Today was another handful! A 20-30 MPH wind with gusts to 45 (according to the radio) held steady from the southwest, while the directions I took shifted around. Temps dropped as I came into Arizona, since another cold front was moving through. The state highway heading for Payson gave me a now-unusual sensation: a ribbon of pavement undulating across a desolate but visually interesting landscape. With an hour to go, I started into the Sitgreaves National Park, and that eventually led to a mountain pass where the added elevation lowered temperatures further. In combination with snow flurries that thickened to lower visibility to a couple hundred feet at points, the snow began sticking to the pavement.
Although I’m sure no stranger to winter driving, I haven’t driven on snow since early 2012! Because temps were now hovering along either side of freezing and that showed on the pavement, discretion won out over valor for me and I slowed down along with many other drivers. I’ve noticed that the pickups I’ve owned lack the feedback that tells you what’s going on below, and so it’s comparatively easy to get in over one’s head and not be aware of it until it suddenly becomes all too obvious. Part of that may be weight, but I suspect that current cars share some of that trait too, since the trend for some time has been to insulate the driver from the physical sensations of the machine. At any rate, the poor weather made the day’s long drive take even longer, but there were no sudden adventures, at least. The nice part was seeing the hills full of snow-laden pine trees.
I found a superb room at the Majestic Mountain Inn, and although packing the Mighty Furd in was no picnic, the room makes up for it. Same basic cost as the Super 8 down the road, so guess which one I preferred? I borrowed 2 DVDs from the lobby to watch, and had a pizza delivered to my room. Life is hard.
Tonight here should hit 26, which should be a predictable mix because it’s also raining in Payson itself. Tomorrow is supposed to be clear with a high in the 40s, which should present a bit of a poser. Frozen rain on the Ford’s windshield is not something I planned on last March. I have no windshield scraper, nor do I have the ability to warm up the Ford and let the defroster take care of the windshield. See, with the diesel engine, it doesn’t produce enough heat at idle to warm its coolant up. Its a combination of not using enough fuel at idle, and having a massive cooling system, even with a working thermostat. You need to drive it 5-8 miles to get any heat up, which is a challenge with a windshield that badly needs defrosting in order to drive. It’s a chicken or egg thing that explains why I used to own a really good windshield scraper. So, I might dawdle tomorrow morning in the hopes of letting the warmer weather begin the job for me.
Doug get one of the 12 volt heaters. They kill your battery full time but for knocking the chill off and defrosting they work grest!
Thanks for the idea, Bill!
Ice & snow… not for me if I can help it anymore.
I was living in northern Minnesota and worked at a front end shop, one winter morning Buster & I were sitting around watching the vehicles on the road in front of the shop. It was a little hill where it went up to cross the rail road tracks then back down the other side.
It’s packed snow & ice & as the rear wheel drive vehicles (mostly pickups) go up the hill & put on the brakes when they go over the tracks you could see some thing unusual.
The front tires were locked up, not rolling just sliding on the ice/snow & the rears were spinning away on the ice/snow. Seems the front disk brakes grab a lot better than the back drum brakes, they were all sliding on the ice/snow but being in gear there was still power to the rears.
Interesting and educational! After I saw that I stared putting my truck into neutral when I wanted to stop & I was driving on packed ice/snow, no matter what else I wasn’t being pushed anymore when I wanted to stop.
These days I just try & avoid that white & cold stuff.
Interesting story, Rob! Reminds me of the big-block Vette I commuted in. I had to firmly hit the brakes while stopped in traffic on snow. The thing would crab sideways at idle in drive, since it had positraction. The fronts kept it stopped, but there was enough torque from the idling engine to override the rear disc brakes and let the rear end swing out of line. Disconcerting in stop-and-go, mostly stop.
More than one person has used a credit card as an ice scraper when caught without a real one. Not a fun job.
I hadn’t heard that one. Tedious, but when that’s the only option, it’s the best choice!
OK, 1) buy a good ice scraper, 2) head to Quartzsite after things thaw out a bit. Brisk and cold here tonight but days have been in 60s and sunny. Above all else… be safe and stay warm.
Thanks, Charlene. I lucked out. By the time I finished my “free” breakfast and cleaned up, the sun had done its work on the windshield enough to make it a non-dilemma. Yay!