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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » So...Winter is happening soon... (Page 1)

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Author Topic: So...Winter is happening soon...
Hank
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I was raised in the South. Where I lived it snowed about once per winter, and everything in the city shut down. No one went to work or school, we just all stayed home and made snowmen.

On the plus side I have only positive mental associations with snow. On the down side, my positive experiences leave me rather unprepared for the fact that I just moved to Wyoming.

Any suggestions for those with more winter experience? what should I do to my car? What kind of coat/boots should I look for? General cold-weather tips are appreciated.

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dantesparadigm
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I find the best defense against the cold is a nice, full flask. You'll also want warm, wooly sock, those make a big difference. You want a scraper and snow tires for your car, and always give it time to warm up before driving anywhere. A warm hat and ear muffs also help.

-Greg, formally of Maine, now in college in Rhode Island.

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Hank
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I'd buy a flask, but I suspect that it will be less effective since I'm LDS and can't put anything very "stimulating" in it.
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dantesparadigm
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Oh, nothing wrong with that. They also have these little one-time-use hand warmer things that are just wonderful for any extended outings.
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Hank
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Oh! I love those! I put them in the toes of my boots. And maybe I'll buy a flask for aesthetic purposes; they're very old-timey.
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Xavier
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For some people, such as myself, a warm hat is at least as important as your coat.
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rivka
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"Winter" . . . I've heard of that . . .
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Lyrhawn
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Winter is "happening soon"? It's already Winter here as far as I'm concerned. It's friggin cold outside and it's already snowed.

dante's advice is pretty good for starters. I'm not really sure how bad it is in Wyoming, but I can't imagine it's any worse than Michigan. I don't bother with boots, I wear tennis shoes, but if you're going to be outside a lot then you might want to get some comfortable insulated boots. The style doesn't matter so much as for your own preference, just make sure they are insulated and water proof.

The one time hand warmers might be nice for you if you're really averse to the cold. I don't usually wear gloves unless I'm going to be outside for a very long time, but if you are going to be outside a lot, you might want to get some and stick them in your gloves when you get cold.

As for a coat, I think you can figure that out when you get to the store and see the selection. I have a nice coat with a wind breaker on the outside so the wind never gets to me, and a fleece lining. It's extremely warm and toasty, and all the access points (collar, waist, cuffs) have drawstrings so you can pull it closed and stay even warmer. But that's going to come down to personal preference too. It depends on what kind of lining you want, whether or not you want a hood (sometimes they're nice, sometimes they are annoying, so maybe get a detatchable one that snaps or zips on and off).

Check to see what kind of window washing fluid is in your car. I don't know what they sell down there, but you want to make sure it's rated for the cold, otherwise it's going to freeze in your resevoir and it won't dispense, and you NEED your wiper fluid to dispense. When snow is on the ground, it's going to mix with dirt and cars in front of you will kick it up onto your windshield. Wiping it off will work a little, but it's likely to smear and make it impossible to see. I went last Winter without mine because the motor died on the dispenser, and it was a nightmare, and stupidly dangerous. So make sure you have fluid in there that is rated to like -30 degrees. With the wind chill it gets nearly that cold here too often to take the chance. It's not any more expensice, heck they sell it at 7-11s, but you want to be prepared.

Another thing it might be a good idea to keep in your car is one of those emergency one time battery jumpers. You stick them in your cigarette lighter socket and they jump your car battery in case it's dead. You don't want to be stuck out in the cold with a dead battery waiting for help to come.

I'm not sure what else you'd need to know. Get a good shovel for the snow if you're living in a house and will be shoveling your own walk and driveway, or spring for a snowblower if you don't really feel like shoveling. If you DO shovel, take care with your shovel. Lots of people die every year or really mess up their backs from lifting heavy snow the wrong way, and the type of shovel you buy can make it a lot easier. Don't just grab any old shovel, look into it. You'll also want to get some salt too in case of icing issues, or they sell better stuff but I can't think of the name for it that REALLY cuts through the ice better than salt, but it's expensive, so I rarely buy it.

Warm clothes I'm sure will be a no brainer. Don't underestimate the power of a good scarf. They can be incredibly warm and for that matter, quite fashionable, right where you need it at your neck. Make sure you get some comfy warm clothes too for lounging around the house. Get a nice pair of fleece or flannel PJ pants, some fleece or woolen socks (my skin doesn't react well to wool so I wear a lot of fleece or flannel), and some warm sweatshirts or sweaters that won't be too warm but won't leave you chilly indoors.

