Sneh

The average snow-fall in Olympia is 12″ (~30cm).

Over an entire year.

Over the last week, outside our house we had about 8″ (~20cm) (which we cleared from our drive), then a day later another 12″ – and then another ~4″ (~10cm)…in the 2 hours after we cleaned off the 12″. The road outside our rental has been more or less impassable unless you have a large vehicle with 4 wheel drive… probably with chains on. Or real winter tyres.

Being a tiny little road, while it isn’t a private road, it doesn’t even manage to make it onto Olympia’s “we’ll plough this when we get round to it” list.

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Of course, since our average snowfall is 30cm, and it usually rains immediately afterwards, we’d not previously bothered with such niceties as chains, or winter tyres for the i3. Why would we?

I mean this was the extreme of last year’s snow fall:

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Unsurprisingly, even with the dreadful “all season” tyres on the i3 it was still drivable, if somewhat skittish.

It turns out that 20cm of snow, rear wheel drive, and tyres intended for a sunny day in California do not for good progress make. See, after that first snowfall we had a power-cut. Now there are many good things about our rental apartment. It’s clean, it’s got adequate heating, it’s cheap and our landlords are great.

However, insulation is not one of its strongest points. Nor is… well, nor is having any alternative sources of heat. The power goes out, and the electric heaters go off, and it gets chilly…rapidly. So at about 6am the power went out. We crawled out of bed, used some of the stored hot water for a shower, and concluded that we should try for getting downtown for breakfast. Now, what we should have done is thrown the Rav charger in the back of the Rav, and then we could have charged at our house. But instead we thought we’d try for the i3.

Amazingly we made it to the first corner before the i3 got thoroughly and embarrassingly stuck. Digging it out didn’t work because it was, essentially, grounded out on snow.

Thankfully our landlord has a little Ford tractor and came to save us…

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The worst bit of this was that the battery connectors on the tractor had corroded (he doesn’t use it often), so the tractor stalled out at one point and… it took quite a lot of work and 3 batteries to get it restarted. But he managed to drag us back to the driveway, and we hid in their house to get warm. Then just as they were going to run us to meet our in-laws so we could stay with them until the power was back on… the power came back on.

Since then we have made it over to the house once – heading out in the Rav which does at least have “all weather” tyres (which are different to all season, for those wondering, with more of a ‘good in winter’ bent than all seasons).

It tromped over to the house just fine, which is good because it allowed us to get some of the weight off our gutters…

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Lookie, more sneh

Thankfully, it turns out that our new house is on an emergency route – so the street is ploughed fairly much immediately. Our drive, however, isn’t. Still, the Rav managed it just fine. We also managed to get one piece of drywall up.

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We only managed the one because we had a few things to do – like, for example, buying snow chains. Which we now at least have one set of. Irritatingly, they’re the sort where you need to drive the car onto them before installing them, which means they’re much more ‘think about before going’ than the ones you can whip on if you’re stuck. But beggars (and in this case, people who are ill-prepared for 60cm of snow) can’t be choosers – and they actually had the Rav’s size in stock.

More irritatingly, the i3’s wheels are not snow-chainable. You can’t get them at all. Neither can you get snow socks, which would be fine for what we need. So next year, we will have to fork out for a set of rims and winter tyres. Or at least winter tyres. I’m inclined to do the winter rims, though, so that we can just throw them on and off at home if so desired. I forget that I used to have time for that kind of stuff, what with the house sucking up all the time.

We were going to head out yesterday. Got the Rav all warmed up and ready to head over. But there was a post van stuck blocking our road. It had been stuck for at least an hour when we went out, and it took another hour (and our landlord asking them the obvious question of “have you tried towing it from this fixed point” (which I’d assumed they’d done, never assume)) before they managed to pull it out.

Although to be fair to them, they’d also emptied it of mail and transferred all that weight into the pick-up they pulled it out with – which, I’d guess, helped. Anyhow, by that time and realising that we probably want the snowchains on to get out of our road, but not once we were out of our road (irritatingly), we decided it wasn’t really worth the hassle of going over there.

The plan, such as it is, is for us to head out in a bit and do some more drywalling. Not convinced the i3 is going anywhere though, possibly not until next week, which is a pain in the arse. I suppose, theoretically, we could probably tow it out with the Rav, maybe? But I’m not sure that our 2WD Rav could tow out the weight of the i3… it’s not really meant to tow at all.

I like snow, I do, a lot. And it could definitely have come at a worse time. But really… it’s lost us 3 precious days of house work. Two full days (the weekend) and two half days… which is painful. Especially as we’re so close to getting the ceiling finished.

Author: KateE

Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at pyoor.org...