Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Winter Driving as bad as I've seen

I left Cedar City, UT yesterday at about 4:30PM. The wind had died down a little and I decided to chance it at least as far as Kanab so I headed east on SR14. I saw the flashing sign that said the road would be impassable to trucks several miles ahead. So what? I'm not a "truck".

About 8 miles from Cedar City I encountered a pretty good snowfall but nothing spectacular. I kept going. A couple of miles later, the snow was coming harder and the wind was blowing it around pretty good. Also, the road was climbing pretty steeply. I kept going. At about 12 miles out, I put my rig in 4WD...and kept going. Not long after that, it was snowing and blowing so hard that I was having a hard time seeing the road in front of me but there was no place to turn my big camper rig around so...I kept going.

The visibility was almost zero, the snow and wind hammering me and still no place to turn around. Things seemed to be leveling off a little as i came around a turn and found a Coke truck parked in a "wide spot" on the westbound side. I stopped and made sure he was ok and asked about what was ahead. He told mt it was worse but
I might be able to turn around a couple of miles ahead. I kept going.

At the top of the grade there were several cars stopped, including a Utah Highway Patrol car. the Patrolman told me that there really wasn't much room to turn around anywhere within about 5 miles ahead but that I had already covered some of the worst of it, other than visibility. I kept going.

Soon, I was at about 5MPH, low gear, 4WD and peering through the windshield, trying to see the tracks of the last idiot who had gone this way. My lane was blown full and when I met other cars I had to bust through drifts to give them room. The windshield wipers where clogging up and I had to keep reaching out and banging the wet snow off of the drivers side wiper. Definitely no place to turn around so...I kept going.

Finally, I came down in elevation enough to be able to get almost to 25MPH and even shifted into 2nd gear. The drivers side wiper shredded so I had about a two inch strip to see through; still following the last guys tracks. I just hoped he knew where he was going!

I was thrilled to see the junction with US89 and an open Conoco station. When I told the guy there that I had just come over from Cedar City he kind of stopped what he was doing and looked at me incredulously. "You came over 14?" he said. I said: "Yeah and not only did I come over 14 just now but I was driving that", pointing to my pickup/camper outside. I asked him how things were from there to Kanab and he just laughed. "If you could drive over 14 in that today, you can definitely make Kanab". They didn't have any windshield wipers so I switched the passengerside/drivers side wipers and headed south. That part of the adventure over.

I'm still wondering if SOMEbody doesn't want me to get to Mesa for some reason. I'm in Tuba City, AZ right now, getting ready to keep on heading south. Who knows what will be next?

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