Alternate title: That Escalated Quickly…
I just had a very unpleasant trip to morning chicken chores. And this…
And my fingers have finally stopped hurting.
It started raining sometime in the wee hours and kept it up more-or-less steadily all morning. I left for chicken chores in rain gear and fingerless gloves at about eight. I took the Jeep because it was rain and wind and misery outdoors, and also because I had to deliver five gallons of water to the chickens. Fortunately I filled the jug and put it in the Jeep yesterday afternoon.
Got to the Big Chickenhouse without undue drama; ironically my biggest concern was watching for a flash flood while I was in the wash. Tended chickens, unloaded water, and there was a blast of cold and the rain turned abruptly to snow and then to a lot of snow.
Unfortunately the Jeep’s windshield wipers haven’t worked in years. It would have been a much more comfortable trip home if I’d had that shop in town see to that back in July. By the time I got down Landlady’s ridge, across the wash and up the steep hill on the next ridge I couldn’t see out. I stopped and cleaned off the windshield, found the turn-off to my road, and now the wind was hard on my left. Again with the stopping and cleaning, this time with snow filling the driver seat every time I opened the door, and the windshield almost covered again by the time I got back in and put it in gear. Covering half a mile I had to stop five times; my torso was warm enough but my fingers were past hurting and going numb. Finally made it to the driveway turn-off, which let the Jeep turn its back to the wind for a while so I could make some progress. Easy enough to get to Ian’s turnaround, with no problem except my fingers, and if I’d had a brain in my head I’d have abandoned the Jeep there and walked the rest of the way.
Between the turnaround and the cabin there’s a steep bit. Very steep, and I turned the Jeep’s nose into the wind when I got there and the windshield was instantly opaque again just as I was committed. By now the snow and mud had removed almost all traces of traction; it wasn’t quite as bad as black ice but getting there and I couldn’t say I’d have had perfect control of the Jeep even if I could see where I was. I was trying to slow the Jeep by keeping the wheels pressed into the sides of the ruts but stopping was out of the question and the Jeep was leaning at a very unfamiliar angle and I deeply regretted having a: not gotten out at the turnaround, and b: fallen out of the seatbelt habit. The whole thing probably took 20 seconds going on an hour, and when I was sure I was on the bottom I turned left and had to just sit there and catch my breath for a few moments before leaving the Jeep to see where I was in relation to the driveway.
The snow is still pouring down but the temperature appears to have stabilized. I’m staying in the rest of the day.