Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snow Bound!

Living in the Pacific Northwest during the winter is usually a wet experience. Snow seldom drops into the lower elevations, preferring to hang out in the elevations above 1000 feet. Not this year though! Starting on december 17th, it began to snow, and buried my vehicles in snow drifts! I was virtually stuck at home for nearly a week and a half, unable to get my car out of the driveway and on to the street. Now I have 2 4x4 vehicles; a 87' Nissan pickup, and a 87 Suzuki Samurai, and should have had no problem, right?

Wrong. The truck was completely buried by the blizzard we were having. The winds, which are a normal part of our weather, whipped the snow around, creating huge drifts that were difficult to navigate. Lucky for me, the company I work for had decided that since the month of December is usually the worst for their sales, they would be closed the last 2 weeks of the year, beginning on 12/24, and starting up operations on Jan 5th 2009. The Samurai was prepped Sunday night for work on Monday 12/22, and off to bed I went.

The trip to work the next morning was strange. I heard a funny sound whenever I dropped below 30 mph. The car was feeling a little odd also in the way it was handling. Half way to work I decided to pull over at a gas station and check it out. The passenger side rear tire was flat! I had aired it up the night before because it had looked very low, but it had been sitting for a while so I was not surprised.

I run oversize tires on it and don't have a spare that is the same size yet. I was also missing the jack which was buried in the snow under a huge drift. $@7!!*%^$. I tried to air the tire back up but the damn air machine was frozen, and by the time the heat from my hands had thawed the nozzle out, the timer ran out and I got no air. The station wasn't open so I couldn't get any more change or a refund. SHIT!

Left with no choice, I had to drive home on the flat tire. I called into work and told them my situation. I took vacation for the days that I had planned to work. I settled in and enjoyed some hot coffee and breakfast. It was snowing and blowing so I stayed inside that whole day. When I looked outside the next morning, this is what I saw.

Hopefully, the tire is not ruined. But if it is, I will break down and buy a new set of tires with a proper size spare. The tires I have on it are Toyo's LT215-75 R15, and they are at least 19 years old! That’s right, 19! I had them on my S-10 4X4 PU back in 1989-90. They sat around for a while and then I put them on the Samurai. It is so light that they just don't seem to wear out.

The buried truck!

So my lesson learned is to keep the proper tools with their intended vehicles, Maintain a full sized compatible spare tire and keep a portable air compressor in the vehicle that is planned for use. The problem with the Suzuki is that the tweakers keep breaking into it by pulling the top off it’s snaps so I don’t like to leave anything of value in it. I am thinking of selling it and getting a Jeep Cherokee to use as a primary BOV. I really like the Samurai, as it will go most anywhere and gets decent mileage, but it has very little cargo room and is very underpowered in it's stock form. The oversized tires really suck the power out as the gearing is for stock tires.

The power never went out although it blinked a couple of times. We had plenty of food and water and only after a week and a half did we run out of fresh milk, eggs and sliced bread. I have three sources of heat so that wasn't a problem. And I had 2 sources of battery backup power for my CPAP machine.

Overall everything was covered. I didn't really need to go anywhere so being snow bound was just an inconvenience rather than a disaster. But if I had needed the vehicles, I would have had a problem.


  1. I will not complain about the weather here, I will not complain about the weather here........

    Yup, it's a heavy load, but I've got a 33x12.5 spare tire on my Heep. However, I do need to get a high lift jack to mount onboard somewhere.... Like you, I don't like to keep a lot of stuff in the Heep due to the ragtop.

  2. I would like an underpowered zook - post if you want to sell?

    What area of PNW are you in?

  3. East Snohomish county, not far from Rieter Pit ORV site. Shoot me an email if you want to talk business, or wait for it to hit Craigslist.

    Going to happen soon, if i can pry my cold live hands from the title. it is such a great little rig in the summer, I am really torn on selling it.

  4. I cannot recommend the Cherokees enough. I got the last year they made the straight 6, '04, and it's going to be tough to buy anything newer.

    I have no personal experience with the newer V engines in the Jeeps, but I have had nothing but the best of luck with that straight 6, and I don't want to give them up.

  5. The situation up there should show people what can happen when the bulk of a population are not prepared for an event.

    I've read stories about a phenomena called "snow rage". Here's one about a guy who took a shot at a snow plow operator.