Showing posts with label snow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label snow. Show all posts

Monday, January 4, 2016

All Time #1 Winter Driving Tip

Today I am going to share with you the #1 tip for driving safely in winter (snow/ ice/ etc) conditions. SLOW DOWN!!!

This weekend I had the displeasure of driving through Portland Oregon when it was in cold, snowy, icy conditions. Vehicles were wrecked all over the place. Most were minor one vehicle slides off the road and or bumps the barrier but there were a couple of not good looking roll overs. Interestingly about half the wrecked vehicles were really good winter rigs like Subaru wagons and Toyota 4x4 trucks. The issue was that while increased traction via AWB/4WD does help you go it does not help you turn or stop. So these folks got overconfident and wrecked. Another good example that all the hardware in the world will not fix a lack of skill.

Slow down on bad winter roads. Either leave in enough time or tell folks you will make it when you make it. If the roads are really bad and beyond your comfort zone consider if you even have to make the trip at all. Better to miss an event or even lose a days wages then wreck your vehicle or God forbid get someone hurt.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Snow Update

We've got what looks to be like 4 or so inches on the ground and road in front of my house. Nobody seems to be moving anywhere. I certainly am not going to be.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snow in Louisiana

Well it is snowing. Fun times.

Crazy Weather Prep

So today I went outside at about 5:30 am and it was a balmy 45 degrees. By mid morning it was probably 55. Then the mercury dropped like Bernie Maddof's hedge fund shares. By 3 it was under 40 and by 5 it was 35. At 3:30 it started to drizzle. Now the mercury is sitting around 34 and it is raining pretty hard.

The weather people say it is going to turn to freezing rain then snow overnight. The expected overnight low is 20ish. As the weather heats up a bit tomorrow (at least to above freezing) but keep raining till at least mid morning. I know those are warm temps for some places in the winter but I live in Louisiana

At 2 or so today both the parishes in the area had preemptively canceled school for tomorrow. After some hemming and hawing work decided to do the same thing. By 4:45 the answer was "get home before sunset and stay there. See you all Monday." So a spontaneous 3 day weekend seems to have occured.

This is nice because the idea of driving in the snow down here does not appeal to me. Now don't get me wrong, I am quite comfortable driving in the snow and have an amply capable vehicle to do so in. The issues that concern me are 1) the lack of snow plows, sanding trucks, etc all and 2) Cleti. Cleti being the plural of Cletus. Cletus, bless his heart, drives a huge truck and if he has ever driven in snow it's been a couple times in his life. Cleti probably haven't figured out that while a 4x4 truck will go like crazy in the snow it isn't very good at turning or stopping. I do not want to be driving nearby when Cleti finds this out.

Anyway the coming bad weather got me a touch worried. Our infrastructure and the people who maintain it are simply not very used to cold weather. Often usual stresses can bring up known weak points or potential issues that a low probability of occurring made not cost effective to prepare for.

So what did I do to better position myself? Filled up the family hauler that was sitting at a half tank and got some groceries. Didn't absolutely NEED to do either of those things but wanted to. Also having the stuff I want for the next couple days will help me avoid the imprudent trip in bad weather because I really want X. When I got home I moved a bunch of firewood so it was easier to get to. Also plugged in the battery pack thingie to make sure it is charged just in case the power goes out.

Now I'm home planning to watch this whole thing unfold. I can be pretty comfortable no matter what happens so simply not leaving is my plan. Could be entertaining.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snowpocalypse Arizona

Despite the prevalent view otherwise it does in fact snow in Arizona. Well if you are above 4,000 feet or so anyway. Time to bust out some cold weather gear as it is a somewhat cold 34 degrees F outside.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I am just not sure when it comes to precious metals these days. I see definite shades of 1980 in the charts and buying at the top of the market is bad. On the other hand it may be different because of our insane monetary policy and other factors. Prices could continue to climb and stay high for many years so I may start getting priced out of the market entirely. Right now I see the up side for silver being better than gold. I am still buying but am not going to increase my contributions any. This week silver dipped some and I was able to pick up a roll of 90% quarters and another of dimes. It was money from last year so I guess I was a bit closer to last years PM goal then I thought. Or we could say this year is getting off to a great start.

We also picked up a snow shovel to keep in our vehicle. Wifey got a lightly used Helly Hansen waterproof shell type coat at the used stuff store for like 18 bucks. She needed a waterproof coat with a hood and even if she had 3 that was too good of a deal to pass up.

