Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

To those who said Kansas wasn't cold in winter:



So, I grew up mostly in Minnesota, but I don't recall this many days of below zero. Last night, it was -10 (that's Fahrenheit, folks), plus a decade or more with windchill. Same for a few days past.

Some fun facts:
1. Riding a scooter -- providing you can start it (Kij's will start), and providing you can drive it (I can reach a full 12mph!) -- is a frickin' nightmare! So, let's say it's zero or so. Add 20mph windchill (going downhill). I felt like my face was going to fall off.

2. The Saab, with its 210,000 miles and accumulated damage, was beginning to look abandoned on the street in front of our house, what with the inch of snow all over it (too cold to melt it off, of course). So I cleverly decide to drive it to the bank at midnight and then park it behind our house when I return. Simple, right? Well, remember, this state has frickin' ice storms when it's 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside (WTF?). Then it stays well below zero for a while. And snows, to ensure the ice won't transpirate.

Well, the good ol' Saab does start, though the noise from under the hood sounds more like a bucket of rusty bells than an engine, and the defrost does blow air... but it takes me, like, 20 minutes to chip a big enough hole in the windshield ice so I can see a little tunnel of road ahead of me. I decide that's crazy, so pull over half a block ahead and resume chipping. This is not like Minnesota windshield-clearning; this is like trying to separate flakes of diamond from a rough stone. Seems the ice down here atomically bonds with glass. Jesu on a popsicle stick!

After another 10 minutes or so of that (yes, now my hand feels like it's broken, and I'm both freezing my ass off and sweating from the effort), I now have a pair of M1-A1 tank-sized peephole through which I can look straight ahead, and similarly teeny holes to each side so I can see the rear-view mirrors. The rear window was hopeless, even with the defrost running there, but the windshield defroster did help break the atomic bonds on the windshield (at least for a few square inches).

Driving through town like that was a joy. Had to put my nose right up against the glass in order to turn a corner in relative safety. A passing piggy paid a lot of attention to me, so after I deposit my check at the ATM, I pull over and resume chipping. I'm able to clear a good square foot on the rear window now (little melted lines over the defrost wires), and join the windshield peepholes. I start laughing at this point.

I go home and park the iced machine beside the Ford wagon, which (of course) is completely clear of ice... but only on the sunward side. Much bigger windshield and rear window, both coated. I'll wait a while before trying to drive it.

So, don't believe anyone who tells you some place's weather "isn't too bad."



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