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January 8th, 2007 - Adventures in Engineering — LiveJournal
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2007-01-08 03:55
  Subject:   BEWARE BLOWING SNOW ON US-36 GOING OUT OF BOULDER.
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I headed home from the usual Sunday night revelry about an hour ago. I got three (count them, *3*) blocks before my car foundered and became stuck, wheels spinning helplessly, in a thick blown-snow drift. I had to walk back up the hill in the cold and blowing snow and wake up my friend, to ask him if I could borrow a shovel.

Then, I had to spend half an hour hand-shoveling a 25x12' rectangle of hard-packed, heavy, crusty snow before I could even get my car back to the middle of the road. It was that icy and slippery out. I'd clear the snow out from under my tires and a few feet behind them, and all it would accomplish was to roll me back a few feet, and then slide right back down into the gutter, wheels spinning, car even more perpendicular to the road. (This is even less fun than it sounds when you add in the fact that it was 2:30 am and the snow was still blowing all over me as I dug.)


Those of you heading out of Boulder for your morning commute tomorrow: Exercise extreme vigilance on Foothills Pkwy, and on US-36 between the Baseline exit and Louisville. These areas were not pretty as I came back into town. McCaslin south of 36 was not good either, but it was being plowed as I went past. And keep in mind that on Saturday, there was a 21 car pileup at the top of the hill on 36. Yes, RLY. In which the Crown Vic of someone whose LJ I read was totalled. As in, "it could not be driven away from the accident." This brings the count of cars owned by people I know that have been totalled by the snow this winter, up to two. I'd rather not see that count make it to three.


The previous two nearly snowless winters have made us stupid and complacent. But nature is not messing around this winter. Tomorrow, I am going out and buying a set of chains to throw in my trunk. If you don't have studded snow tires, I suggest similiar measures. At the very least, learn from my mistake and throw a shovel in your car until March.

Remember that while getting to work slowly in the morning is not optimal, it sure beats the living crap out of not getting to work at all tomorrow, nor for the whole rest of the week, because your car is stuck in a two-foot deep drift and even the tow truck can't get it out. Or, if you're really unlucky, your car might get totalled. You think it can't happen to you, but remember - two of my friends have already had their cars totalled this winter. Ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure, yes? Go slow if you need to, and ignore that California-born idiot behind you. (You'll be laughing like crazy when you pass his SUV sitting backwards in the ditch a quarter mile later.) Be ready for blowing snow conditions to blind you and reduce visibility to 20' feet or less at any point going up the hill on 36. Remember that blown snow is slippery as hell, and don't be afraid to take the slippery patches at 25.


Don't be complacent. Watch out every second. Have an extra cup of coffee this morning if that's what you need in order to wake up more. I don't want to be reading about how you wrecked your car on the drive in to work this morning. Been there twice already this winter. No more.
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