Ted’s essays

somebody moved Darby to Grangeville when I wasn’t looking

I haven’t dealt with snow at this level since I lived on the wet side of the Bitterroot Mountain Range. As wet air moves east into mountain ranges that make it go up the moisture is wrung out of it. That is meteoroligical fact from a century of experience.

The west sides of the Sierras, Wasach and Bitterroots have all shown me this in real life, real time. Thus no real surprise a dozen years ago when I had to shovel 8 to 12 inches of snow off my sidewalk and driveway in Grangeville, Idaho, at the foot of the mountians dividing north Idaho from Montana.

At a youthful 58 years old, removing 12 inches of snow on my sidewalks and driveway with a snow shovel was no big deal. A dozen years older and triple the surface area requiring my attention made A LOT of difference.

Fortunately I now have TOOLS.

My neighborhood does not have young people eager to shovel old folks’ snow for a few bucks. We are on our own. So I prepare appropriately … aka: TOOLS.

I try my best to “let the horsepower do the work”, but there is no dodging that it takes some muscle to make this machine move the snow. After an hour and a half, I was used up. Fortunately so was the full tank of gasoline. I will hit it again tomorrow. Another tank of gas – another bodily abuse.

And then August will come.

We will win.

Feb 25 blowing 14 inches from Ted Dunlap on Vimeo.

I wrote the above yesterday. Overnight the geoengineers added another eight or ten inches on top of what I had yet to blow away and covering again what I had dealt with.

Whew! This is getting tiresome.

Darby schools, no strangers to significant snowfall, cancelled classes Monday. Yesterday afternoon the robocall came in that Tuesday is also no go for school. Bitterroot College in Hamilton had their robot inform me not to bother coming to town for my Pastels class. The city of Hamilton is publicizing a list of streets where parking is disallowed so they can move a mountain of snow out of town.

I am remembering Grangeville plowing the snow to the middle of their streets during storms. We had to go around the block to cross the streets sometimes. Then a large front loader and fleet of dump trucks would haul it away between storms.

Then there was the blizzard that closed the highway across the Camas Prarie. Nobody told me, so I drove my pickup to the prison at the old NORAD facility on Cottonwood Butte. Yeah, it was kind-of dicey with white sky, white road, white everything and the pickup dancing a bit, but I was young and foolish, had a great truck, excellent tires, and am a very good driver.

I was the only swingshift Corrections Officer to make the trip. The dayshift crew and I stayed until a borrowed snow cat brought the relief crew up the next day and took the weary dayshift crew back down the mountain.

I drove my pickup home.

A couple days later Idaho hired a truck mounted blower to re-open the road to the butte.