I also got started using my Kindle. Downloaded a bunch of public domain books. Got the Gibbons I plan to read as well as some Shirlock Holmes and The Count of Monte Cristo. Next I am going to get military manuals and survival type PDF's. A solar charger would greatly aid in its prep utility and is worth at least looking into.

It has been a pretty crazy week here with getting back home from the holidays and me jumping back into work. We are probably still feeling the after effects of jet lag and all that. I cooked dinner yesterday and incorporated a bunch of cans of stuff we have had lying around. There were some substitutions but it turned out well.

Next week I am going to try and get through more of The Bear Went Over The Mountain. It is very interesting if dry at times. Also I am going to get some more stuff to put on the Kindle.

Got emergency seeds? If you don't you probably should.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow Shoes and Cross Country Ski's

Bro Brandon B inspired today's post with his comment yesterday. I can honestly say I do not know a whole lot about field expedient methods for making snow shoes. I read about it in a miltiary survival manual once. Basically you take a pine branch and then bend in back around on itself (thinning the part that bends or heating it up a bit helps) tying it together and then tying the thing to your foot is the jist of it. I don't think they work very well though they are better than post holing/ wading through the snow.

[A bit of background. I grew up doing a lot of cross country skiing and have done enough snow shoeing to know my way around it.]

Basically the whole point of ski's and snow shoes is to spread out your weight and keep you on top of the snow instead of sinking into it. They both help you move, relatively unimpeeded through snow when it is otherwise difficult or impossible to do so on foot. They are traditionally used in places that have significant amounts of snow throughout the winter. These traditions are especially strong in Northern Europe. I will discuss the characteristics of both then briefly discuss their pro's and con's.

Snow shoes are basically just a big thing that attaches to your foot to spread your weight out over a larger area. The old ones look like a big tennis racket and the more modern ones are made out of metal and or plastic. They vary in size based upon technology and the conditions and weight they are designed to handle. When you look at boyancy snow shoes are sort of like life jackets, they need to be purchased for an individual and their intended use. A set that works for a 90 pound kid will not work for a 200 pound man with a 50 pound pack.

The biggest advantage of snow shoes is that they are relatively easy to use. You need to walk a bit wide (think of the steriotypical bow legged cowboy from the old movies) and be very careful not to get the snowshoes crossed over eachother but fundamentally you are just walking. Most people can get comfortable on snow shoes by taking a short walk in them. Also snow shoes do well in varried/ uneven terrain (particularly in the woods where the holes around the bottom of trees, the snow doesn't accumulate under a pine tree so there is a big hole, can make skiing impossible, and lack of space for relatively long ski's is a real issue) and really deep powder. The disadvantage of snow shoes is that they are a lot slower to use than cross country ski's.

Cross country ski's are how people who live in really snowy places get around. Since you can glide on top of the snow (like water skiing or skating) you can move much faster and burn less energy than on snow shoes. Also on ski's you can go down a hill in two or three minutes that will take a half hour on snow shoes. I find that it is a lot easier to get into a rhythm and really cover ground on ski's than snow shows. However ski's do have some downsides also. First they are, while not too difficult to learn to use, certainly more difficult than snow shoes. In particular the less than ideal slopes (not a nice even cleared downhill style ski slope) inherant of cross country conditions and flexible bindings make it difficult to safely move downhill without a decent amount of skill. If I was keeping a spare set of something around to equip a random friend that came to my beautiful mountain cabin (I wish!) it would be snowshoes. Also some situations are better for snow shoes. Deep powder and moving through the woods are areas where show shoes beat out ski's.

Being able to move over snow under human power is a skill that has become a lower priority in a world of snow mobiles, snow plows and vehicles of all types. However if there wasn't fuel and the snow plows stopped moving it would, for folks in heavy snow areas, be the difference between utter isolation and being able to travel freely. Also cross country skiing and snoe shoeing are great cardiovascular exercise.

Some of my readers might be interested in how these winter travel skills have been employed by guerilla and partisan forces in the past. Some folks, if memory serves me correctly the Norwegians and the Finn's in particular capitalized on the mobility of their skiing skills to mount daring actions against much stronger but less agile and mobile enemies during WWII. In heavy snow areas a person who is a natural on ski's and a decent shot with a rifle could raise hell with a bunch of soldiers on foot.

