Monday, February 1, 2010

Good sliding versus Bad sliding

(Context note: This was January 2008.)

After many months of discussing going up snowboarding, I found a great deal through Sliding On The Cheap  and got a package with room, lift tickets and some restaurant coupons. (If you like to ski or snowboard I highly recommend signing up for their email list to save a buck.)

In a previous post, I mentioned that I don’t like driving in icy road conditions and let Wife drive if at all possible. I let her handle the driving and I manage the stereo, snacks and comic relief. We arrive Friday evening, have a blast Saturday and drive back Sunday morning.

After sleeping in and lazily eating breakfast we realize that there is a storm coming in and we will be racing it over the summit. As we approach the grade, there are workers forcing people to pull over and put on chains.

I look to Wife to take care of this since I assume this falls squarely in the “driving in icy conditions” category, which is her domain. She looks at me and asks, “Where are the instructions for these things?”

I do not like the sound of that. My gut starts to churn and my breathing gets faster as I begin the first stages of freaking out. After some messing around, we get the chains on and are waved through to go up the hill. Traffic proceeds slowly but nicely up the windy mountain freeway.

After traffic comes to a brief stop, Wife steps on the gas and the tires just spin in place. She checks that she is in a low gear, slowly steps on the gas again and the tires spin and the car stars sliding toward the mountain. I begin phase two of freaking out which is also known as “wanting out of there so bad that I am contemplating just running for it.”

All traffic in both directions is stopped as we try to figure out what to do next. I feel like I did when I was a city boy that had just moved to the mountains. Two truckers come marching up to the car and assess the situation without asking if they are needed. The one with the Budweiser ball-cap looks at me and laughs. He says, “Those chain monkeys at the bottom of the hill put the chains on the wrong tires! They need to go on the front!”

I could have fessed up. I could have taken accountability for the major mistake, but I ended up saying, “Oh, man. I can’t believe that.”

They take matters into their own hands and get the chains on the front tires even though we are in an awkward position. I had visions of the car suddenly sliding into one of the men and crushing them – thankfully nothing like that happened. We got over the summit and down the hill and the chains started breaking off. At my insistence we just kept driving, ruining the set of chains in the process.

Sunday evening we got to tell people about how great the mountain was – sunshine, new snow, no crowds. People would mention that they heard traffic was horrible and I only mentioned to a select few the full story.

(I’ll say it now, if anyone was affected by the traffic that day, I am sorry. That was me. Won’t happen again.)

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

Wow...I keep trying to forget that happened! You left out the part about how we asked the traffic control officer if we had the chains on right to be sure, and after checking them out, he said yes, and waved us on. Oh the confidence!