Also, I don't know what type of bedding you have, but two things to consider investing in that have made my Winters better than summers: A. Goose down comforter. B. Nice flannel sheets. Let me tell you something, my pre-comforter pre-flannel sheet days were awful. I sleep in the coldest room of the house, so I'd have to pile about a half dozen home made afghans on top of me and wait a good hour before my body warmed up my little cocoon enough to fall asleep. Plus the sheets themselves were freezing. But flannel sheets are like slipping into a giant comfy shell of luxurious warmth (I REALLY love my sheets), and a nice goose down comforter on top might be all you need to keep you warm AND super comfortable. I still have two of those home made afghans I put on top to really keep my comfy, but the comforter works alone in the Sept-December range. Now when I get into bed I'm instantly warm, and I fall asleep very quickly. The only downside is that it's so much harder to get up in the morning when you're that comfortable. Since you're from the south, you might need a little something extra, so you can consider either buying an electric blanket or an electric mattress pad. I personally don't like electric blankets, but I used to have a mattress pad to heat up the bed before I got in, which helped. Though I think a nice set of flannel sheets work just as well. I have the Northern Nights brand, and my comforter was from JCPenneys.

My final piece of Winter advice is to invest in this. There are lots of other types and brands and designs out there, so look around, and I don't even know if you LIKE hot chocolate, but this thing is a godsend. I think all the northern states should create some sort of honorary award for Black and Decker. We use this thing in my family all the time to make hot chocolate and it's always delicious and just the right temperature to warm you up without burning your throat. Many a Winter night were saved with this thing.

Also consider getting a Hotshot. It's a little more versatile than the cocomotion, in that you can use it to make a single cup of cocoa, or to make a nice cup of tea. I mean a good kettle works too, but the water takes about 15 seconds to heat up and then it's ready to go. I use it for tea in the Winter. All you do is fill up a cup, poor the water in the top, tell it to heat it up, and 15 seconds later you dispense it right back into the cup and throw a tea bag in. Magic.

If I think of anything else I'll post it here later.

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Kwea
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You can put any warm drink in an insulated flask, and that does help.

Make sure you have an ice scraper or two, and keep an extra set of warm weather clothes (and at least 2 pairs of socks) in your car. That way if you break down you are covered.

Also I usually kept a blanket or something in the back seat. You can buy one of those reflective emergency blankets for about $55-10, and they can literally be a life saver.


Make sure you are aware of the plowing regulations/schedules when you park. A snow plow can and will ruin your car in a heartbeat and not really even notice it did it.

Don't skimp on gloves, buy a really, really good pair of them. Same thing goes for a coat. The ski type jackets, even the lower end ones these days, often come with a removable inner fleece coat, which can be used by itself for colder spring days.

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Mucus
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I hide in my Igloo
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andi330
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quote:
Originally posted by dantesparadigm:
I find the best defense against the cold is a nice, full flask. You'll also want warm, wooly sock, those make a big difference. You want a scraper and snow tires for your car, and always give it time to warm up before driving anywhere. A warm hat and ear muffs also help.

-Greg, formally of Maine, now in college in Rhode Island.

A flask full of what exactly. Alcohol will actually make you more susceptible to the cold and hypothermia. Here is an article explaining why.
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ketchupqueen
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I prefer flannel sheets and an electric blanket.

Also a nice wool coat (get mine at the thrift store-- sadly, I think I've now developed an allergy [Frown] ) or another warm coat such as from Land's End, to go over lined jeans, turtleneck sweaters, and long underwear (again, Land's End is your friend-- they make really nice silk ones.) I love fuzzy socks and fleece slippers and a good pair of sweats with a flannel robe around the house. Hats are your friend for sure. Go to the sports store and get some really good socks, the kind that are designed to keep your feet warm even after you've hiked through 3 miles of sleet and snow. You won't regret that one. Also good boots to go with, of course. And ScotchGard your boots every month to keep them more water-repellent.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
"Winter" . . . I've heard of that . . .

One of my best friends just moved to Florida for grad school, and likes to call me every day to tell me that it's sunny and 70 down there, and then giggles maniacally when I tell her it's overcast and 35 here, which is actually a little cold for October, but it's all the same for six months really.

But we agreed that in Michigan anyway, we have three seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, and then Fall again. Spring and Fall are the same thing really. One day it's 70 degress and then the next week it's in the mid-50's and you wonder where Summer went. Spring is mid-50's and then one day it's 70.

Florida on the other hand just has one season of varying degrees. Summer, Summer, Diet Summer, Summer again.

I'm going to have to bring her a snowball when I visit her this Winter. Still, for the grumbling I do, I still love Winter. Maybe I wouldn't mind moving a little further south so the Winter was a little more mild, but it could be a LOT worse. My brother's fiancee lives on the upper west side of Michigan, (near the base of the pinky finger using Mitten Geography), and it's considerably colder and they get all that lake effect snow. I think I can do without that.

