Monday, November 22, 2010

Freezing rain has turned Fairbanks into a NO DRIVE zone

How bad are the roads, you ask? So slick that a Subaru with winter tires going 15 miles per hour can't come to a stop.

My first sign to turn around and not even attempt Ballaine Hill was sliding across Ballaine Road as I  made a low-speed right turn on to it.  But no, I thought driving cautiously and slow might be alright.

My second sign to turn around and not try Ballaine Hill, even slowly, came before the crest of the hill, when I asked a woman pulled over on the should if she needed a lift.  Her car couldn't make it up the hill, she said, so she had called for a lift home.

By the time I noticed and paid attention to the third sign not to attempt Ballaine Hill even at a near crawl -- the third sign being all the other vehicles off the road below me -- I was already sliding downhill, ABS fluttering away, into the opposite lane of traffic, trying to gain some control over my direction and not slide into any of the other cars off the road.  This was all happening very slowly, mind you, but that was little comfort.

Visualize, for a moment, a curling stone.  You know how it comes to a slow, graceful spiral as it nears the end of the lane?  That was my trusty, sure-footed little Soob. By sheer luck and maybe some decent steering, the Soob gently nosed into a mini snow berm on the shoulder. On my side of the road.  Facing downhill. In theory, I could have tried to get down the hill.  Problem was, there was no guarantee I wouldn't hit all the other cars half-in/half-out of the lane.  And there was no guarantee I wouldn't end up spiraling into the opposite lane of traffic again.  Which was a far sight better than most of the other 8-10 vehicles off the road around me.  Most are going to require tow trucks which are going to be hard to come by today.

I managed to get all of the Soob on to the shoulder and walked back home on the snowmachine trail by the side of the road.  As I was walking I watched two cars crest the hill going way too fast, lose control and almost hit the Soob and vehicles coming up from the other side.  

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