Northern Australia and the tropics are my thing. I can give advice on surviving 40 plus degree heat, melting bitumen and managing radiators that threaten to erupt like Vesuvius. I don't enjoy temps below 30 degrees and I protest vigorously any thermometer sporting single digits. I often don a cardigan just to open the refrigerator.
The first time I drove south of the Queensland border I saw a sign that read "Beware ice on roads". At the time I thought to myself "That is ridiculous. Why would you put ice on a road? Ice goes in your drink." Then it dawned on me that it would reach the sort of temperatures that might freeze a road and I panicked. In more than 30 years on this planet, through as much good luck as good management, I had never experienced snow. Until this week.
Black ice, snow, blizzard, gale force winds, low visibility. These were all words that terrified me. My mind rattled through every icy horror story I had ever heard and the drama queen in me leapt to a variety of Bear Grylls style disasters.
For example, I must keep an eye on my fingers and toes in case they turn black and I have to amputate them. Only yesterday I had failed to find a suitable implement in the car that would cut open an avocado so the options for removing a frost bitten limb would need to be seriously considered and improved.
My December road trip across America had purposefully stuck to the southern states to avoid the chilly white stuff yet here I was in New Mexico surrounded by it. As I approached the city of Las Cruces, road side signs bore warnings of blizzards and poor visibility.
While safely steering with my knee, I googled how to drive in a blizzard. Not very helpful. I puckered my sphincter and prepared for arctic battle.
It turns out that snowy conditions are not as horrid as you might think. The closest I came to an accident was slipping on some ice climbing out of the car. I drove steadily and sensibly, allowing plenty of space for braking in all directions just as I would on a wet, muddy, dirt road. I assumed that every driver on the road with me was a complete and utter muppet thereby pre-empting any attempts they might make on my life or on the Lincoln's delicate body work. I allowed time in the morning for the red chariot to warm up as I sent a little prayer of thanks to the genius who invented heated seats.
My OCD had a workout as I observed vehicles piled high with snow and questioned why the owners would not take the time to clean them. I marvelled out how dirty snow really was. Not at all like the movies. I was not even a little inspired to make a snow angel. All in all my experience of snow was just icy mud and sludge. Not terrifying and with all of my appendages attached I can proudly say not at all life threatening.