Posts Tagged ‘snow’

I had to run a few errand today and took my Canon PowerShot SX20 along for the ride.

On the way back home, I hopped out of the Hyundai and snapped some photos before frostbite started to set in.

We’ve had a mild winter so far here in Western Pennsylvania, but in the middle of February, it usually looks something like this.

I’m hoping these types of days are few and far between the closer we get to spring.

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Winter

Posted: January 3, 2012 in Anecdote
Tags: , , , , ,

The start of 2012 also has meant the start of substantial snowfall in Western Pennsylvania.

First thing this morning, I helped my neighbor push her car out of another neighbor’s driveway. She’d started down our street, which hadn’t been plowed, and decided to turn around and try it from the other direction. Which explained why she was in the wrong driveway.

I’ve certainly had problems in the past getting out of my own driveway. Once, my father-in-law had to drive over with a bunch of salt to get us up and out. I’ve since opted for four- or all-wheel-drive vehicles, which helps considerably … unless I’m driving to Buffalo on New Year’s Day. (See Listen, the Snow Is Falling.)

Back in the mid-’80s, I drove an Oldsmobile Omega, which perhaps was the worst car ever built this side of the Iron Curtain. One night, I was driving on Seventh Street in Indiana, PA, following a snowstorm. I tapped the brake pedal slightly.

The next thing I knew, the car had reversed direction and was skidding toward a gas station, with no way for me to control anything. Finally, we came to a halt about a foot away from one of the pumps.

That could have been ugly.

At least the Omega had front-wheel drive, which usually got it around decently in the snow, although GM hadn’t quite perfected the technology: The seals that held the transmission fluid kept tearing. Not a good way to keep the car running.

My dad once had a Chevy Vega, a rear-wheel drive piece of junk that got no traction whatsoever. He had to put sandbags in the back to try to make a go of it each winter.

The original Junk in the Trunk!

Associated listening: “Goats Head Soup” by the Rolling Stones (1973)

The NHL’s first Winter Classic was at what used to be called Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. That’s not a long drive from Pittsburgh, and my son, a huge Penguins fan, has his birthday on Jan. 1.

Plus we scored tickets for $10 each. Yes, that’s ten bucks. This was the first time around for the Winter Classic. No one knew if it was going to fly.

Although traveling to the Buffalo area is a straight shot on interstates, a lot of the route is close enough to Lake Erie to increase the possibility of snow. Sure enough, about an hour north of home, the white stuff started falling from the sky.

I wasn’t worried. My Suzuki had all-wheel drive.

But at one point I corrected the steering slightly, and the next thing we knew, the car in a ditch. I started it back up and made it back onto the highway.

No, we didn’t turn around and go home. We went to the game, sat through the snow and didn’t see Sidney Crosby score to win it. We were freezing by then.

The way home wasn’t so bad until the New York Thruway turned into Pennsylvania’s Interstate 90. Apparently, because it was New Year’s Day, the state Department of Transportation wasn’t about to pay anyone double to go out and plow the roads.

So we inched toward Erie, where we rented a motel room.

In the meantime, I wrote a newspaper column that arrived back home before I did, so everyone knew about my travails.

Counting the deductible, that trip cost me about $600. I think that’s what a couple of seats for today’s Winter Classic fetched.
See my photos from the first Winter Classic

Associated listening: “This Is Our Music” by Galaxie 500 (1990)