“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Friday, December 6, 2013

Operation "Recover Liberty"

I am sitting in my house, on top of a mountain in the Smokies listening to thunderous rain . Sometimes the rain makes so much noise falling on the roof I can't hear the music playing on my computer.

I'm trying to coordinate a rescue and recovery (on the miniscule family scale) using cell phones.

At 3:30 this afternoon, my son got off work down on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. It was already too late to make it home because the ice was falling hard and sticking to everything.  The roads were going bad fast, visibility in the snow was falling to below safe levels, and the Ohio side of the river had already started closing the bridges.

So he called me and we agreed he would head for the nearest motel, get off the road for tonight, and hope that the city and state got the roads cleared sometime tomorrow.

Unfortunately, before he could reach the hotel, he slid off the road into the ditch. This was about four this afternoon.

I called his sister, she called our road side service, and the wrecker was "on the way" with an ETA of one hour. I knew this was B.S. because I know the wreckers take the closest jobs so they can get more of them. They make hay while the sun shines, so to speak.  It is now seven thirty, and no sign of the wrecker. When my daughter calls them they say they have been delayed.  So, my son has been sitting in the car by the side of the road for three hours now.

He has everything you need for an event like that, it's just boring and I think sitting by the road when people are sliding left and right is probaby not a good idea. I just got off the phone with the hotel, making sure his reservation is guarenteed, because it would be  a real disappointment to finally make it there and be told there was no room in the Inn.

The big lesson of this is that even if cell phones are expensive, they are essential.  Also, never trust a wrecker service under any circumstances ( I already knew this but I doubt my son did.)  Always carry your credit card on you,  always keep a cell phone charger in the car.  Don't try to get out and dig your way out when people are sliding by left and right, you might get squashed.  Better to have them hit the car than hit you.

I hope they pick him up soon.  He sounds really beat.  Once he's at the hotel, he can have a hot shower,  eat a good meal, and get some rest.  His little Jeep Liberty is a good car, but it is not meant for these kinds of conditions.  When my son told me earlier in the week that his coworkers were putting snow tires on their cars, I rediculed the idea because the Weather Channel indicated this would not be that bad in his town.  I guess I have some lessons to relearn.

12 comments:

  1. I have a book in each of my bags (BOB and GHB). I love crossword puzzles so I have added a couple of small ones to each bag along with a deck of cards.All dollar store specials. I have picked up some of those USB universal chargers at the dollar store. My Kindle and Samsung cell phones have the same type of charger so one cable is in the house and one in the car.
    Sorry it won't help your son this trip but it might help someone else in the future.

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  2. Jamie, I'm sure that some time passing gear would be appropriate. I'd never given it any thought until you mentioned it. We have a dollar store here, and I have the same kind of phone my son does. I will see if I can pick up a charger there for him.

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  3. oh Harry - we just got home and i see that you have an update post up...i am so sorry to hear about this situation with Glenn! i am gone now to read your update and hope that it is filled with better news!

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, sorry I just got this comment. i hadn't gone back and reviewed this post with everything else going on. It all ended ok.

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  4. I don't know the whole story but I slide into the ditch all the time around here. I have sand bags in my bed. They add weight which helps me keep traction BUT I also cut them open and spread them behind my tires when I got into the ditch. I can only do this when I'm not buried in a drift. Food for thought. Damon locke

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    1. damon - that is really good advice that we all follow here! great comment!

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    2. That's not a bad idea. I think his situation was such that even if he got back on the road there was no way he was getting home with the bridges over the river closed. The traction you referred to would have been a big help, though.

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  5. He got stuck in the ditch? Full on high centered or just a 2 wheels down in there? Chains matter a lot. We own a mid sized all wheel drive SUV not so different from the Liberty, it is almost unstoppable in snow or ice. Then again to be fair after growing up in the PNW and having Germany as a duty station Wifey and I are used to driving on wet, slick roads which matters a lot.

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  6. If you got snow or ice this weekend and big empty parking lot. It's a great time to go out and learn how your car wants to slide and learn how to recover it from a slide. My Kia mini-van does not have anti-lock brakes but my last car did so it took a bit of time to remember how to pump the brakes again. Some vehicles want to spin cookies and some just have the back end slide out and can still stay fairly straight though they do take up a bit of another lane. You can practice how quick your vehicle can stop at different speeds and see how much of a buffer you will need to stop. Best thing to do is slow down and take your time when it gets icy. I know others will pass you like you are backing up but it is best to take your time if you are unsure of your traction and control.

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  7. I will suggest to Glenn that if the opportunity arises he got across the road from his apartment and practice maneuvering the car through the snow. Personally it seems to me that trying to drive on ice is a bad idea. Even if you are skilled some individual who is not will get you. But driving in snow doesn't have to be dangerous. Learning how his vehicle behaves under those conditions would be useful and give him some valuable and relatively safe experience.

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    1. Sorry about showing up as Redmond Lewis. That's the moniker I use on my brothers blog. I must have been reading that one, come back here, and not switched accounts.

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  8. Harry I agree if you don't have to drive it's best to stay home, but those darned employers often demand you show up at work if you want to get paid! A lot of places sell a 50-70 pound bag of sand here in Idaho to add a bit of weight over the back tires and you can use it to gain traction if just in a slippery spot. Bags cost $4.00-$10.00.

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