[401/441] Digging out

There’s a big advantage of living in a University-sponsored apartment building–they do all the digging out after a big snowstorm.  On Sunday, Winter Storm Linus pounded Chicagoland with over a foot and a half of snow, and it was a winter wonderland trying to get to the bike shop (on foot of course!) in order to take it in for a spoke repair (see yesterday’s post).

Thinking about the digging out brings up three different things that I wanted to mention.  Please read on!

Well, yesterday, the sidewalk in front of my building was pretty much clear, but the streets were still quite a mess, with slush and snow all over.  The weather was really nice yesterday, with it being clear as a bell in the sky, and the high improved to the mid-thirties (Fahrenheit).  Of course, I was cooped up inside most of the day, working on research and TA responsibilities.

After the work day ended, I walked back to my apartment.  The roads looked really nice–parts of Sheridan Road were completely clear, and it amazes me how well Chicagoland does with clearing main roads right after a storm.  Actually, exactly four years ago was the day after “Snowpocalypse 2011” in Chicago.  I didn’t ride my bike on the 3rd or the 4th of February, but was right back on the saddle on the 5th.

Given what the roads looked like, it appeared I would be able to safely ride from the bike shop home, and then later to Norris.  So, after I got home, I walked to the bike shop, which was about a 10-13 minute walk.  The sidewalks were largely cleared… yay!

However, when I got to Wheel and Sprocket, the lights were off (excluding display lights).  No sign on the door hinted that the place was going to close early, but… UGH!… they did!  So, with a cartoon bubble filled with a scribble above my head, I trudged back in annoyance to my apartment.

That experience reminds me of a quote from the grad student office when I was an undergraduate research assistant at Nebraska in Prof. Batelaan’s lab.  The quote said, “A couple of months in the laboratory can often save you a couple of hours in the library.”  In my case, I change that to, “A 25-minute walk can often save you a one-minute phone call.”  Thanks, Frank Westheimer, for reminding me of your quote after my wild goose chase!  (He would probably find it quite amusing, but it was purely annoying to me.)

Oh, well.  I’ll try to work from home this morning until the bike shop is scheduled to open, call them (what a concept!) and then finish work from the office.

The third thing, heading back to the idea of digging out: though the roads are cleared very quickly in Chicagoland, the bike trails are NOT.  Back during my first year at Northwestern, I wrote a letter to the editor of the TribLocal which complained about the fact that the Channel Trail was completely impassable, even a week after a small snowstorm.  Whereas in Lincoln, sometimes the commuter trails were clear before the roads!

Winter snow removal.  You gotta love it, even when you hate it!


Today is the four-hundred and first day of Mission 441.  Forty days (and forty nights :p) remain.


6 thoughts on “[401/441] Digging out

  1. Noah, I sincerely doubt you were ever stupid enough to drive a VW packed with teenagers through a banked up snowdrift-er on the street. . . or ride in one. Yes, here in Wichita we know no banks or boundaries . . especially to our IQs. 🙂


    • No worries, Sandy–the worst of the winter weather happened during my phases of no driving. Granted, there was the one time when my Dad spun out into the ditch and I was no help in trying to free the car…


  2. A city has to prioritize what gets cleared and what doesn’t. Here in the Tennessee Valley, if we had a huge snow fall like this then it would be days upon days before we could get out of our neighborhood. The main streets are the first to be cleared, which makes total sense. Unfortunately here in the south they rely heavily on Mother Nature to lend a hand with snow removal via the sun’s shinning face. That just doesn’t work fast enough, especially when the temps are freezing or below. The shaded parts of the road are extremely slow to clear on their on and a person has to be mindful when traveling these backstreets least they want to find themselves in a ditch and that wouldn’t be fun. 😀


    • I can understand the part about sliding into a ditch–that happened at least once to my Dad when he drove me to school a long time ago. And no matter how cautious you are, annoyances will happen.


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