Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Winter Travel

Here in Oregon there have been several cases of people getting lost or stuck in the snow. Often these situations end badly. People fail to realize that mother nature can strike with a suddenness that is unbelievable. My mother-in-law used to always tell us to make sure that we have ample food and water aboard whenever we travelled across the state. We always pooh-poohed her concerns because she grew up in an era of bad roads and unreliable cars, but she really knew what she was talking about. We always carry warm blankets in the trunk, but seldom have food supplies with us. I think I could live off my fat for a week or two, but drinking water might be a problem. My wife always makes sure we have a lot of water in the car when we travel so we could be ok.

It's really easy to get into trouble on the roads especially when travelling in unfamiliar territory. A number of years ago we went to Phoenix, AZ for our son's wedding. It was spring break, the end of March, and we decided to take a different route home. We had never visited The Grand Canyon in all our trips to Arizona so this time we went north to Flagstaff and into the Park. After doing the tourist things we continued on our way and spent the night in Page, AZ intending to drive north through Utah to Interstate 84 and then home. The next day we left Page and drove through Kanab and then north on a highway that appeared on our map to parallel I 15. I figured that we could go all the way to I 70 and then over to I 15. After a while it started snowing heavily and the road we were on was soon covered with snow. We decided that the going would be better on I 15, so we turned on to the highway to Cedar City. Soon we were on a road walled in by snow 8 to 10 feet high on either side of the highway with no place to get off or turn around. I stopped in the middle of the road and put on tire chains and we continued on. After a while we met a snow plow coming from Cedar City so we knew the road was open all the way. We were soon over the pass and on the downhill side of the mountains on our way to Cedar City. Everything worked out fine, but we could have just as easily gotten stuck in the snow and stayed there until we were found frozen in our car. What we did was really foolish and it could have ended badly. What you see on a road map is not always what you get on the ground. I guess the moral is be prepared for any eventuality.

No comments: