Welcome to March in Utah
Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day…. Seems like I hear that song from the Mamas and the Papas of the 60s in my head more and more as each Monday rolls around. This Monday started like any other and was quite productive throughout until about 4 pm. That’s when the rain outside started turning to big heavy slushy snowflakes. The radio reports were saying heavier snow into the evening with accumulations by 5 or 6 pm, so with that news I packed up my laptop and hit the freeway to Salt Lake from Provo and try to beat the storm.
The drive home was no problem and about the time I hit 114th South to head east up the hill and home the snow had begun to stick. I got home at about 5. I had a meeting up at ASEA at 6 pm and began debating with myself whether to go. I looked out the window at 5:15 and the snow was now covering the street. It wasn’t snowing very hard so I figured I could go ahead and try to make the meeting. So much for the debate. Everything was going great until I hit I-215 and started heading east toward the mountain. The foothills were getting much heavier snow than the valley and as I got off the exit only a few hundred yards from the ASEA offices up on the hill I knew I was in trouble.
My car, a 2003 Mercedes Benz E500, has a traction control feature that seems to neither control or allow traction…? It doesn’t allow the wheels to spin if that’s what it means by traction control, but you don’t move either. If it senses spinning it stops. As I turned the corner and began to go up the slight incline I lost all momentum and quickly came to a stop. I wasn’t going any farther. The snow was about 3 inches deep on the road by now. Heavy wet slushy snow that when compacted by other vehicles became and sheet of ice. I babied it and made little progress. Soon other cars were lining up behind me. A nice lady got out and put some ice melt on the snow in front of my rear wheels. That got me another 10 feet or so before I couldn’t go any farther.
There are few things that can make you feel more helpless than being stuck on the road in a snowstorm. I continued to try to get some traction. Every once in a while I’d go forward a few feet and then the wheels would stop. 15 minutes or so into this I saw a group of dark figures in my side-view mirror. One came to my window. I rolled it down and he said let’s see if we can get you going by pushing you. There were maybe 4 or 5 of them. They began to push and I began to pray and push the gas peddle. Slowly the car began to move forward. It was an arduous process. If I could have disabled the “traction control feature” I’m sure I would have taken off once we got started but that dang car didn’t want to spin the wheels so it would power up and power down. I felt terrible for the poor folks pushing but grateful for them and their willingness to help out.
As I got to the top of the incline where it leveled out the wheels took hold and off I went. All I could do was yell thanks out the window and honk. I couldn’t stop or I would have been stuck again.
I rolled into the lane where the snow had been moved by the traffic and drove to an intersection where I made a U-turn and headed back home. I was only a few hundred yards from the meeting but it was up a steep hill and there was no way I could get up there in that snow. I had to find a new route home that didn’t include any inclines. I managed to crawl home by about 7:30. What a mess.
My heart was and is full of gratitude to those kind people, even if they did it just to get me out of their way!