The Cross-Westchester Expressway (Rte 287), as its name implies, traverses Westchester County from the Hudson River to Long Island Sound, connecting the Tappan Zee Bridge to the New England Thruway.
More importantly, it serves as the snow line for all our local weather people. “It’ll be rain or an icy mix up to 287,” they’ll say. “All snow above that.”
We used to live just south of the Cross-Westchester Expressway. And while it wasn’t as though if you drove a few miles north through the rain you’d suddenly hit a snowbank, 287 did sort of seem to be a good point of distinction.
Now we live a half hour north of it. And, driving around town, we do see an inordinate number of Jeep Wranglers. Either the folks around here are used to a lot of snow or they very much enjoy off-roading. But frankly, based on the citizens we’ve seen, they really don’t seem like the kind of people who drive their vehicles through mud and rocky wastelands and the other types of terrain they show in Jeep commercials.
We have an all-wheel drive vehicle, an Acura RDX. It is not 4-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive. I have no idea what the difference is; I wouldn’t think it would matter unless you had a vehicle with more than four wheels. (“Hah! You only have drive on four of your six wheels, but I have drive on all of mine!”)
Still, I have the suspicion that if our SUV was a person, it would pay someone to shovel a path through the snow and then walk through it gingerly wearing galoshes over its driving moccasins while screaming, “Ick! Ick! Ick.”
We decided to buy snow tires.
I’ve never owned snow tires. I’ve always believed the makers of all-weather tires at their word. But there’s something about our 45 degree angle driveway that made us think snow tires might not be a bad idea.
I immediately confronted the most important question to ask when considering snow tires: how the hell do I get the other tires home? Can you fit four tires into a small SUV? What about a Honda Accord (my daughter’s car)? The guy at Town Fair Tire assured me they could. “Although,” he then added, “sometimes people have to make two trips.”
But they did manage to get all four of the tires into each of the two vehicles that now have Michelin X-Ice snow tires. We also have two stacks of nicely wrapped tires sitting in our garage like a bunch of extremely obvious gifts. At some point, we can open a very small go-kart facility.
And so, with our cars ready to grip the road and provide traction through the frozen tundra, we are prepared for what will likely be a completely snowless winter.
We are also prepared for a cold one, because Barbara has purchased wood for the fireplace. Actually, what she bought was a package of kindling and one Duraflame® log. This would be enough heat to roast a marshmallow. But she knows us. Shortly after we moved into our condo townhouse, we purchased a half a cord of wood. Being city folks, we had no idea what the hell a cord was.
What seemed like the result of a forest demolition was dumped unceremoniously on our front lawn, and we then had to shlep it all the way around three other condo units to the woods behind our house. Fifteen years later, most of it was still there. Twenty-five years later, it was all gone. We didn’t use it; I think it just disintegrated.
What can I say? We’re not fireplace people. Barb’s sister and her husband are fireplace people. They’ll start a fire and happily feed it all night. Myself, I like to keep indoor open flames to a minimum. Even our new gas stove frightens me.
Anyway, we’re all set for winter. We have a generator for when the power goes out. We have winter tires for when it snows. We have a log for when it gets cold. We have a large supply of diet instant hot chocolate and a hot water dispenser in our new kitchen sink.
So, bring it on, Old Man Winter!
See you soon.