ANN BAILEY: In all things — especially navigating winter roads — be preparedA couple of weeks ago I detailed the challenges of winter driving and my strategies for not burying my car in the many snowdrifts that lie between me and my destination. So much for those plans. During the past week, I’ve gotten my car stuck not once, but twice.
A couple of weeks ago I detailed the challenges of winter driving and my strategies for not burying my car in the many snowdrifts that lie between me and my destination.
So much for those plans. During the past week, I’ve gotten my car stuck not once, but twice.
The first time occurred on a gravel road about a half mile from our house and resulted from making a poor choice of which route to take. Knowing that the gravel road that runs straight west of our house and meets up with North Dakota state Highway 18 usually has some big drifts when the wind blows, I decided to turn a half mile from our house and go north on a different road. That road winds around and eventually meets up with pavement a half mile east of Larimore, N.D.
I have to admit here that I made the decision to turn despite the advice of my No. 1 son, Brendan, who told me it would be better to go straight.
Only a second or two after Brendan’s words were out of his mouth, the car came to an abrupt standstill. I got out to take a look to see how badly I was stuck and saw that things looked pretty dismal. There not only was a big drift in front of the car, there was a lot of snow underneath it.
I decided to try and make an attempt at shoveling out, so I opened the trunk and got the big, metal grain scoop shovel I keep in there and started whittling away at the drift. I shoveled a path out from in front of the car and moved some from behind it, and then got back in to try and drive out of the drift.
I tried to drive forward. No go. Then I tried going backward. The car didn’t budge an inch.
I got out of the car and shoveled some more, and then Brendan shoveled Thomas, his brother, shoveled and I shoveled, and then we each repeated the same thing all over again. The car still didn’t move.
At that point, I decided that I better call our neighbor, Bill, for help. However, I didn’t have his phone number programmed into my cell phone, so I called my brother, Terry, who lives in Louisiana in hopes he would have Bill’s number. He did and offered to call Bill.
A few minutes later, Terry called back and said Bill would be on his way.
I knew by this time that Brendan, Thomas and their sister, Ellen, would be late for school, so while we were waiting for Bill to rescue us, I called the elementary and high schools and told the secretaries that my children would be late. Both secretaries laughed and said I was one of several people who had called that morning. My children were relieved when I told they wouldn’t be the only kids who had to get a tardy slip.
While we were waiting I also had to listen to some chiding from my children about being unprepared for winter weather. I deserved it. I hadn’t worn boots or a hat that morning, so my ears were cold and my feet were freezing from getting wet while shoveling.
I told my kids that they were absolutely right to lecture me and that I had no excuses; it was a dumb thing to do and I wouldn’t let it happen again.
I was saved from eating crow by the arrival of Bill who pulled the car out with his pickup, and then drove ahead of us to the highway to make sure the roads were clear. There were a couple of drifts on the road, but Bill’s pickup blazed a trail that I could follow and I made it to the highway with no problem.
I was apprehensive about the trip home that night, but the plow had come during the day and the roads were clear.
I am embarrassed to say they also were clear the second time I got stuck last week. That time I misjudged how close I was to a drift in my mom’s farmyard and ended up driving partway into it when I was turning around after feeding the chickens.
After shoveling and rocking the car back and forth, I was able to get out by myself, much to my relief.
Now, I’m just hoping that when it comes to winter driving, bad things don’t come in threes. I’ll make sure I have my hat and boots with me, though, just in case.