Hank -

I didn't realize how big my post was, and most of it is just me waxing about flannel sheets. Sorry!

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maui babe
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
"Winter" . . . I've heard of that . . .

I even sort of remember it ... we call it "whale season" here. [Big Grin]
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
sadly, I think I've now developed an allergy

I actually looked into wool allergies awhile back. I get a really bad itchy rash whenever my skin comes into prolonged contact with wool. When I looked it up, I found that very, very few people have an actual allergy to wool, but that a large portion of the population can have a sensitivity to it of varying degrees. It sucks too because I love wool sweaters, but that just means I have to wear a layer undernearth that fully protects me from the sweater. They're delightfully warm.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Florida on the other hand just has one season of varying degrees. Summer, Summer, Diet Summer, Summer again.

California has a bit more variety, but without the nasty weather that makes me so sick and miserable. Winter is something I enjoy visiting for about 2-3 days. Then I want to go home!
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dantesparadigm
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quote:
A flask full of what exactly. Alcohol will actually make you more susceptible to the cold and hypothermia. Here is an article explaining why.
Well I guess I've been doing it wrong. Although I'm not really at risk of getting hypothermia, and feeling warmer does matter to me. Does that stuff have any positive aspects?
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luthe
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When you car begins to slide on ice, don't stomp the breaks. When traveling up hill in snowy/icy conditions, you have to go ahead and go, while it may feel safer to go very slowly this will only get you stuck on the hillside, at which point you will likely have to allow your car to slide backwards down the hill till you find a spot where you tires will grip the road again. All the coat and glove stuff is pretty simple, if you are cold you need to wear another layer/get better gloves and anyone regardless of where they are from can handle it. Driving in winter conditions is something that does take some practice. And no having four wheel drive doesn't make you immune from these concerns.
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SenojRetep
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Fill your windshield wiper fluid resevoir; if they salt or sand your roads, you'll be glad.

Sneakers are good in winter to prevent sliding on ice; if you're not actually walking through snow, I would probably stick with those over winter boots.

Around here, you need to keep a snow shovel in your car, in case a snow plow buries you in a parking lot and you have to dig yourself out.

I imagine the Wyoming plateau is pretty windy; I would suggest having a coat and a windbreaker. In general, layers are helpful, because you can adjust to indoor, outdoor, in the car, etc. by taking them off or putting them on.

If you have sensitive skin, you might find some good hand lotion. Winter can really dry out my hands and I apply Cetaphil with some regularity.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
sadly, I think I've now developed an allergy

I actually looked into wool allergies awhile back. I get a really bad itchy rash whenever my skin comes into prolonged contact with wool. When I looked it up, I found that very, very few people have an actual allergy to wool, but that a large portion of the population can have a sensitivity to it of varying degrees. It sucks too because I love wool sweaters, but that just means I have to wear a layer undernearth that fully protects me from the sweater. They're delightfully warm.
Well, it starts as a sensitivity, but my sensitivities develop into allergies. I've been gaining about one new allergy a year since I was 17. I started with itchiness wearing my wool coats, then rash, then hives, and now I can't go near a sheep without tearing up and breaking out in hives (they had them at the petting zoo.) I also seem to react to goats, lambskin, and lanolin, though I have no problem with EATING lamb (well, as long as it's cooked the way I like it. [Wink] )
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Noemon
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Every time I see this thread I curse the fact that A Dance With Dragons hasn't even gone to the publisher yet.
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Samprimary
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there's a few things that people learn when going through their initial vehicular winters, assuming that they don't have a garage and/or for whatever reason they didn't have their car indoors that night. have two keys. go out, unlock car, start car, lock car with car running, keep second key to open door with later. then hack the ice off later once the windows are partially defrosted. way easier. that's the straightforward part.

but what a lot of people don't know is that when you are driving in the cold and you have your heat on, make sure to have your car set to cycle air in from the exterior. if you aren't, your windows fog up.

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Carrie
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
But we agreed that in Michigan anyway, we have three seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, and then Fall again.

...

Florida on the other hand just has one season of varying degrees. Summer, Summer, Diet Summer, Summer again.

Well, Wisconsin has three seasons - Packer, Winter and Road Construction. [Wink]
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Artemisia Tridentata
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Some one mentioned getting a hat. Better still, wear a hat. Get several hats for different occasions. Then, wear one of them. Whenever you go outside, even for a little while, wear a hat. If it's sunny wear a hat with a brim. If it's windy (you did say Wyoming?)wear a hat that ties on. Perhaps next June, you can switch to wearing a hat just for the sun. Until then wear a hat.
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The Rabbit
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Hank, What part of Wyoming?

