Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Slaloming with Harriet

Alright! I'm ready to try to talk about my weekend. Although the material is good, I remain unsure about whether or not I possess the stamina to do the subject justice, but, at the very least, I can share the bare bones outline.

As you know, we had company on the weekend. Whenever we have company, we like to order a pie from the local convenience store/gas station at the hub of Glen Alda (pop. 11). On Saturday afternoon, I picked up the pie. No problem — easy as pie — so far!

Because the weather has been quite cold here lately, I decided to take Harriet (our chariot) on an slightly extended spin to thoroughly warm her before leaving her to sit through another long night, exposed to the frigid air.

In future years, should we plan to be here for a protracted period of time, I will have a block heater installed because Harriet surely moaned and groaned when trying to start up after a few of those bitter, long nights. Just a few hundred miles away, our home climate is milder enough that no one there seriously thinks of installing a block heater, but up here, anyone who leaves their car outdoors definitely should.

Regardless, when I said that I decided to take Harriet for a spin, I was not intending to be literal. Unfortunately, it shortly became literal. I took her along a less-frequented local road. The slope of the road was downward. The road, unbeknownst to me at the time, was icy. The road was winding. The road was a lot of things, none of which were particularly conducive to safety: particularly in my state of mind, which was quite carefree and unconcerned at the time. In short, I was travelling a might too speedily for the conditions.

The road bent downward to the right, but Harriet skidded on a course to the left, directly toward the snowbanked side. I remembered: "Turn in the direction of the skid." I did and promptly found myself careening right toward the opposite snowbank. Once more I turned the wheel in the direction of the skid; once again Harriet responded by swooping — now toward the left bank: the problem being that each swoop (or slalom) became wider and wilder than the previous.

I was in a quandary. Although my foot was already off the gas pedal, Harriet's speed seemed to be increasing exponentially (although I'm sure that was an illusion perpetrated by the wild, out-of-control careening). Harriet has ABS brakes, but I knew that they wouldn't deploy in time to keep me on the narrow road when I was perpetually pointed toward one looming embankment or another.

The fourth swoop did Harriet and me in. We did a complete one-eighty, and plunged deeply into what had previously been the right bank but was now the left. By this time, I was no longer trying to compensate by steering; I had surrendered to the fates. Although I never had cause to really fear for my own safety, I knew that Harriet and I would end up in a predicament, and we did.

Being a typical Canadian, I was totally unprepared: no shovel, no rope, no blanket! But I knew that I could walk home in less than a half hour. The significant cold didn't concern me because, at the very least, I had the wisdom to dress appropriately.

I began to try to free the wheels with the only instrument at my disposal — a windshield scraper. Useless! Soon, three snowmobilers passed by and stopped to help. They couldn't budge the car, but I begged a lift home, and they were glad to oblige.

It was my maiden voyage on a snowmobile. I hunkered behind the driver who, I must say, was doing his best to take it easy on the old , nervous gaffer scrunched up behind him. Therefore, he was quite concerned when I fell off. I dusted off both myself and the small shred of dignity that I was able to muster and proclaimed myself fit and ready to proceed. He offered one bit of advice: "Lean opposite the tilt." So, if we were banking left, I should lean left so that I wouldn't fall off the right ... as I had just done in such splendid form.

Permit me to do some snipping and to bring this to a conclusion.

My car was in an embankment, and I had fallen off a snowmobile, but I was still in one piece and not much the worse for wear. After obtaining a shovel and working doggedly for an hour, I was able to free the front wheels: a fruitless effort because, once dug out, the wheels were off the ground. Spinning them until doomsday wouldn't get me out. We eventually arranged to be towed out of the embankment, and Harriet and I got ourselves home under our own steam. Harriet is fine apart from a few broken pieces of plastic fender, which will, doubtlessly, cost sixty thousand dollars (give or take) to replace.

There's more to the story, including a flat tire (the next day), and the fixing of same (the day after that), but I'll let Cuppa tell all rest in her blog, which I recommend to you if you desire to read the rest of the story. For, I am done.


1 comment:

karla said...

What an adventure! Thank goodness you are alright!

But it just begs the question... what ever did happen to the pie?.....