The Morning Commute

I used to complain about traffic jams and sitting in traffic. Stressing over my recurring predicament was one reason I relocated to the Southwest. And while I would never dream of trading my present situation for the one I abandoned, there are times when my current commute poses a different sort of problem: namely, getting to it.

Except for one winter I spent in Norway, for the first fifty-eight years of my life this time of year meant rain. Certainly there were a handful of days in Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay area when we received a dusting of snow, but my new location at 7,000 feet has given me a new appreciation for the seasons, not least of all winter. And while most of my California friends believe I’ve changed locales for year-around sun, I’m writing this particular post for their edification.

One of the first tools I purchased once Toni, the cats and I got situated—right after I bought my Ford F150 pickup—was a Cub Cadet riding mower. We don’t have a lawn or anything vaguely resembling one, but if we are to stroll across our property, we need to keep the chamisa and sagebrush down to ankle high. I did not appreciate what an invaluable machine it was, however, until the first time we got fifteen inches of snow. Then thirty inches. Then eighteen.

Although Santa Fe County possesses a fleet of snow plows, and it puts them to work right away, first the highways get cleared, then the major access roads. Eventually, they get around to our little dirt road. But if I waited for them to get to us, it would be several days before I could drive to work and my unreasonable creditors won’t wait. Imagine that.

To get to where the county plows on the first day, I need to clear my garage pad and seventy-five yards of driveway. Yes, I said yards. Our two hundred yard cul de sac is much too much for even a team of snow shovels to handle, as is the one hundred yards of adjacent road that lead to where the County has cleared. But if I remove the mowing deck from the garden tractor, then fit a four foot snow blade to the front and secure chains to the rear tires, in powder or moderate snowfall I can clear all that in an hour and a half. Come wet, heavy snow, it’s a two hour job, but it’s do-able.

Certainly there are those of you living in colder climes who will snicker at my plight, but I chose my home carefully: yards of driveway and inches of snow. Not the opposite. 🙂



15 responses to “The Morning Commute

  1. *laughs* After having to shovel snow on our first snowstorm at the new house I find myself wishing for your riding mower, Ray!

  2. Hahaha! I must say I’m gloating as I look out my window at the grass, sun, and not one flake of snow on the ground. It could be spring if I didn’t know better. I really don’t think we will have snow this year (I hope I haven’t jinxed it).
    Remember, I live in Canada…supposedly the Great White North!

    Happy snow shoveling! *gloat gloat poke poke* 🙂


  3. Ray, I’m jealous! Our one and only snowstorm so far this year was on Halloween weekend. Since then it’s been in the 40’s and 50’s and I hate it. It’s supposed to be cold and snowy!

  4. I lived a part of my life in good old Spokane, Washington where winter snow was a way of life. But when I lost a yard stick in my front yard while measuring the snow depth i moved vowing never to live in an area plagued by winter snow again. Here in Seattle, it is a rarity rather than a common occurrence and that suits me just fine. All though the mini snow plow sounds like fun, and a good way to spend a few hours, my feeling would be that the fun part would wear off fast. I think I’ll stay here in rainy old Seattle. 😉


    • It loses a lot of luster at six in the morning, when it’s 15°F, or less. But on a day like you see above, it’s kinda a kick. And, if the snow were to get to be as deep as you were describing on a regular basis, I can buy a motorized snow blower that would replace the blade. It clears a three foot swath in up to four feet of snow! Heh, heh, heh!

  5. Haha, Raymond – great picture, and great post.

    I’m a California girl at heart. Snow is pretty to look at, but living with it? No thanks. My plan is to live in a place where sunscreen and flip flops are year-round gear, and I need an outdoor shower, hardwood floors and a Dyson to keep the sand at bay!

  6. When I picture you both in your artistic southwestern home with its spacious views and the desert vistas, this fantasy you have just painted so vividly would NEVER have crossed my mind. I mean REALLY!!!! You have to do THIS to get to the road where you will then drive over icy pavement to get to work??? I’m gonna have to revise my entire image! What an invigorating adventure….

  7. We’re waiting on our first snow – but rarely does it stay for longer than a couple of days. Having said that, when it does, no one knows what to do about it. Because we’re in the world’s most temperate of cities, rain yes, rain rain rain rain rain – but not much snow.


  8. Really neat. ALso, neighbors appreciate your “commute”!

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