More tales from the Frozen North
HOW TO GET FRIENDLY WITH A SLIDING SAND TRUCK
A blistery, snow blown winter day. I remember thinking a little snow is fun but a sheet of ice is hell. Winter jacket, hat, gloves and boots. All set. I headed out with full knowledge the traffic was light today. I checked and cross checked several Internet traffic cams. Others fear of snow is an advantage. It keeps the roads a little less hazardous for risk takers. Ready, Steady, Go.
Started the engine earlier to get the ride warm and defrosted. Got to plan ahead for these things. I headed off on the regular vanpool route. Damn, need gas. Guess I'll have to plan better next time. Something smells funny and a strange noise. Ah, the emergency brake is frozen closed. It will probably unstick itself by the time I get to the gas station. The route is going to be a little late today.
I was right, the ebrake broke lose but there is something wrong with the fuel gauge now. It isn't registering that I just put forty bucks of gas in. Oh well, I know it is there. Back on the road, windows defrosted but still frozen shut. It is cold out there anyway.
Now for some fun, the gulch by ****'s house on 192 street. Car in front just lost it. Several in the ditch. Tow trucks are going to make a killing this month. That one is up-side-down. How did they even manage that? I guess anyone can get a license. Time to make my attempt down the little hill and up the big one. I wonder if I should get a run at it. Looks too iced over and the vehicle graveyard says otherwise. I'll go real slow, controlled. Hum, I'm not in control anymore. Better stop. I said stop. Whew. Steering is useless. I can not move without going to the apex of the hill (and a big pile of cars). Guess I'll pull the chains out of the back and see if I can drive over them for steering traction. Nada. These things are worthless on ice. I'm going to slide into that ditched Camry if I try to move again. Time to stay put and give this some thought. (five minutes later)... Sweet, a sander. I didn't know Renton had a sander. All of us who are stuck are going to need to move enough so he can get by the graveyard. I can't move. Guess it has to be the guy in the Civic stuck trying to go up the little hill. No English? Perfect. Maybe one of these other people know Spanish. No? Time to play charades. (five minutes later)...
Lucky we had enough chains to make a track so we could push the Civic nearly into the ditch. I think he is going to need a tow truck. Here comes the sand. Awesome.
Huh. There is something you don't see everyday. Sand truck driver hopped out and his rig is rolling away without him. He is pretty good at running on the ice. I think I would break my neck if I tried that. I can't believe he caught it. Ok, here he comes and now he is sideways. All 14 wheels of his sander are sliding sideways down an iced over hill at the Metro Van that is nearly up against the Camry in the ditch. Not good. At least he is still spreading sand as he slides down the hill.
Good recovery. Sander missed the van by an inch. Scoop some sand from the street and pack the van's front tires. Lay down the chains. I'm on the road again. I'm feeling pretty lucky but I think I'll stop while I am ahead. 25 more miles of this isn't going to happen.