Thursday, January 11, 2007

SusanE was surprised that I rarely use my engine block heater. The even bigger shocker is that I didn't own studded tires until a few days ago! Two years ago I drove up to AK from Los Angeles in December (and even found a rider to accompany me from Craig's List--that's a whole other story!) I picked up snow tires on the way in Oregon, which I sold when I got to AK because it was such a mild winter and I didn't feel that I needed them. Last winter was generally easy as well, but this winter it's been snowing like crazy. The Anchorage paper said it's the fourth snowiest winter on record. That still probably wouldn't have motivated me to get tires--I'm one of those people in the slow lane on icy days on the Glenn Highway going 45MPH --there's a whole line of us usually--but I actually got a TICKET for going too slow! And it's no joke--$110 and 4 points! I'm actually going to try to fight it, as I was going 40 MPH on Jan. 3rd which was basically whiteout weather in Wasilla. It's not like I was going 15MPH! Unfortunately, I was on the Palmer-Wasilla highway, which is only a two laner, and I had a line of cars behind me a mile long, according to the officer. I still don't think I should be penalized for driving safely in terrible winter weather but it did motivate me to get some beautiful new studded tires. I'll bring the receipt for the tires to my court date to show that I did do something to improve the situation after the fact, maybe that will help. The officer didn't say I should have sped up, he merely said I should have pulled over. Easier said than done in foggy icy weather! If you live in this state you know that there are ditched and totaled cars all over the place during a winter storm. The officer actually warned me that many Palmer drivers are easily brought to road rage and I don't want to get blown away by one of them, which I found amusing. Anyway, I know the studs will, if nothing else, improve my winter driving confidence. And for a good price, too! Johnson wanted almost $500 but I found them in a smaller, less known place for $380. Just in time, too--I'm driving to Wasilla tomorrow to be a handler for the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race. The road from Anchorage to Glenallen is extremely curvy and there's lots of cliffs so I'm happy to have the studs! About the pics--I especially enjoy the trees during winter--the improbably curvy ones, the tiny ones bursting from the snow and the stumps with precarious piles of snow on top!


Blogger SusanE said...

Ontario just made studded tires legal again. I'm giving serious thought to them.

I take it you notice a big difference with them. Worth the money I guess.

-27C tonight in Kenora. Good chance I would need to plug in the block heater to get my car started in the morning. But I'm planning on staying home tomorrow and going dog sledding. Friday is a day off (sort of).

5:38 PM

Blogger Valette said...

If you are driving in Alaska and have a line of five or more cars behind you, you are required by law to pull over and let them pass. That is why you got the ticket, not because you were driving slow but because you were holding up traffic.

7:17 PM

Blogger laura g. said...

I didn't realize it's an actual law-- I guess it will be hard to fight then. And yeah, Susane, it is a big difference, especially up icy steep driveways! Oh and sorry it's Susane and not Susan E! Have fun tomorrow!

11:22 PM

Anonymous Kathie said...

Good luck fighting the ticket ... and good luck with the dog mushing.

8:37 AM

Blogger Molly said...

I thought the pulling-over-to-let-other-drivers-pass was only for motor homes in the summertime! there are far too many bored cops in palmer and wasilla, and I don't think I've ever driven on the palmer-wasilla highway without having cars stack up behind me even though I was going the speed limit. i think you might be able to successfully fight the ticket if there was bad weather at the time. tell the judge you were the guide car and people were following behind you -- just like you were a lighthouse. :-)

8:22 PM

Blogger laura g. said...

I like that excuse, Molly! I really do think those cars behind me didn't mind, it was that kind of weather and dark!

6:20 PM


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