Mrs. Dr. Phil left before I did this morning. So a few minutes later I get a phone call -- she's okay, but her Blazer slid off the road into somebody's front yard and she's stuck. No, didn't hit anything, especially the tree(s). When I got there, I was impressed that she was nearly back on the road, and when I walked over, even more impressed with the path her tracks made around the yard and heading back out. Alas, whether hung up on the thicker pack from the snow plows or just dug in too deep, the front wheels didn't want to make the last less-than-two-feet to the road.
I keep collapsible shovels in the Blazers and the plowed snow was pretty crumbly and shoveled easily after a weekend of warm and sun. Probably why it sank down too far to power out of, too. I couldn't rock it forward or backward enough to get a running start, and even putting it in LO 4WD and first gear wasn't enough. Plan B was to grab the tow strap out of my Blazer, loop it around my trailer hit and hook it onto the tow hooks on the front of her Blazer. Didn't want to move, but my tires weren't slipping so I slowly gave it more gas until we pulled free. Yay. Go us!
I tell you, that tow strap was a great investment. I bought it in the U.P. even when we only had 2WD vehicles, because most people didn't seem to carry a new tow strap with them. As I recall, it didn't cost much, but I don't remember either the price or whether it was an impulse purchase at K-Mart or the hardware store. Probably the latter.
One oddity of all this -- when I came up to Mrs. Dr. Phil still sitting in the driver's seat, I said, "You door handle is missing." Now that seemed hard to do, since she'd missed the tree and it wasn't like the door was caved in or scratched. The door handle was just, snatched off. We soon figured out that in driving around the one big tree, she must've rubbed up against this swing hanging from the tree and the rope slid along the door and got caught under the edge of the door handle, then popped it off when she continued moving and the rope didn't want to. The rest of the door handle was hanging from the edge of the swing. Huh.
This kind of door handle is on the 1989 2WD Blazer (and the old 1985 4WD Blazer), but the 1996 Blazer has flush mounted handles. You'd be hard pressed to get something under the handle in order to pop it off. Not saying it would be impossible, just that caving in the door would be the easiest way to accomplish that. (grin)
Anyway, we had already had a debate about whether I'd drive Mrs. Dr. Phil in to work this morning, so she wouldn't have to deal with tonight's snow on the way back from her night graduate school class. So other than missing one thing in the middle of another prof's 10am class and getting to my 11am class just in time (more or less), this won't be bad. And Mr. Silver Lining here figures that since the door will probably have to be taken apart, they can troubleshoot the wiring or switch for the power door lock control on the 1994 Blazer, because it has been not working sometimes. So two birds, one stone, you do the math.
The funny thing about defensive driving is that you can be bit when you think things are getting better -- witness my 2004 Clarion buddy Trent's tale of spinning out his Jeep on his long commute between Madison and Milwaukee WI last week. I think both slide offs were when the drivers went back to 2WD. It was after Mrs. Dr. Phil's slide that the local radio mentioned that there was freezing rain falling and the roads were slicking up. Nice.
Naturally tomorrow morning promises to start the fourth week or so in a row of major morning driving headaches. The bulk of this storm is expected to track south of us at home, but guess what -- the I-94 corridor and Kalamazoo will be in the heavier snow and ice zone. We'll see if I can drive in to classes on Tuesday this week.