08 January 2007

The wind, the snow

Wind was forecast all weekend. Bad in some areas, very bad in others. We decided against skiing at Winter Park (official ski area site) on Saturday. This turned out to be a >very good move< since a large avalanche hit Rt. 40 near Berthoud Falls (Yahoo Map) about 10:30am Saturday. No one was killed but a few cars were tumbled down the slide path and their occupants sent to the hospital. If we had skied, we would have to drive all the way around through Kremmling to get home - and there were whiteouts that direction. Yep, we were lucky.

So far Boulder wasn't windy - even by Sunday. Sunday night was forecasted for 105 mph winds. But it was still nice so we drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park. A little sledding, a nice hike around Bear Lake etc. Well ... it was very windy up there. Our hike was 3 minutes long and ended as Julia started blowing away like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. Mia caught her and we carried her back to the car. We found a scenic pullout for our bag lunch and enjoyed the view of Longs Peak and Mt. Lady Washington. (Click on image for full effect.)

It was also a good day to visit the new Fall River Visitor entrance. Normally we never do this stuff but when the wind blows ... Julia had fun trying on the pioneer dresses. We headed home and the drive had already started to drift. I was proud to get the Focus up after the 3rd attempt. It turns out I should have left it at the bottom of the drive.

The freight trains visited Sunday night. I knew we were hosed. That little 10" of snow we received on Thursday .. and we had neatly shoveled aside .. well it was DRIFTING bigtime.

By this morning, the drifted snow had setup as concrete in our drive. It was between 10" and 35" thick. About 20lbs per grain scoop full. (That's what I use for a shovel.) Normally we'd say screw it and pick away at it for a few days until we could get the Focus down. Today, though, was Julia's first swim lesson at the Rec center. We couldn't miss that.

Mia and I shoveled the 50 foot section that had drifted 35" deep. Then I chained up the truck and let 'er rip downhill. Pretty amazing what kind of torque a 1000lb diesel engine can provide when it's sitting on chains. Not much problem going down. Coming back up was like riding a bronc. The truck was jumping all over. Mia took a picture before action was even good. Still shows some flying snow though and the driver loving it. (Maybe the Dodge boys will sponsor me after seeing this - Hah!) Note that the air dam is no longer under the front bumper. I removed it before the snow could rip it off. Only a flatlander would design something like that.

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