Thursday, December 21, 2006

"You're not getting out of here without chains on,"

I said to this guy in the parking lot today. What was in my head was, "But I'm about to." He polished snow, burned rubber, and generally failed to get his giant pickup truck out. It was 2WD, but apparently his chains didn't fit (or he didn't know how to put them on, something else I didn't say.)

This was my first snowbound parking lot in the new car. It did quite well. The weather gods dumped about 7" over the course of the day, which is 1/2" short of the ground clearance the Subaru has. I have chains, traction pads, and a snow shovel, none of which I used, and a scraper that I did. After deciding that there wasn't any more I could do to help the pickup truck guy, short of throwing him in the bed of the truck and driving it myself - I'm not sure, but I think that with gentle clutch work that truck could have been driven out sans chains - I returned to brushing snow off my car and some girls in a giant SUV asked if I knew how to install chains. I looked at theirs, which looked properly mounted, gave a cable a pull and didn't get much movement, and told them to drive a while and re-check it. So of course they went back to trying to tighten it. Whatever. In hindsight, I can't help wondering if they were driving a 4WD, in which case they had the chains on the wrong wheels.

Anyway, with most of the snow brushed off the Subaru, I decided to see if I could get to the road without mounting my chains.

Got in the car.

Started it. Put it in reverse.

Backed up. Slowly. Some resistance, but the car was moving.

Started turning. Still moving.

Ran out of room behind me. Put it in '3.' Started driving forward. It's moving.

Started turning. Joined the ruts left by the other vehicles leaving the lot. Still no problems.


So now I've had three chain-free driving episodes that would have required them in my previous car. I think today's was the most challenging, but it makes me feel pretty optimistic about getting to Sugarbowl tomorrow in whatever the plows have left of the foot of snow we're supposed to get overnight. I think that if they plow the little road near the cabin any time between now and then, I'll be fine, and if they don't, I'll have to dig my way out to the main road, chains or not.

No comments: