Winter "Wonder"landIf you noticed, I waxed poetically (I love to use that phrase because my friends back in MN had never heard that before and thought I made it up) about our amazing and beautiful snowfall. I showed Christmas postcard images of the pretty trees and yard and birds in the brush. That was Sunday and Monday.
Today brought home all the things that make snow a nuisance and winter a pain (since I've made no secret I love winter--I can abuse it a little here).
Tomorrow is supposed to bring another storm. If the Oregon weather-people are as good as most weather-people about snow predictions--I shouldn't worry we will get anything. It's when they call for light snow or flurries that you race to the store to buy enough food for a month and make sure you know where the candles and flashlights are kept. We'll see about that part. Part of me wants it to snow buckets to discourage any more commuting!
The morning started innocently enough. I left in plenty of time. Had the car all brushed off. Trash at the street. Packages on the porch (remind me to tell you how much I love carrier pickup one day!). Car warmed and windows defrosted.
The streets were not good. Oregon is environmentally conscious and won't use chemicals barring emergency. The state doesn't like the damage to roads and cars either. Having had a car eaten gradually in MN, I can appreciate that idea and luckily we don't have enough snow or ice to argue the logic.
I took my time since there was little traction. I should have seen the writing on the wall and gone back home. No, I'm fine - the car is fine - no accidents. It was raw cold for here. Wind chills probably in the single digits. I know that isn't THAT cold but it's really cold for here. The wind was sharp and the bus was 15 mins. late.
We all piled aboard in gratitude for some warmth and lack of wind. One regular even took a local route bus worried that ours wouldn't make it and it showed up right behind the local. But, she was smart and got off at the stop up the street and smugly got on our express bus. I've wondered all day if she regretted that move.
We went around slowly. I expected a slow ride. As we went up a steep grade to go over the freeway to get to the access ramp, the light changed and the bus stopped. When the light changed again, we couldn't move. The bus was stuck on the hill. The driver tried a few times but no go. He suggested that everyone move to the back of the bus to add weight to the back-tires to help. Didn't help.
Two riders volunteered to get off and assist the driver in backing down the hill to get a running start. We did that, got our running start. Waited for the light to change so we wouldn't have to brake on the hill. Didn't help.
Again, the riders got off (these guys should have gotten a free ride!) and helped the driver back down. In the meantime we watched the next 2 buses in our line pass us (they had no problem!) heading downtown. People started making suggestions. Flag down one of the buses. Take us back to the park&ride to get a different bus. Quit doing this; quit doing that. Do this; do that. The poor guy must have wanted to scream SHUT UP! But, he doggedly kept trying. Again, we went backwards down the hill. Got our running start and the tires started spinning. In fact the tire on my side started burning and smoke wafted up and sucked into the backdoor--asphyxiating us. Didn't help.
Finally they decided to take us down the hill (again) to a nearby driveway to allow the bus to turn around and head back the way we had come to an alternative access to the freeway. What do they say? Fourth time is the charm? I felt we should have rallied and cheered when we hit the open and clear freeway but I think we had all lost our cheer and were more "bout time!" about it. Poor driver. He would have probably enjoyed the cheer!
It was a slow commute but at least no more slick hills. I'm not sure why the guy didn't have chains on the back but the guy next to me argued we are an express bus with mostly a freeway route and the garage probably thought they weren't needed but there are a lot of sidestreets to circumvent to the freeway.
Luckily the sidewalks were in better shape than the side streets. It was a cold walk both to and from the bus but I hoped the afternoon ride would be better and it was--traffic was heavy and slow but moving. When we finally got to the intersection beside the park&ride, I was amazed by ALL THE CARS. Hundreds of them clogging the freeway, the ramps, the streets. Light after light changed with no movement because of the condition of the street and the slowness of the cars. When we finally got to the park&ride, it took some time to get out on the street because of congestion and even more time to get through the intersections to get to the freeway and home.
I can't decide if I want a blizzard to keep me home or a sudden warm up to melt all this packed ice and snow that we have now. I keep thinking about the retailers and the cut into their sales (again). It has to impact them when all we want to do it run home--not to their store. Hopefully some folks will be more shopping determined and not affect the economics of the season too much more..