Well, 2009 has started pretty much the same way 2008 ended-- cold and snowy! The drive from Helena to Great Falls this morning was not something to be tried by the feint of heart! I arrived in Great Falls only to hear I-90 was closed to all but emergency traffic. How was I supposed to know this? Unlike other places in the U.S., we do not have those fancy LED reader boards telling us current conditions at every overpass, we do not have barriers that get lowered to close off the highways, and most of our radio stations are "Voice Tracked" (sorry Program Directors, your secret is out) so there is very little up-to-the-minute information even there.
I'm not saying that I didn't know the roads were bad... I was VERY aware they were, and visibility was right around, oh, I don't know-- 1/8th to 1/4 of a mile. The passing lanes were filling with drifts so you were pretty much stuck behind anyone you caught up to. Yes, this did slow down the manical drivers who feel they are invincable, but us "normal" drivers were slowed by this person who decided the rest of us were not to exceed 35mph until he became so intimidated by the tanker truck on his ass he pulled off onto an exit ramp. Our little group of intrepid travellers averaged speeds of 45mph to the whopping high racetrack speeds of 60mph in a few clearer areas. It took me over two hours to traverse 80 miles! And the best part of all this? I get to do it all in reverse at 6pm! YIPPIE! At least the snow has stopped falling (for now) and the wind seems to have died a bit.
My little 1997 Toyota Rav-4 is quite the little trooper! I haven't had any troubles with it in the snow, on the ice, or even not starting in sub-zero temperatures. I have owned it for a little over a year now, and I am sold on the product line. When I upgrade once again, I will look for another Rav-4 (if I can't get my hands on one of the new F-J's at a reasonable price).
**I just tried to upload some snow photos of right outside of our shop, but the server wasn't working right. I'll try again later--**