I live on a 9% grade hill, which is nothing to sneeze at. I’ve biked up it, run up it, walked up it, sashayed, sauntered, and even, once, slunk up it. I can also drive up it, in the snow and ice, even.
Most unlike the unfortunate souls out there this evening.
It’s Snowpocalypse 2010 in Seattle and the Eastside, and here I am looking out my library picture window onto my main street. It’s a two lane road, with one going “up” and one going “down”, bike lanes on either side, generous sidewalk as well. It’s the main drag between the area arterial and most of the McMansions I live amongst.
You can tell who has AWD or knows how to drive in snow and ice: they go thundering on up (or down) the hill at the usual 25 (30, 35) mph. Then there are those who climb the hill…
…and brake. For no apparent reason.
Then they discover they can’t start again, and the melody of skidding, slipping tires fills the air. It’s not long before this is joined by the merry (!) honking of the horn of the person behind them who, instead of simply driving around them, also brakes. And is stuck.
Inevitably, one or more of the cars involved pull over in a sense of despair, put on their hazard lights, and trudge up the hill. A few are on their phones, making arrangements for someone to retrieve them (presumably) at the top of the hill. As they trudge off into the dark, I hear the familiar slithering sounds of the next round of tires.
The resultant detritus stands at six cars currently, 3 of which are minivans. As of this writing my driveway is not blocked but there are, of course, no guarantees.