Monday, December 17, 2007

Icy Roads

Last Saturday I tried to go to my family's house to borrow the garage, oil pan, funnel, wrench, jack, etc. to change my oil. Then we got more snow earlier than the weathermen expected. As most of you know, Dogwood Acres is on the top of a long, steep hill (my quads are grateful I don't have to run or bike up it any more). Three times I tried and failed to make it past the ice-covered, 16% grade, upper curve. Praise the LORD I was able to back down. Dad drove down in his 4-wheel drive pickup and took us up, leaving the car parked at the bottom. But alas, I could not change the oil.

I walked down to the car after lunch to go to Joe's basketball game and realized that one of the neighbor's had plowed the road. So I tried to make it up again to go pick up Abby and Anna who were walking down a few minutes behind me. I made it past the curve and only stopped to pick up the girls. After the game, I decided to go back and change the oil again, since I should now be able to make it up. Abby also wanted to go back and show Anna how to put the lights on the tree that my parents had just purchased in the morning.

I tried to gather enough speed around the lower turn but slid on the ice and almost went into the ditch and was stopped by the loose pile of plowed snow (or an angel). Anyway, I thereby lost my speed and had no chance to make it past the upper curve and had to back down. I backed into a driveway to take a straight run there. But the driveway was hard to tell from the yard and I missed it slightly to the south and got stuck.

So I got out, realized the situation was likely hopeless, and trudged up the hill (quads not appreciative) to get shovel and possibly sand to increase the friction coefficient. (Engineer's interjection: The locomotion of a vehicle is dependent of the friction force. The friction is made up two factors: the friction coefficient, and the force perpendicular the ground (which for all practical purposes is the weight over the tires of the vehicle). Therefore, the tire-ground interface must be improved or weight must be added the wheels. As my vehicle is front wheel drive, putting sandbags (weight) in the trunk will not substantially improve the second factor (weight) so something must be done to make the ground less slippery.) I ran back down the hill and proceeded to dig the snow and ice out from in the front my wheels (rubber-gravel has a higher friction coefficient than rubber-ice) when Dad shows up with John and LP. Between my improvements to the friction coefficient and their forward momentum, I was able to be un-stuck. I drove back to the end of the road, got enough speed but not too much around the lower and was able to make it past the upper turn, over the hill and into the garage, where I proceeded to change the oil.

-In other news, Mrs. Grady has posted a video of the song I wrote here.

I have music if anyone wants it pdf'd to them. Thought some might be interested.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

Hah! Engineer, nothin'. Who don't know about coefficients of friction and normal force... besides, I'm not sure you'll find "un-stuck" in a dictionary of engineering. :)

Still waiting for your reply to my email. Just the same, congratulations on getting your oil changed. :D

Peace! --Jacob