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A 70 year old Alaskan virgin?

November 8, 2015

Well not exactly a virgin but…..
We are now into our third week of snow continually falling day after day like dust from the sky with no end in sight. Accumulating a quarter inch here and a half an inch there. Yet some days I do see a break in the clouds with the sun shining for a few hours all to soon to be replaced with nothing more than a light coating of….more snow. Though shoveling is hard on these old lungs I manage to keep up with the ever present ‘gift’ of frozen Angels tears.

The weather report with the words ‘chance of snow’ reappears day after day without any change, and the temperature has been mild for this time of year. When we should now be seeing more and more readings below zero it stays the same comfortable 20 above. This extended fall temperature has the advantage of not using the stove all day long, which of course means that every day the temperature stays this warm I am saving money.

The down side is when you combine the warm temp’s with the almost daily snow fall you see roads with conditions that bring back memories of bumper-cars at a carnival. The reason I used the title ‘A 70 year old Alaskan virgin’ is because every winter I have to learn anew how to drive on roadways that are nothing but sheets of ice. The 60 mile drive from my cabin to Fairbanks becomes a new adventure each winter because with old age dulling my reflexes it makes the relearning process quite a bit more interesting.

Between my home and town there are four hills that must be crossed and here is where I find it most interesting of all because on the down slope of these hills, (one hill namer Wichersham Dome is over 3,000 feet), I never touch my breaks. I am sure most of you know what happens when you hit the breaks on ice….nothing but an out of control skid. So I have taken to using the gears instead of breaks, something I learned when I drove the ‘big rigs’ across the country earlier in my life. Though dropping gears may not be the ‘officially proper’ way to drive, it works for me.

I remember my first few winters here when each week over our morning coffee Rose the woman who owns the property that I live on and her daughter enjoyed hearing my tales of woe doing 180’s in the switchbacks on Wickersham. However lately wether because of seasoning or experience these tales have stopped and I can drive that 120 mile round trip with nary a slip!

So yesterday on my first icy drive to town
I once again lost my virginity
and for most of the drive
my foot
never touched the breaks………

This posting made possible through Winlink
the ham radio emergency email system

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2015 5:01 pm

    It seems everyone here also has to relearn driving. Although the process is repeated storm by storm, not season by season.


  2. November 9, 2015 11:19 am

    Whilst there are many whom need to re-learn how to drive in extreme conditions. I have found that there are many more whom never learned in the first place. Myself on the other hand, I learned some harsh lessons in the past and if it takes me twice as long to reach a destination, so be it. It can be quite interesting to listen to the scanner here around Rochester, New York when the first ‘icing’ hits. It’s also quite funny when after 2-3weeks of snow/ice people still haven’t learned much.



  3. November 9, 2015 12:01 pm

    I learned decades back from my Dad one should never drive with their brakes regardless of the conditions. This is why I can get 80k or more miles to a set of rotors; I virtually never have to touch the brakes unless I’m driving in a crowd or in a place with lights and stop signs. Far too many people are clueless regarding this method; we’ve all been behind some yo-yo who constantly rides their brakes. This makes following them a nightmare but also points out just how poor a driver they really are..! Using your transmission under icy conditions is only smart; but it is no guarantee of control as if one waits a bit to long to drop into a lower gear one can still lose traction when so doing. I remember those grades and turns on Wickersham Dome all too well; I drove them once in snow in a 26′ RV and that was ‘exciting’ to say the least. We did get 7.5″ of new snow but I was hoping for a foot or more; darn storm moved too fast! Enjoy your snow and let’s pray for cold air!!


  4. Jon permalink
    November 10, 2015 3:14 pm

    Here in the Twin Cities of Mpls.- St. Paul I think some people never learn how to drive. Just like Mike said they have to re-learn each storm. Unbelievable coming from a Ak. pipeline driver & now a large bus driver of 20 years here, I just shake my head several times a day all year around what people do. We had a few flakes earlier on but nothing yet just 2″ of rain coming in the next 3 days.


  5. June 13, 2016 1:54 pm

    Clever title. You got me!


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