After 13 months of living in New England, I got to experience my first real snow (thanks Nemo!). “Real” means 2 feet of snow (by official measure) and giant 4 ft. snowbanks due to freak winds, as opposed to the paltry foot or so I had previously thought was “a lot.”
The snow/wind combo was pretty crazy Friday night. I stayed home while Dan cross-country skied to Somerville to hang out with some friends. Saturday morning, the snow was pretty much over by 10 a.m., and there was a small snowbank on our back porch. We had to shovel just to find the back steps.
Dan started the day by helping me find our driveway from the building’s back porch. Note the absurdly large snow drift behind him.
It took about two hours of shoveling to get a path from the front door to the driveway and then clear that enough to unbury Dan’s truck. Our friend Matt rode over on his mountain bike and helped us carve a path from the backyard to the front so that we can take the trash to the curb someday soon, if the world ever starts functioning again.
Absurdly large Niner for scale. Matt is much taller than me. This is the sidewalk in front of my apartment. The front yard is an 8 foot pile of snow.
Matt wanted to ride around town and check out the snow. I though that was the best idea ever, so I grabbed my commuter — the SOMA mixte with skinny cross tires on 700c wheels, one tire is bald — and tagged along. We rode down the Alewife Brook Parkway to West Cambridge. It was like what the world will look like after the zombie apocalypse or society-destroying-pandemic finally occurs. People were just walking down the highway. I typically don’t ride on Alewife Brook because it is a horrible mess of traffic and angry people trying to go as fast as possible while stuck in traffic. Today, it was empty, except for pedestrians walking down the road, because there was no where else to go. We tried to take some side streets through West Cambridge toward the river, but they hadn’t been recently plowed. I needed a lot of momentum to stay upright on skinny tires, but with people and their pets in the roads and plows trying to come through, I had to stop a lot, and a couple times the snow was too deep to get started again. This was the first time that someone non-helpfully told me that I needed snow tires (3 times all together). None of these non-helpful people were on bicycles, so I assume they are all qualified experts.
Looking for Nemo at the Charles River (from Allston-ish, Harvard in the background)
We ended up crossing the river, just because we could, and cut through the Allston Harvard Campus before heading back to Cambridge, with a quick visit through MIT, and then back up Mass Ave. I learned today that Arlington did a much better job of keeping Mass Ave and Broadway plowed than Camberville did of keeping their major thoroughfares plowed — with the exception of Brattle and Memorial Drive, as they were pretty much awesome. Most of the roads I was on had at least an inch or two of packed snow on them, with plenty of giant snow-obstacles created by people digging out cars. I also learned that a lot of bars seem to be open during snow emergencies — good luck finding a drug store that’s open, but you can “self medicate” with booze all you want in these towns.
I also learned that snow storms make people much more outgoing toward strangers here. I got a “good job!” for biking in the snow and also a high five on Highland for the snow biking. I slipped and cursed, but managed to land upright, after catching the edge of a snow filled hole on Mass Ave; and, some folks walking down the street asked me if I was okay. This is a really weird thing to have happen. I biked up a steep snow covered hill, one I wasn’t sure my skinny tires could handle, and some guy standing by a work truck at the top cheered me on (“you made it!”) — a super unusual occurrence!
The snow mixte is victorious.
The snow storm might be over, but the snow is still here! A previous tenant left a boogie-board style sled in the garage, so I’m hoping to drag Dan to a hill for some sledding…