Another Friday and the start of the weekend beckons. I’m also feeling a need to be more creative on my gratitude posts as so many blogging buddies have similar things for which they are thankful. While great minds could be said to think alike, I like some originality at times, too.
Today I am thankful for studded tires.
Yep, you read that right! Up here in Alaska, you can have studded tires on your vehicle from mid-September to mid-May.
Having lived in climates with snow for years now, I can honestly say that this is the first place where studded tires are allowed.
Actually, they should say highly encouraged, if not required, as the snow removal and road maintenance leaves something to be desired. To put things in perspective, Stephen and I met while I was attending graduate school at the University of Rochester. That’s in Rochester, New York where the snow flies quite a bit, what with Buffalo being their neighbor.
Someone up here explained it to me like this…
The person in charge of the snow removal crews looks out and says, “Hey, It’s snowing enough to need plowing.” They then look at the map and schedule to see which area of Anchorage Municipality is up next to have their roads plowed. “Okay, looks like South Anchorage got plowed out last time, so today we’ll head over to East Anchorage. Those people up in Eagle River and Chugiak are just out of luck this go around.”
Now, they do come through the main arteries, but I’m talking residential and other side roads. Someone chucking down a bit of grit (no salt in use on roads up here!) just doesn’t quite cut it for making roads ready for driving. They are awful for driving and if we hadn’t just eaten up a huge portion of our remaining savings account on studded tires I might never leave the house during the winter.
Last spring (well, March and April is spring in other locations….) I occasionally had hubby drive the minivan so I could have the 4WD vehicle to get to an essential appointment. Otherwise, we just hung around the house. After doing a little slip slide down the hill getting to a field trip when the roads were slick, I thought we might be ready for hibernation time here at the O house. Hubby decided we needed to be safe and I couldn’t be cooped up with the boys all winter, so studded tires it was.
Can I say that the van now handles as well as if not better than his big ole’ 4WD SUV?!? And, that was his consensus as well. Not that it will never slip about while driving. I had that reminder as icy roads caused a little slipping when trying to accelerate out of a stop at the light. Good thing I drive like an old lady in all this winter weather, so it just made noise and didn’t have me careening into another vehicle.
Our 12 year old Sienna with studded tires will be out and about keeping us from going stir crazy this winter. You can spot me as the woman forsaking any resemblance of fashion in an attempt to stay warm and not fall flat on her booty. Next to studded tires, my new “must have” accessory are the ice cleats for my shoes.