Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Snow Show

Happy New Year to all,
It was 2 (two) degrees on my drive to work this AM, but has "warmed" to a tolerable? 17 by noon. The news said January was the coldest month in Maine. The facilities director at the University said "perhaps", but look out for February too! My passenger door lock is hopelessly frozen, and probably will remain so for the duration of winter. Any riders will have to sit in the back seat like a taxi. It will unlock only when temps approach 32. I notice my tires get a "flat spot" on them when sitting overnight in these temperatures. When I start out in the morning, I get a little "thump, thump, thump" for about a mile until they warm up sufficiently to become round again. I am also making it a point not to let my gas tank get below a quarter just in the off chance I get stuck in a snow bank somewhere and need to run the engine to stay warm and I always carry my cell phone. The car slips and slides, but with experience one can keep it to a minimum and even anticipate where it might loose traction. The salt from the roads makes an awful mess on your car and with Stan's good advice, I occasionally have the undercarriage washed at the car wash, something I never knew existed. There are virtually no older cars on the road and I suppose it is because they don't last long from being rusted out from the salt. All this adds to the higher expense of living in Maine.

Snow removal is a minor industry here. There are plows of several different configurations, sanding trucks, and salting trucks. They ply the roads all night and day when snow is falling, and for a long while after too. Ever heard of "snow bans"? Towns (and even the University) have restrictions on street and parking lot parking on snow nights so the plows can clear without the problem of going around cars. They just tow cars that are in the way, so people are very aware of the system to avoid paying for ticketing and towing. All this snow removal infrastructure must be another reason taxes are among the highest in the nation.

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