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Digging out

Posted Feb 11 2010 2:43pm
We had a little snow adventure today. Mom has some doctor's appointments that are needfulso we had to get her dug out and to themlest we have another several-week wait to see these people. So once againI set out to retrieve her from the country.

When we had our Jeepthis was not a terribly difficult matter. Howeverthe Jeep got creamed by the shuttle at JoeyAndyDad's workso we don't have it this winter. We are waiting for the settlement to start shopping for a new onebecause winters like this do happen- and besideshis work requires him to be there even in bad weather. Anywaywe don't have a 4WD vehicle right this minute.

I loaded up the boys and headed into the Wild Blue Yonder to go over the river and through the woods (literally). I must say I've been mostly impressed with the snow removal in these parts- the main arteries were mostly drymost of the side roads are clearand even the little roads are passable. Heckeven the road back to my mom's was plowed and minimally slushyand that's practically a miracle. We got to the circleno problem.

I sat in the driver's seatpoised at the top of the driveway. Let me tell you a little about the driveway at my mom'sthe one I learned to drive on. It is about a tenth of a mile long through the woods. From the circleyou dip down into the driveway; back about halfway is an intersection as the driveway teardrops on a slope. You bear left to go straight in; you bear right to head up a small slopethen have to turn a hard and steep left around to face out again. I had a plan. I would go the leftand just before getting to the steep loopI would gun it upthen back in a y-turn to the parkingand be facing out. This would save me a potentially dangerous slide around that steep loop.

The last vehicle down this driveway was the big electrical trucks after the last stormso we had to deal with the new accumulationsome four inches on top of the otherwhich has melted down some in the interval. I sat poisedlooking down the stretch of virgin white. Without my 4WDdid I chance itor not? My mom cannot walk so far. The appointment was an important one. I took a deep breathand plowed forward. Yep. I'm an idiot.

I made itohabout a quarter of the way. The snow was incredibly wet and heavybut the real problem was that the center of the driveway- between the ruts made by the electrical trucks- was still higher than the clearance under the van. With it being so heavymy vannot being a snowplowcould only push so far; and the wet snow turned to slick smoothness of ice under my tires. Suddenly I couldn't go forward any more- and I had no traction to go back. Quietly cussing myself outI got the boys out and we walked down to the house. I explained the problem. My moma wiser woman than Iwas surprised- she thought I would honk from the circle. Which isof coursewhat I should have done.

I got the boys insidegrabbed a shoveland headed out. I tried to get under the wheels and dig to the road surface. UnfortunatelyI couldn't get enough out from under the wheels themselves for this to work at all. I went backfetched a bag of fertilizerand headed back to use that traction. A good deal of wheel spinning and choice words laterI head mom calling- she had a rug to try to put under the wheels. I ran back and got itand was shoving it under the wheel when I herd another car. I looked up to see a large truck with a snowplow blade on the frontperched as I had been at the top of the driveway. Oh noI thought; even if I can move the carI'm stuck!

But thenblessings on himthe guy got out and offered to pull me out. We got hooked upand got started.

And that's when his truck got stuck. Remember that dip into the driveway from the circle? That equates to a steep little hill to get back out to the circle. Try to climb up and out is hard enoughwithout having a van to pull behind you through thickheavy snow.

He and I shoveled the worst of the snow out of the waytrying to make it easierbut he just could not get up that little incline. So then the second angel appeared- in the form of my moms next-door neighborwho has lots and lots of man-toys. One of them is a large 4WD truck with a tow chain. We attached that truck to the snowplow truckand started again. The circle was well-plowedand wetbut not icy; so after some more revving and cursingwe were on the move! Up and out!

The nice guy with the plow then tried to plow the drivebut the snow was so heavy and thickhe couldn't do too much. We managed to get some of the snow off the left-hand straight wayand make nice ruts to drive onbut not all the way to the parking area- in factthe steep loop is currently blocked by the snow push pile. He kindly brought my mom outthough.

We are definitely replacing the JeepASAP. You never know when we're going to have a winter like this.
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