Thursday, April 8, 2010

Winter's last laugh

Horse pucky is to rodeo parades as potholes are to Minnesota winters. The streets are not safe. Both will hurt you. Major difference – the pothole is an inney.

I’ve never seen anything like it. Some streets look like earthquake zone aftermath.

The rash of bent wheels and broken axles or stabilizer links made the front page of the Star Tribune:

“The pocked roads have had Twin Cities drivers rattled and tire service providers running. A January thaw and rain cycle flowed by long stretches of frigid weather meant water seeping into cracks froze and stayed there. As spring approached, the asphalt bent, buckled and broke over the subsurface puddles. And potholes were born.”

They’re worse that anything I’ve ever seen in Texas. These are bodacious.

After almost 40 years in the Cities, the Mystery Woman has gotten good enough to offer a pothole class. She thinks. Here are her tips. I stand clear of any liability if you follow her advice.

1. Slow down. 2.Concentrate. 3. Drive like you’re in a bumper car at the fair. This is a test of your dodg’em skills. Makes you feel young again 4. When you find a particular bad stretch, don’t go that way anymore. There’s an alternate route to your left or right, through a different neighborhood, even if it takes forever. Roll down the window and wave at neighbors you didn’t know you had. 5. You can’t avoid the horizontal asphalt strips that have collapsed every 20 feet or so. But they act as speed bumps. Kathunk, kathunk. Good, huh? Helps you remember #1. 6. Drive just to the right of the usual path in your lane. You straddle a lot of potholes caused by that part of worn out road. (Just don’t drive to the right in your lane or you can end up in the oncoming guy’s lane. Not smart. Especially at night.) 7. Sit up high and straight. You can see ’em coming half a block away. 8. Follow your tires’ inflation guidelines, dummy.

True story. Just today, a mechanic told me that on-board computers in newer vehicles have a special diagnostic code for pothole damage. He reports seeing several that flash: Rough Road.

Road repairs will take forever. I almost wish it would snow to cover them up again.


The South Plainsman said...

We have bad potholes down here, but not bad enough to wish for more Winter. It did freeze last night two days after it was 90.

But Spring is winning. Thank goodness.

My old joints are tired of aching from cold and wet. Now they can ache from doing the yardwork.

Paula said...

You may get your wish. AFter a week of 70-88 degree temps, we're gonna get some snow tomorrow morning. Maybe you, too?
I know what you mean about the potholes-from-hell. After-snow is often worse than just plain snow. Maybe you should consider moving north of the Artic Circle?

Anonymous said...

Ice Road Trucker!

Nance said...

I've lived in snow country (Alaska) and I know the damage done to roads by that kind of weather. But this is strange to me: the worst potholes I've seen in my life were in sunny San Diego this past February and March. I know California is hurting financially, but these 24" wide X 6" deep holes were opening up from one day to the next. Pre-earthquake. Wonder what that's about?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Minnesota, George; the land of snow, snow, more snow and "road closed for construction" - Max Fischer

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