Big Red and the Storm of the Decade

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It was the first snowfall of the season and though it was brisk, I felt confident because it started so early in the day, 7 a.m., that road crews would be out shortly, plowing streets and clearing the freeways with that magical calcium chloride concoction that de-ices everything and leaves a sticky sludge all over your vehicle.

Big Red needed tires and electrical work and the critters needed hay, so we undertook the 50 mile drive to Flagstaff at about 11 a.m. The freeway was so slippery that when we got to Williams, I decided it was time to lock the hubs. We had already passed several cars that had spun off the road. Still sure of ADOT’s road clearing prowess, I was determined to push on rather than turn back. After nearly an hour of 35 mph and 4 wheel drive, we arrived in Flagstaff. I expected the city streets to be bad and they were. Repairs involved several trips back and forth across the icy streets of town and by the time phase 1 was done it was nightfall and Interstate 40 was closed. We were in Flagstaff for the night.

A friend was kind enough to feed us and put us up in a heated room with a warm, comfy bed. The morning found Big Red buried in 4 feet of snow drifts. The snow was only about 1 foot deep in the driveway, so after some sweeping, scraping and shovelling, she plowed right through onto the icy streets. The snow, wet and sticky and great for snowmen the day before, was now dry and powdery and superb for the many schushers out on cross country skis. There’s something about a mountain town the morning after a good snow that rivals anything else in the world. The deep silence, the pure, white, clean blanket transforming world into wonderland. The allure of going to work or market on skis – or staying home in your jammies in front of a roaring fire “snowed in.” It is novel if you’re prepared for it. I was not, which was why I was in Flagstaff getting truck repairs, chain saw parts and woodstove parts. Tuesday evening saw us repaired, supplied and heading back home down a re-opened freeway. Much of the way was clear, though we still traveled way below the speed limit, with a few sections of 35 mph and 4 wheel drive. Big Red got through it all. Including the 2 foot berm in front of my driveway and the foot of snow in the drive.

With over 300K miles on the odometer, the topic of getting a new truck frequently comes up. Especially with every major expense. Considering the hay and firewood hauling, not to mention plowing through the occasional heavy snow and icy freeway, the cost to replace her is far greater than the cost of repair, so the repair option always wins out. I am comfortable in Big Red. As that overplayed commercial would say: “Peace of mind – priceless.”