If you live in an area with heavy snowfall then I urge you to learn to ski and snow shoe this winter.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Some Preparadness Is Darn Boring

This evening we had planned to go to dinner in a nearby town. It snowed about 6 inches this morning and kicked up again this afternoon. About the time we were planning to leave the snow was still sticking and the temp had slipped well below freezing. We decided that driving almost an hour one way was not smart. Instead we got some inexpensive take out from a local place and stayed in. Most likely nothing would have happened. Then again we could have gotten stuck and not been able to find a motel room or even gotten into a wreck and been hurt. This is boring and sort of lame but it is the prudent thing to do. The best way to stay out of bad situations is to not be in them in the first place.

The same could be said about a lot of financial stuff. Putting off a purchase for a couple pay periods until you can 'really afford it' is not cool or interesting. Shelving an idea entirely because it will put you in a less than ideal spot is downright boring. However this stuff matters.

Seriously it sounds a bit stupid, after all your vehicle is equipped to be the envy of every Road Warrior and you have a nice emergency fund set aside (you do have an emergency fund, right?). The thing is that if you don't leave home for non essential trips when the weather is real bad or buy things you can't totally afford you are far less likely to need the supplies and gear in your vehicle or the emergency fund in the first place. By making these choices you are AVOIDING PROBLEMS. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winter Weather

Lots of folks have been writing about the cold weather. It is freezing in the South and Europe, in particular Central Europe have been a mess for awhile now. Rio calls it the Al Gore winter which I find amusing. Suppose this is my obligatory cold weather post.

Folks have already talked about putting extra clothes, food, water and sleeping gear in the car. Other folks have talked about winter driving. I see no need to rehash that stuff. I do however have a few other observations.

Cold weather is hard on skin and lips in particular. Keeping a decent stash of whatever your preferred lip chap stuff is prudent. Yeah chapped lips won't kill you but if a tiny bit of planning and a few bucks will let you be comfortable it is foolish not to go that route.

My other thought is that in the winter you need to be more flexible about travel, running errands and the like. More than once we have had a plan to go here or there and adjusted it based on looking outside at the roads or the weather report. Even when we are talking about relatively short 30-45 minute trips it is just smart to use common sense. For example, earlier this week we had planned to go do a bit of window shopping and have dinner at a restaurant we have been wanting to check out. The weather turned nasty yesterday (and my wife is a bit sick) so we are pushing that plan to the right. We will either cook something here, order in or go someplace down town. This might seem overly cautious but I would rather err on that side than get in an avoidable wreck or get stuck somewhere.

On that note I think it is prudent to be willing to change your plans if the conditions merit, even if you are out. This might mean sleeping on the couch or floor at somebodies house or even staying in a hotel/ motel for the night. Having a sleeping bag per person in your vehicle is good but if a clean, safe room at the Holiday Inn is available to me it is an easy decision. For a hundred bucks or so to get a room for the night and some dinner you could avoid a serious wreck or even worse. My deductible is $500 so doing that 4 times to potentially avoid a wreck makes economic sense even if you do not factor in the huge hassle of an accident or getting stuck.

I recall once when winter weather socked a whole bunch of travelers in the sleepy NW town I was living in. Some of those folks got stuck for 3-4 days. This is where that savings account portion of the emergency fund comes into play. Last Christmas we got stuck in Philadelphia for a few days. Traveling long distances on a shoestring budget is never particularly advisable but in winter it is a downright bad idea. It is fine to plan to travel cheaply but having the resources to sustain yourself if something happens is the smart thing to do.  

In short be prepared to be inconvenienced in terms of time, travel plans and a bit of money.

Aside from that I find the winter weather best experienced by looking out the window from my warm living room with a glass of something warm to drink.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Living in the South

The weather here is completely fucking insane. Today we had massive thunder storms, hurricanes and flash floods. Tomorrow there is going to be snow. Friday it is supposed to be 75. Seriously, what the fuck?

I was sitting here this morning and the crazy storm was blowing. All of a sudden I heard a siren of some sort. It was coming from outside, an area with more stuff a couple hundred yards away. I realized it must be a tornado siren. I got onto the google and did some looking. There was a tornado warning in our area. Fucking A. I elected to let Wifey sleep because I couldn't think of anything great to do. Without a basement the best I can think of is to go to an interior room if a tornado strikes.

So yeah the weather here is totally nuts.

Also every dog I see seems to be a pit bull. Not sure what to make of that.

Today I swung by the gun shop and they had a nice AK with a folding stock. They wanted $675 for it. Fricking aye. I got my AK (WASR-10, whatever) for a bit under $400 last summer. Not sure if I will ever got another one but definitely won't at these prices.
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