I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.
By: joealaska , 6:35 AM GMT on March 06, 2013
So the last big storm was last Friday night. Saturday I had to dig out the Tahoe, where it had become stuck as I made a dive into the driveway.
Next morning it was obviously entrenched in the drift, with a drift on one side that had formed overnight. I was only about 5 feet from the CLEARED road. The Tahoe is 4 wheel drive. Piece of cake. I started shoveling.
Meanwhile the crew was busy at the warehouse, and I was getting calls as I shoveled. Work went on as scheduled. The shoveling was unscheduled. I dug out each tire to make rocking room. The first attempt I did not move one inch. I continued to shovel around the edge of the vehicle, then re-tried movement. NADA. After awhile everything was pretty well cleared out, with the tires balanced on foundations of snow. It became frustrating, as it was not clear what was still holding me up. Turns out it was the obvious... SNOW.
At one point as I was clearing snow my shovel hit the front left tire. It spun slowly, with no resistance. It was not even touching the ground. Yes, the car was stuck at an odd angle. Not unsimilar to the posture of a cheetah turning to catch a gazelle running by. Or something like that.
Evidently when I DOVE in during the tempest, I had hit deeper snow and surfed up on it. The bulk of the vehicle was sitting on a solid base of snow under the chassis. I gave up and called for help.
One of the guys came by in our new four wheel drive van (Nice). He backed the van up to the Tahoe and we strapped them together. It just took a slight tug to grant me freedom. We stopped in the middle of the road and unstrapped. As we did so we noticed that the van, in PARK and braked,was sliding down the roads. No tires spinning, just sliding on the slick hill. The hill I slid and fell on three times a few weeks prior in another storm.
The same hill I had my scariest moments during a true white out a couple years ago. Where I wrapped my van up against that yellow pole below my house, as I could not drive up that same hill. I backed down and tried to park off the road, against that pole. When I tried to walk up the hill, 200 feet away, I kept falling in the BLIZZARD. In the road. Wondering if some other idiot trying to come downhill in the white would run over me and consider me just another speed bump. It was so surreal it was funny.
Instead of JOEALASKA, I would also like SIR REAL as a pseudonym.
But I digress.
The big melt has occurred as usual. Big piles of snow, but bare ground elsewhere. Just in time for the next big storm to start the cycle anew.
OSDIANNA is right on top of it. Big storm due tomorrow night, Weds. GNU GUY trying to fly out tomorrow afternoon. That three hour trip to Anchorage may take one hour with the tail wind.
They are calling for 60 mph winds and 12 inches of snow. The 12 inches scares me. That wind can make big drifts with a few inches of snow, with 12 inches it could get interesting. The storm will last through Thursday, setting a nice stage for our BIG FRIDAY. It could be the storm of the winter. Let’s see what really happens in 24 hours...
KULLUK arrived again today. Mid-day in sunshine. I was swamped, as were my entire crew. We had a huge order from another big boat. I monitored MARINE TRACKER on the computer watching the arrival of Kulluk. Kulluk did not have on its transponder, so it did not appear on the screen. There is no crew on board. But it was hard to miss that group of SIX tugs moving in slow motion past Hog Island. I waited until the last moment and took a 20 minute break for my day off.
I drove down Airport Beach Road and found a vantage point near the entrance to Captains Bay. Just like ten other cars. It was very calm. When I was filming, the ONLY motion was the slight movement of the water in the bay. The entourage was in slow motion. One tug towing. Two tugs pushing against the Kulluk, and every one else free styling.
Now I can look up and see Kulluk back at its dock at OSI out my window.
And all is good with the world.
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