A Funny Little Video of
Testing His New Tire Chains
filmed by & ©Nancy F Little 2008
Maple Lane, E Burke VT
December 19, 2008
Note: The full text of the video is down below after the story.
Here's a little story:
I drive a little white Toyota pick-up. The smallest kind they make. The tires are all season radials, but sometimes my work takes me to snowy places where I just plain don't really feel very safe driving this little truck with all-season radials. Plus, most of my in-laws live way up near Canada in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. My brother-in-law has a lo-o-o-o-ng, winding, hilly driveway that I have to park at the bottom of whenever there's snow on it. My sister-in-law lives on a dirt road that is downright scary in the winter. In 2007, on the way to a gig at Mount Snow, I got stuck going up a hill, and it took me most of half an hour to get unstuck, get down the hill, and then try to get up again at full throttle, no brakes! I barely made it up the second time, and then proceeded to get stuck on another hill and had to do the same thing again. And there have been numerous winters when my little truck feels like it's just all over the road. You get the idea.
Anyways, we had plans to go up and visit the in-laws in mid-December and then again a week later for Christmas. My lovely wife had planned for us to stay at her parents' house the first visit and at her sister's place the following week. Now, do you remember where I said that her sister lives on a dirt road that is downright scary in the winter? Picture this: It's a narrow, barely two cars wide, winding, hilly, dirt road that is usually a solid piece of ice from one end to the other all winter long; plus parts of it are domed: the only place to drive that you won't be skidding sideways off the roadway is right down the middle of the road... if there's a car coming the other way it's white knuckle driving! To make matters worse, there's numerous drop offs on either side, 45° angle hills, and no guard rails anywhere in sight. In one place, you come around a corner and there's a big hill with cow pastures on either side. "How picturesque!" you might say. But no, the cow pasture on the right starts out on the same level as the road, but as you go further up the hill the pasture drops off sharply! About halfway up the hill, it's more than a 20' drop off into the pasture at the very edge of the road with nothing to stop you from plunging over the edge if you skid even 3 feet to either side except two thin pieces of electric zap wire intended to keep the cows off the road! Whoa, man, is that scary! Plus, I've been stuck on their driveway several times; and actually had to leave my truck on the side of the road at the bottom of their driveway one winter visit not too long ago.
So I told my lovely wife that I'd rather we stay at her parent's house every time (and sleep on that little tiny uncomfortable bed) than to ever have to drive that road in the winter again. She was a little disappointed because she's a Cat Person and had been looking forward to seeing and taking care of her sister's cat and having some alone time together.
Well, years ago, maybe even decades, I had price-shopped tire chains and they were way more than I could afford. But when I called a place around here that carries them, they were well within my current budget, so for $108.36 I bought a pair of tire chains for my little truck.
The sales guy said that I should practice putting them on in my driveway instead of getting stuck in a blizzard and having to get out of my vehicle during a blinding snow storm and put the chain on my tires on the side of the road somewhere in the middle of nowhere for the first time. He also recommended that after that I should go somewhere and test them out by driving for just a quarter mile or so and then checking them for tightness. And then driving with them on for several miles. And, oh yes, don't drive on the bare pavement with them on, and don't ever go faster than 30 MPH.
I agreed with my lovely wife to stay at her sister's place the following week if the chains worked well enough up there the first week. So we packed up and drove the 3 hours north (brrrr!) to her parents' house in E Burke VT smack dab in the middle of the Northeast Kingdom.
The following morning, I went outside and practiced putting the chains on. Then I drove up and down their driveway, stomping on the brakes, swerving sharply, etc. like 9 or 10 times before climbing out and testing the chain for tightness. They were good and tight still. And I was very pleased with their performance on the driveway, so now I wanted to test them on the road.
Just a couple of houses away from my parents-in-law's house is the perfect place to test them: Maple Lane is a narrow, winding, hilly, dirt road that goes parallel to the main drag for quite a ways. So I went inside and invited my lovely wife to go on a little test drive. She was all eager to come along. (Remember: she had a vested interest.)
There was a little stretch of
black pavement between the driveway and the dirt road, though. I had to put the right tires off onto the snow and drive about 4 miles an hour or the whole truck shook itself to pieces!
But when we made that turn off the blacktop onto the snow-covered, winding, hilly, narrow road, everything was wonderful! They worked like a charm!
And Nancy took this little 48 second video to commemorate the trip.
THE FULL TEXT OF THE FILM
[interior view inside of moving truck]
NANCY: What are we doing today, Trevor?
T: We're testing out my new tire chains. They're working. Look! [rapidly twists steering wheel right and left several times]
N [laughs deeply, then says laughingly]: Hey! Cut it out!!!
T [grinning]: They work! [glancing right] Whoa, where's this road go???
N: Ooh! [camera pans right] No. [reading sign] Maple Lane.
T: We're not going on that road.
N: No. [reading other sign] Mountain Hunger Road. [as we head down a hill] Wheeee! Down the hill! Ooooo, whee!
T: You like that hill?, wait 'til we get on Belden Hill Rd!
N: No. No Belden Hill Rd today.
N: Ooooo, pretty!
[camera pans back to interior view]
T: Oh, I'm in ecstasy. This is great! I should've gotten these long ago.
END OF TEXT
Notes on the Film
1. At the beginning, notice that I'm wearing heavy-duty work gloves. They don't keep my hands warm for long outside, but they keep my hands dry and I can put on the chains while wearing them.
2. When I say "They're working. Look!", you can see my arms turning the wheel back and forth!
3. And I absolutely love the next part: Nancy laughs a long throaty roller coaster laugh and says through more laughter, "Hey! Cut it out!!!"
4. When I say "Whoa, where's this road go?" and the camera pans right, there's two street signs. It took me a while to figure this out, but that's not actually a road that's covered with 3 feet of snow on the right. It's just the town line, and the name of the road we're on changes. So the first street sign is the town line sign and the second says the new name of the road.
6. Nancy said "Mountain Hunger Rd" because the second sign said "Mt Hunger Rd", but it's actually Mount Hunger Rd.
7. And then I say something about going on Belden Hill Rd. The thing is, we had passed that road without my even noticing it well before this video began. Turns out, Belden Hill Rd is a road that's covered with 3 feet of snow! In fact, it's a very steep road with no houses on it and is closed in the winter. That's why we missed it.
8. Check out the monotone in my last line where I say, "Oh, I'm in ecstacy." It's just that I had to concentrate on driving so much that I had no energy available for emotional content. "Oh."
9. Throughout the whole video, we're moving along at as close to 30 MPH as I can.
The following week, I put the chains on and took them off each time we drove in or out of my sister-in-law's road. I got pretty good at it, too: installation and removal each ended up only taking about two minutes each from beginning to end. And they work like a charm. too. No more fear of winter driving. I can go anywhere in the winter without fear... even my sister-in-law's place! As I said in the closing line of the video:
"This is great! I should've gotten these long ago."
PO Box 463, Haydenville, MA 01039