I would love to post a picture of the road conditions this morning, but my hands were full. So I guess I’ll just have to paint a picture on this blank canvas, using my words for color.
The morning mist hung web like, heavy in the air, a brisk chill making it feel think and solid. A fresh snow had fallen overnight, covering the contours of my truck in white crystalline glory. It was one of those mornings that hold a simply beauty, even with it’s arctic bite. While I slogged the 1/4 mile to the service plaza for coffee, my breath was as visible as the dayspring sheen of frozen moisture in the air. I felt awakened and refreshed by the dawn and it’s briskness, believing the worst to be over. I was soon to be dissuaded of this notion however.
Warmed by my caffeinated concoction of choice, I trudged back to my truck, ready to face the day. Brushing snow off a vehicle is always a chore. However, until you attempt it on a vehicle more than twice your height, you really have no idea. By the time I was done, a fairly thick covering of snow was my mantel. I still had to complete my pre trip inspection, do a little paperwork, and get ready to roll. Brushing the snow off myself, I set about my morning routine. Unlatching the hood and pulling it gently open, an unseen clump of snow, obviously missed during my earlier effort, slid down, landing squarely in the opening of my jacket. It melted quickly from my body heat, and trickled a cold rivulet down my chest. Chilled inside and out, I completed my circle of the truck, only slipping and sliding a few times.
Finally safe, back inside the warmth of my cab, I prepared to start my days adventure. Pulling out of my parking space was interesting due to the ice and packed snow throughout the service plaza. I felt as if I needed a four wheel drive, or at least something that had a much smoother suspension system. Once on the highway though, I was welcomed by pavement dried by the heavy traffic of cars and other trucks… for at least 20 miles. Snow slowly began to fall. Big wet, heavy flakes, like the ones imagined in connection with winter wonderlands. No problem, they were melting soon after hitting the windshield that had been heated well by the defroster. Before long though, the volume of snow increased, and began to clog the wiper blades to a glutinous glob of ice. I had to pull off in an emergency parking area to clean off my wiper blades and windshield.
Few people know, but a trick to keep snow from clogging up and freezing or sticking to your windshield like glue, is to turn your air conditioning on and set it to defrost. One distinct disadvantage of this little trick, is that you turn the inside of your vehicle into a refrigerator. Bundled thickly in my coat, stocking cap, and slightly warm gloves, I rolled on down the road. Snow no longer clung to my windshield, and I barely had to use the wipers. Never mind I was a virtual ice cube… I could see where I was going!
About 50 miles down the road, I came upon a congestion of cars and trucks, traveling at 25 MPH. Just a short distance ahead, the highway department was clearing the highway, using 5 trucks. They were lined up in a fashion to pull the snow from the left all the way to the right. The lead truck leaving a windrow that the truck immediately to it’s right and behind, took up and pushed on to the truck to it’s right, and so on until the three lanes of roadway were clear. I have seen this tactic used before, yet they usually leave space between the rear of the lead and front of the following truck, for vehicles to pass. Not this time, and to ensure there were no such attempts, a state trooper followed close behind. I followed along, shivering behind the wheel of my brand new truck who’s heater worked perfectly well for another 30 miles.
After the plows turned off, and crossed over to the opposite side to return the other direction, traffic slowly picked up the pace. The weather however, maintained it’s wintery plunder for at least a hundred miles. The roads were not all that bad, mostly just wet with a few spots of packed snow, and almost no ice. My pace remained steady and only somewhat slower than the majority of the traveling public. I did get to a point where I could turn the heat back on, but it was a considerable time later.
Eventually I was able to get through the early morning snow storm, and continue my travels. However, I may have to check to be sure I have no frost bite on my extremities. Not to mention, my carefully cleaned off truck is now covered in various layers of slushy ice.
I’m ready for winter to well and done!