Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow at the Beach

I love the cold weather, in small doses. I love snow, when it stays off the roads. I feel for those people in New York who are digging out and trying to stay warm. I have been in Oswego when it got COLD! I have been up the road from Oswego, in Ft. Drum, when it snowed three feet in one night and the wind chill went down to about thirty below. The advantage they have over us is, they do this every year, several times. Their road crews are somewhat prepared, though no one can really prepare for twelve feet.

In the southeast we get snow for a day at the time. It melts at night, and in the morning, ice. The good people don't get a lot of experience. Our ever increasing population of transplants from the Northeast seem to believe their heritage allows them to void the laws of physics, and drive as though traction depends on attitude.The teenagers, they think spinning circles at 60mph is good fun, trees not with standing.

Here at the beach, it only snows about once in ten or twelve years. Down here you can whisper the word ice and someone will slide into the ditch. If we have an exceptionally heavy frost, schools close.

The last big one was on Christmas Eve, it snowed about a foot and a half. For the next 24 hours I ran rescue calls out of my four by four pick up. I’ve been driving in slick weather for a lot of years, I never did it because I wanted to, only in the event of a serious need. There were a couple of us ferrying nurses and patients to and from the hospital, moving the elderly when their heat crapped out. I remember being in the squad building listening to the sheriff deputies searching the long roads in the swamp for cars reported to have gone into the ditch or canal. The drifts were deep enough to pack into the radiator and get into the fan and belts to make them slip and the alternator stops charging. I wondered if we would have to go get them.

I carried an elderly couple to their son’s house. When I pulled into the drive the snow covered the headlights on my F250.
There was a run to the Island to get a woman about to deliver her first child, she got a ride to the main road on a motor grader, and the remainder in a Jeep pickup. I broke trail for them to drive in my tracks.

The next day we had a packed, icy, slick mess. Of course everyone had to get on the roads to “see how pretty”.


I was delivering a nurse from the hospital to the island. By this time I have pulled so many people out of the ditch, I was leaving the strap hooked up and just toss it up in the bed, to move on to the next one. I saw a compact car stuck , with the driver belly down in the snow trying to clear the tires where he had spun out. I moved to the shoulder and as I got out to help, an SUV passed me, spun in a slow 360, caught it and continued on down the road.

I asked the dude if he wanted to be pulled out, he said yes, of course. When he stood up, I had to think about it. He was wearing a Klingon uniform from the original Star Trek, his car had the Bat symbol on the hood and Bat Signal emblems on the head lights.

I briefly considered leaving him there, not wrapped too tight, obviously. Driving was tough enough without worrying about space man going to warp speed on snow. Not to worry, when he turned his engine over it sounded like some was in the oil pan with a big hammer trying to get out. He’s not going far, in that car at least. I drug him out and sent him on his way, light blue cloud wafting behind.

Listen people, you don’t have to go anywhere. It’ll all be there when you get to it. Most of the people on the road can’t drive that well anyway, toss in a little slick, and then some moron with more throttle than brains, “bad things" will happen!

I don’t do driving tips, if you need me to tell you how to stay out of trouble, you have a serious problem.

But then, we all know, deep in our hearts, that we are the best driver on the road.


Ambulance Driver said...

"But then, we all know, deep in our hearts, that we are the best driver on the road."

Of course! But then, we can't ALL be right...

only me. ;)

Flo said...

'Tis the season for stupidity around here. And the roads are even in fairly decent shape.

Thanks for the link, DW. And you're right--I completely forgot about what a Cobra looks like when it's attacking.