerk #2, she complains about the cold car. #6 finally wakes up and I pick up clerk #3. She complains about the cold car. The rear window is so iced over on the INside from the bitchy breath, I couldn’t scrape it clear. We get to work and the same women who complain they want the store AC set to 68 all summer because their HOT, want the store heat cranked to 78 F.
It’s STILL better than staying home with my parents and sister.
A round of applause for Humz, who kept his cool in a bad weather situation with a wife in labor. Also, congratulations!
Two weeks ago. Wife in labor:
I had to drive from Ellensburg, WA to Selah, WA and back at dark. I had to take my mother in law and two year old son back to our home in Selah, and then make it back to Ellensburg to be with my wife. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this stretch of highway, it is mostly fine, but does get a little hairy occasionally in the winter, and this winter has been especially cold and snowy.
Long story short, this drive normally takes approximately 30 minutes, each way. This particular night, the night my wife is in the hospital in labor, it took me AN HOUR AND A HALF, one way. And then, I got to turn around and do it a second time! I have never seen fog like that night, and hope that I never do again. At one point, it was like a horror movie.. driving along at 25 mph, just following the tail lights of a Toyota Tundra, I hit a fog bank, and the tail lights I was following completely disappeared. One second, there, next second, gone. It wasn’t for another several miles that the truck that was literally 30 feet in front of me was visible again.
I made it, and saw our daughter born, but holy shit I have never had such anxiety in my life. Fuck fog.
My buddy CleverUsername is a damn good shade tree mechanic. Here’s how a very cold drive inspired him even more.
I once drove 6 hours from my university to my hometown in December, with no working heater in a 1970 BMW 2002. Despite having dressed myself in almost every warm piece of clothing that I owned, I had to stop a few times to warm up in a gas station.
The next day, I taught myself how to rebuild a heater box.
Do you have any crazy winter driving stories from this weekend?