Thursday, March 15, 2012

More observations on life in Alaska

As you all know, I finally started driving on my own.  Nothing has changed in that respect, I'm still terrified 90% of the time and have to contain a scream every time I feel the car slip.  Yes, it's an SUV with traction control, so the car takes over when it feels the driver can't handle is too inexperienced to control the slide.  Otherwise I probably would have wrecked at least one car by now.

When we've had enough snow that it needs removal from the road, these odd machines called "graders" come out.  To me, they look like giant preying mantises (manti?).  See above pic of the yellow thing.  Their job is to scrape the snow off the road, widening it and pushing the snow over to the right.  Following the giant preying mantis is a snowblower, who then blows the newly scraped snow onto the side of the road.  God forbid you are trying to walk there (although the berms on the side of the road are 3+ feet, so I doubt you would be).  This is not your average snowblower though, it's an industrial one, just like our lovely scraper.  See the picture to the left - it's a big truck with what reminds of a harrow on farm equipment.

The cutest thing of all, though, are the sidewalk plows/blowers.  They're like mini versions of the orange one above.  I find them so cute that I giggle every time I see one.  The only problem is they have blinking blue and red lights behind them, so I always worry it's a police car at an accident or something.  And yes, accidents are prevalent here.  Ice+idiots=accidents.  Most people drive fairly decently here - either speed limit or below depending on the conditions and several car lengths between each other to eliminate sliding into each other during stops.  Notice I said "most."  I've encountered my share of assholes cutting me off or tailgating when I'm driving, just like in Oregon.  Thankfully, they are rare.

I was terrified of driving on my own for so long that it took 2 months to get me past my fear.  Considering I'm at the medical center at least once a week, it was really inconvenient for Richard to try to drive me.  Now I'm happily independent :).  Well, as happy as I can be driving on snow and ice!

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