Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Charlie Brown Kind of Day

It comes up, Charlie Brown. Snow comes up!

I know I wrote something about that last year and it still applies. It's been snowing a lot last few days. Today it was mostly clear.

Except you couldn't see through the snow because it was blowing every which-a-way.

The scariest time I've ever had driving here in Alaska, that's what today was.

Even when it snows heavily, the roads are still relatively easy to navigate. They're good about keeping the main ones clear and there are enough cars to keep tire tracks on the cement.

Except the wind was blowing so hard last night and today that a lot of the snow has been transplanted to huge drifts covering parts of lanes.

When I dropped Logan off at work, the drive there was perfectly all right. It was the way back that I nearly got stuck. Twice.

The first time was when I drove into the right hand turning lane. One big drift covered the lane, so thick my car almost abruptly stopped. I was lucky it managed to get through to solid ground.

The next drift, however, was right where the turning lane meets the intersection. I had to stop there because cars were turning from the opposite direction and I had to yield to them. I thought for sure I wasn't going to get enough traction to get moving again.

The wheels spun for a while and I gradually and painfully inched forward until I got onto the main road. I fishtailed for a bit, then straightened out. Whew.

But that wasn't the most fun part. The most fun part came after I taught my class and was heading out to the Carr's parking lot to meet with my writing group at Kaladi's. I had to pass Wasilla Lake, a wide expanse of open lake that is frozen over and covered with snow.

All that snow was blowing directly across the highway, completely obliterating the view. The cars in front of me disappeared, so I immediately took my foot off the gas and waited, praying to the gods that I would see their brake lights with enough time to stop. Stomping on the brakes is not the wisest thing to do in this area, not when some roads are covered in ice several inches thick. Better to drive like Ma and Pa Kettle or Grandma and Grandpa Moses.

Once I got past the lake, all was well again. Later, when my writing group discussed this delightful breeze, Jean mentioned how it would make a great story, driving into a cloud like that and ending up in another universe.

Then we all paused to watch the door to the coffee shop open and close all by itself. Creepy.

In a lot of areas, most of the snow has blown away, displaced to other nooks and crannies of boundless adventure.

But in others, there are knee-deep swamps of snow. I tried to walk my dog Bruno through one of them so he could romp and have some fun off-leash. That lasted all of five seconds. The wind was cutting through my clothes and my boots got snow in them, freezing off my ankles and melting down to my feet. Not the safest of conditions. I snapped the leash on him and made a beeline for home.

This has been the worst weather day since we moved up here. Last winter was pretty mild in comparison. This is the first time I've seen ground since early October! I need to invest in warmer socks and thicker boots. I think I'll go drink an Airborne, too.


Matthew said...

Funny you should mention Charlie Brown. The New Year's special was on tonight. First time I've seen it since it first came out in '85, and would you believe the little redhaired girl has a name? I never knew that! Guess what it is? Heather!!

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