Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

October 10th, 2009:

Black Ice!

I feel like a swallowed a boom box. Carol and I had signed up to work at our church’s craft fair today, with me coordinating the used books table, and although it was 27 degrees outside with a heavy frost, we set out about 8:30 AM. Stanwell was not especially slippery, but once we got onto Broadmoor Bluffs, I knew in seconds that I was up against black ice. We got less than a block downhill when the grade increased (and must be close to 10% in spots) and our wheels no longer held the road. Even in 4WD and going no more than 10 MPH, the 4Runner spun 180, narrowly missing a mailbox and stopping just short of slamming into the curb. We just sat there for a few minutes, until we saw a 4WD Beamer backing up Broadmoor Bluffs from further down. (There was nowhere for him to turn around.) He rolled down his window, and told us not to go any further: There were several cars stuck on the steepest part of the road, and although he hadn’t gotten close, it looked like there had been some vehicle-vehicle contact.

So we called the rector and gave him our regrets, at least until the sun comes out, as it is showing absolutely no inclination to do. We crept back up Broadmoor Bluffs, and after we got home (without further incident) just sat on the couch for awhile, hearts pounding.

I ducked out on the front porch just now for a quick look, and see freezing drizzle descending. The sidewalks are now skating rinks. And our little roads are not the worst of it. This is the gnarliest driving weather we’ve ever seen in the six years we’ve lived here. The mountain views are nice, but yikes! Getting here–or getting out–can be a challenge.

Fall? Fall? QTH Fall?

We set a cold record for this date last night, after several days of sleet and snow. Tonight it may get down to 18 degrees here and set another record. This morning we heard that there is now 15″ of snow in North Platte, Nebraska, a favorite town on our well-trodden route from here to Chicago.

I asked the local squirrels what they thought of all this. The squirrels pointed to the well-chewed pine cones all over the sidewalk and scattered across my back deck and said, “Long, cold, and early–cantcha read the signs?” Carol and I have never seen so many gnawed-on pine cones lying around; QBit has brought a few into the house to stash for later. (So much for Evo dog food.)

Summer ended early here, and fall lasted about two weeks. I’m going to try and wake our snow blower from hibernation tomorrow, as we may need it sooner than we thought. Our garage is insulated, and I’m going to try and sort out my fire alarm conflict in the next couple of weeks (before it gets too damned cold to work up in the attic) so that I can start using my attic dipole this winter. Cold nights mean good, quiet propagation on the low bands, even when there aren’t any sunspots. That done, I’m gonna QSO party like it’s 1974, because when I go outside, that’s sure as hell what it feels like.

We’re going to rent Ice Age and Ice Age II to appease the Climate Gods: Hey guys, we’re sorry for claiming that we’re controlling you now. Some of us know better. And…Tennessee would be that way…