The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Two Basic Fears of Snow-Driving

Yes.  I just gave an “Olympics’-official” name to the process of traveling from one place to another via a vehicular transportation module when snow is descending/has descended upon one’s world.  The process of driving in the snow is so detail-oriented that it deserves to be recognized as an official somethingorother.  There are numerous stimuli approaching the driver, stimuli that must be processed immediately in order to avoid fatalities (of street lamps, non-hibernating squirrels, grassy knolls, or drivers).  As drivers process this stimuli, their goals can be summed up by identifying two basic fears.

1. Not Going

2. Going

You understand perfectly, don’t you?  Just in case something is unclear, allow me to elaborate.

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1. Not Going: I encountered this problem a while back…on two occasions during my first massive Minnesota snow.  The first incident occurred when, after coming to a complete stop at a stop sign (I’m such a law-abiding citizen), I couldn’t go.  My tires spun, whirring to me that they had lost traction.  Yes, my tires talk to me.  I waved the people behind me around while I tried to figure out what to do next.  Luckily, I was on the “up” of a mild incline.  I was able to roll backwards a bit and find enough traction to propel myself forward through the intersection…all the way to the next one where I did not come to a complete stop.  Don’t judge.  

The second incident was a bit closer to home…like…in my driveway.  I came home to find that our street had been plowed–yea!  And the plows had left a nice little present…a pile of snow blocking our driveway.  It was late-ish in the evening and I was feeling lazy, so I decided that I would just bully my way over the pile of snow.  Umm, no.  I got stuck…my front tires didn’t even make it over.  There was no going for me.  About half an hour later, after shoveling, carefully arranging some cardboard, and reversing in first gear, I was able to get out into the street so that I could properly shovel the driveway.  

These incidents are minor compared to problems that other drives have dealt with when, for whatever reason, their cars don’t go.  They might get smacked from behind.  They might get stranded without any food, water, or electric blankets!  So, you can see how “not going” can be particularly problematic.  Let’s leave this tragedy behind though and move on to the other problem/fear.

2. Going: It seems strange that, right after discussing the problem of “not going” we should move on to a problem of “going.”  It will make sense though…hang with me.

Snow and ice are ridiculously slippery (just in case you live in Ecuador and don’t know about these things…PS: if you live in Ecuador, I’m psyched that you are reading my blog).  So, when approaching a stop sign, there is always the risk that the car will not stop.  Or, there’s a risk that the front wheels will decide that they are ready to stop, but the rear wheels come to the conclusion that there are a lot of inequalities in the world and attempt to slide up alongside the front wheels.  No one enjoys this very much…particularly the driver sitting above this sibling duel.

Oh…my experiences with “going?”  I made about three lights flash on my dashboard earlier this week because I braked so hard and long.  About twelve hours later, my dashboard was back to normal.  That’s totally safe, right?

Clearly…I am not an expert when it comes to driving in snowy/icy/wintery conditions.   I summed up years of experience (which I don’t have) in two small points.  Any more experienced extreme sports enthusiasts care to comment?

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In the Morning

Before I go to bed, I could check out my window to see if the roads are clear.  To see if snow is falling.  To see if my windshield is icy. 

But after I go to bed, much can happen.  As darkness descends on the world, chills ripple through and bring about change.  Snow falls.  My car disappears.  Water chills.  The road ices.

Right now, the road is passable and tomorrow holds promise.  But when the whispers of darkness grow to a roar, who can say? 

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*Trying something a little difference in response to Your Story: Whispers of Darkness 🙂

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Conclusions of a New Minnesotan 2

Sometimes I get confused…very, very confused

Sometimes I get confused…very, very confused

In August, St. Paul, Minnesota became my home when I migrated from the southern half of the U.S. to take part in an AmeriCorps program.  By the time that September rolled around, I had come to a few conclusions about my new home and the native creatures.  Several months have passed since that time, enough months for me to draw a few new conclusions.  So this is a continuation of that initial post and a few addenda (apparently that’s the plural of “addendum”).

We’ll begin with the addenda, of which there are two.

 

 

 

Conclusion 1a: Minnesota’s summers are gorgeous.

Conclusion 1b: Minnesota’s winters are beastly.

Seriously.  Have you ever spent a winter in Minnesota?  A few weeks into November I was preparing for the worst.  And then, after the first massive snow that dumped nearly a foot in our driveway and front yard and on top of my car, I was thinking that squirrels and bears have the right idea.  Hibernating in winter is pure genius.  If you hibernate, you do not have to DRIVE.  During my first excursion (perhaps ill-advised on a Sunday morning while the weather was verging on blizzard conditions), I was prepared to pull over and just hibernate right there until everything melted.  Also, there’s this whole FREEZING COLD CONSTANTLY factor.

Conclusion 4a: Biking is awesome!

Conclusion 4b: …except in winter.

Did you read the above rant about the quantity of snow that can fall within a twenty-four hour period?  Well, that pretty much covers it.  My bike is hibernating.  Some days, I would like to join it.

Looks like all of my addenda have to do with snow…hmmm.  Can you tell what’s been on my mind?  Speaking of what’s on my mind…let’s move on to the new conclusions that have been reached.

Snow…snow…and more snow

Snow…snow…and more snow

Conclusion 6: Minnesotans are resilient.

Have you seen how much snow these people get?  It’s ridiculous and, no matter how much it is, they just keep going.  This is a strange concept for someone who grew up in, umm, I dunno, let’s just say Arkansas.  In a place like Arkansas, two flakes is cause for mild panic.  Five flakes is a cause for mass hysteria.  And ten flakes is cause for hibernation.  Somewhere around eight flakes it becomes impossible to find milk, eggs, or bread at any grocery store, gas station, or farm.  But in Minnesota, they just keep going.  Think “energizer bunny.”

Conclusion 7: The best time to go to Wal-Mart in Minnesota is in the middle of the Vikings vs. Packers game.

So, one volleyball game doesn’t seem much different from another volleyball game.  Wait…the Vikings do play volleyball, right?  Kidding!  They play baseball.  Anyways, I went to the grocery store without thinking about it.  Boy, did I make an AMAZING decision.  The store was dead.  It reminded me of the time that I went to buy beer in Missouri when the Cardinals were playing in the World Series.

Conclusion 8: Ice fishing is for real.

I had heard about it…but now I know someone who does it.  What has my world come to?

Proceed with caution.

Proceed with caution.

Conclusion 9: Starting your car before you get ready to drive in the morning sets the tone for your day.

This can really make or break your day.  If you do not pre-start your car, then your day will be cold and unforgiving.  If, however, you do pre-start your car, there is hope for warmth and happiness throughout your day…but only if you pre-start your car.  My fingers normally go numb while I’m driving, especially the left pinkie.  You think that’s a joke; unfortunately, it’s not.  I wish I was.

Conclusion 10: Minnesota is a land ripe with opportunities to DISCOVER.

What is it that you would like to discover?  How to survive if great quantities of snow?  How long should you actually wait for a lift bridge? Where is North?  What does a gigantic mall look like at 6 am?  What does nice mean?  Whatever it is that you would like to discover, you’ll find something worthwhile in Minnesota.  Put on your curiosity cap; let the state surprise you.

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