Friday, December 31, 2010


That's the only word I can use to describe driving yesterday. We had a storm system roll through and drop about 4 or 5 inches of snow on southern Springs. Many, many people think that Colorado is always snowy in the winter with one to two feet a common occurrence. This is true if you live in the mountains - especially those well known areas like Vail, Breckenridge, Mammoth, and Keystone. But if you live on the eastern face of the mountains, like in the Springs, the farther south you go, the warmer the temperatures and the less snow you get. In the winter, we generally sit around 40 - 45 degrees every single day. And if we do get snow, it's usually gone in a day or so. Completely gone. Like, you would never know it had snowed. Yesterday, however, is a completely different story.

We started out the morning knowing we would get snow sometime early evening. The temperatures were in the mid 30s - not too bad. The kids and I went to run some errands, then took JAD to his orthodontist appointment. It was starting to flurry when we left the orthodontist, but nothing was really sticking at that point, so I decided to continue on with my original plan of going to the mall (Bath and Body Works sale! Can't pass that up!). As we walked out 40 minutes later, the temperatures had dropped to well below freezing (in the teens), the snow was coming down hard and steady, and the streets - every single one of them - had turned into a sheet of ice. Now, if we lived in a nice Midwestern town that's perfectly flat, this wouldn't be too much of a problem. There, slow and steady wins the race. Here, at the base of the Rocky Mountains, there is not a flat road anywhere. If you could have been in my brain as I was driving, sometimes sideways down the road, you would have been amazed at the way I was analyzing every possible way home. On a normal day (which is something like 363 days per year here, roughly speaking), it would take me about 15 minutes to drive home from the mall. Yesterday, it took an agonizing one hour forty minutes to get home. MAD took a nap. JAD was leaning out the window when I was sure we were safely stopped (and those behind us were) to chop the accumulating snow and ice from my windshield wipers.

I learned so many things on that drive yesterday:
1. My large, 6-cylinder, rear-wheel only drive van does not do well at all on icy hills. Going up hills is nearly impossible. It took me over 3 minutes to climb a hill that was maybe 100 feet in length. Normal time? 10 seconds.
2. I now know how to turn my steering wheel as my vehicle begins to spin out of control. Good skills to have, not that I ever want to use them again.
3. Driving 5 miles an hour really isn't such a bad thing.
4. My Garmin can't always get me home when I'm looking for an alternate route, but my dumb luck will.
5. I am very grateful that K had my front brakes fixed Monday night, because the kids and I surely would have slammed into something far from home.
6. Always go to the bathroom before leaving the mall.

Here's a video that gives you a little glimpse of what it was like here yesterday. You may say 'extreme,' but this is what it was like all over town yesterday. Many, many major intersections were closed by 5 pm last night, including an intersection I 'cruised' through at about 3:20 in the afternoon. It really was treacherous.

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