Yeah, it is Valentine's Day, isn't it?

14 February 2007

As one would surmise, it's Valentine's Day, so Lyssa and I had planned to go to a local restaurant (the Sweetwater Tavern) for dinner to celebrate after work tonight. Little did we realise that it would turn into something of an adventure right from the outset.

As I wrote earlier today, DC was hit by what was considered a major ice storm last night, and temperatures continue to fall. Not only does this mean that roadways transformed into ice skating rinks (which eventually caused the shutdown of part of the outer loop of the beltway today due to a multi-car pileup) but it also meant that vehicles would be coated with ice and sometimes even frozen in place...

You can see where this is going. I went outside half an hour early to warm up the TARDIS and knock as much ice as I could off of the windscreens and windows, and to make sure that I could actually open the doors because they could have frozen shut. This actually wasn't difficult. Something that really should have caught my attention, however, was the fact that the snow was so frozen that I scarcely left footprints as I walked around the car wielding with an ice scraper.

As I soon discovered, the snow behind each of the wheels and under the car was frozen solid, pinning the car into place.

Now, I'm used to bigger cars, vis a vis Buicks. A little snow and ice was never a big deal because the mass of the car was sufficient to plow right over such obstacles without missing a beat, which is why I never thought to pack supplies like a shovel or kitty litter (gods know, I carry everything else with me). No so with my Camry. Rocking the car back and forth had little effect. Trying to wear down the ice by gunning the engine sprayed fans of nasty brown slush a good twenty feet toward the apartment building and wore away what little traction I had. Getting out and kicking at the ice behind each wheel to clear paths had little effect. Eventually, I had to almost drive up onto the sidewalk to build up enough momentum to get anywhere.

For sufficient values of 'anywhere'. Say... eight to ten inches in the direction intended.

At one point Lyssa suggested giving up on dinner and going back in. That almost seemed a good idea, save that the TARDIS was stuck halfway out of its parking space, and halfway into the path of oncoming traffic in the parking lot. At last, an attempt to pull back into the parking space and calling it a wash broke the ice and snow enough for us to set out for the restaurant.

The roads are still pretty bad out here - traffic's at a crawl, and many major bends remain unsalted and unplowed. For the love of all that is good and holy, don't go out if you don't have to.