Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rules of the Road

This is my first winter while living in the country.  And not just any winter, but a North Dakota prairie winter.

I knew that moving to the farm would require some adapting to the elements, and after two large snow storms this week (one being an all-out blizzard), I am putting some of my new winter survival skills into practice.

Since I grew up in Minnesota, I am not a stranger to winter and snow.  However, I lived in the suburbs where all of the streets were typically plowed by morning.  I don't think we had had more than a handful of "snow days" the entire time I was in grade school.

I went to college at NDSU in Fargo, where I spent four (and a half) winters walking to class while having my face froze off by the arctic winds.  I didn't really need to drive anywhere, and if I did the roads were usually cleared in a timely manner.  Also, those years were not the worse North Dakota winters on record.

One of my new North Dakota winter survival skills is driving on poor road conditions.

Here are some of my "North Dakota Winter: Rules of the Road:"

1)  If no travel is advised, stay home.  Obviously, if there is a blizzard, you should just put on your yoga pants and stay home.

Sorry if you were expecting to see a picture of me in my yoga pants.

2)  If the "no travel advisory" has been lifted, always have your husband drive out before you to access the road conditions.

3)  Own at least one four-wheel-drive vehicle that you are comfortable driving and that has good tires.

Our trusty '99 Chevy Blazer.

4a)  Never take the township road.

You can tell there should be a road here by the power lines.

4b)  Only take the county road.

Much better! Just avoid any snow drifts.

The county road gets plowed and the township road doesn't...unless maybe your husband decides to do it.

When going to town, we would typically take township road that we live on two miles north to the highway that leads directly to town.  But since that road remains yet to be plowed, we instead drive one mile south on the township road, turn left and go two miles east to the other highway, and drive 3 miles north to get back on the highway we usually take.  Overall, it adds two miles to our trip, but I'm just happy we are able to leave the farm, and come back again.

5)  If the road conditions are worse on your side of the road, it is perfectly acceptable to drive on the other side like you are in Britain (if there are no other vehicles in sight).*

Please let me know of any other "Rules of the Road" I need to add to my list!

Student Driver,

*You should probably be advised to not attempt this.  I was the car passenger in this photo.

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