Winter travel fun

I went to my family’s cottage this past weekend, and I really picked the worst one to go on. Road conditions were fine when I left Friday night, but I ran into lake-effect snow just south of Parry Sound. It was near white-out conditions. I could see the sides of the road and so avoid them, but my trouble was reading the signs for my exit. All the signs were snow-covered.

Once left the main highway for the regional highway I didn’t see any other cars on the road. A clear sign and one I probably should have heeded. The regional highway hadn’t been plowed, but there were ruts to follow and visibility improved the farther I went from Parry Sound. Once I turned on the road to our cottage, however, there weren’t even ruts. My car, a 1997 Escort didn’t have enough ground clearance to clear the top of the snow and so it plowed through rather than over it. Really light powdery snow, but I had to go slow so it wouldn’t come flying up over the hood. It did clog the air intake and a few times I had to stop and clear that and the headlights. I only stopped on the downward slope of hills and I still almost got stuck when I did. By five kilometers of that I could smell hot coolant from under the hood.

I had a few moments where I thought, “so this is where I leave the car and hike the rest of the way”. But there was more the thought of the inconvenience than any sense of impending danger. I could have walked to the cottage. And I had snow pants, heavy parka, big boots, so I probably wouldn’t have had trouble with frostbite or anything.
When I finally arrived at the cottage I had to pull on snow pants and my heavy boots while still in my car to be able to climb the snowbank to the front door.

Sunday, coming home were more snow squalls north of Barrie, though not as bad as the ones on Friday. But south of Barrie they had Highway 400 closed because of a huge pile-up, and I had to take the back roads home. At least I wasn’t part of the pile-up.

Don’t think I’ll be doing that trip again soon.

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