Montana has 4 seasons. Almost winter, winter, still winter and out of town guests. I'm betting you've got the same 4 in Wyoming.


I hardily recommend Blizzac snow tires from firestone. Their may be other brands as well that feature a special super grippy rubber. They are much better than studded tires for stopping and not sliding once you are moving and only slightly less effective for getting started on an icy road. In my experience being able to stop on ice is much more important than being able to start.

I also recommend a good pair of boots. In Bozeman MT there is a place call "Schnee's Boots and Shoes" that sells their own brand "Schnee's Boots" that have great soft soles that don't slip as much on ice. I have no idea if they are available elsewhere. My husband runs on the warm side, so he has uninsulated boots with room for extra socks. I run on the cold side so I have insulated boots with room for extra socks.

Get wool or wool blend socks. None of the synthetics work nearly as well as wool.

When its really cold out, you need insulation on your legs and not just a coat. When I live in Montana, I wore silk longies all winter long. You can often get a good deal on them from Sierra Trading Post. I also love my fleece pants. When its really cold out you don't need to worry much about water resistance cause everything is sold phase but some sort of nylon over pants that don't stick to snow are very useful if you skiing, snowshoeing or just playing in the snow.

Remember, cotton kills. It's great for warm humid climates like the south where you grew up but it looses all of its insulative value when wet. More than one person has died of hypothermia because they were wearing cotton.

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aiua
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Carrie: Spot on!

I originally came to Saint Louis from Wisconsin because I thought, hey, it's more southern, it must be warmer in the winter!

So not true.

The weather here is actually completely ridiculous. Over the course of two days: Umbrella and sunglasses, winter coat and swim suit.
My friends tell me it's snowing back home. I think I'm going to miss that.

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The Rabbit
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I highly recommend the The Turtle's Neck by Turtle Fur. Its soft and warm. You can wear it around your kneck, or pull it up over your mouth and nose if its really cold. You can ever fold it in half and use it as an earband.

Also, always carry a spare pair of mittens or gloves. They can be a life saver.

Put a shovel and an emergency blanket in your car.

Drive slowly and leave lots of room between you and the person in front of you.

If you can walk to where you are going, do it rather than driving. On snowy days, I found that by the time I scraped the snow and ice off my car, it would have been faster walking home from work so I started walking. I was surprised to find in Montana that I was generally much colder driving than walking for short trips. For short trips, there isn't enough time for the car to warm up enough to keep you warm and you aren't moving and making heat. Letting your car warm up in the drive way before you leave home is a waste of time and gas and you generally don't even have that option on the way home. Plus, my car was safer and cleaner sitting in my garage.

Take your shoes off at the door. The sand, ashes and salt they spread around to melt the snow will reek havoc on your floors. Keep a pair of warm slippers and a shoe wrack by your door.

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Teshi
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We've got three inches of snow here. Winter's come.
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Pegasus
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Snow Tires.

Please don't consider driving in the snow with anything else. I have not found studded tires to be worth it, plus many states outlaw them in the summer. Get your car "winterized" at a local reputable shop. Keep some emergency supplies in the car like blankets, a flashlight, and a first aid kit. I'm sure you can find a good list somewhere.

On winter driving, gentleness is key. Slow acceleration and slow braking are mandatory, no sudden turns, allow plenty of room and time to slow to a stop. Occasionally you may have to run a fresh red light cause you just can't stop that fast. Also, bridges freeze way before the other parts of the road do. Beware of black ice, it looks like just a patch of wetness on the road but it will put you into a tree if you're not careful.

On the plus side, many winter accidents are low speed and you just end up in a soft snowbank. AAA service is well worth it.

On icy mornings, consider turning on the car with the heat/defroster on full blast for 10-15 minutes. The ice will slide right off the glass instead of you having to chip it away.

Beware of frozen pipes in your home. This causes much damage, and is can be prevented by being aware of problem area and insulating the pipes, or letting the water run a little. If your house is not well insulated, you will spend a fortune in heating bills. One easy observation is icicles. If you have snow on the roof, and the temperature has been steadily below freezing. There should be little to none icicles forming and hanging off the roof. If there are, then that means your roof is poorly insulated and heat is going right through it and melting the snow. Most house don't require shoveling the snow off the roof due to the extreme weight of it, but some do. Some of these potential problems may be more common for some here in Maine due to having older houses.

Keep your walkways as clear as possible of snow and ice. Firstly, in many places the residents are responsible for keeping the sidewalks clear in front of their own house. Secondly, if you are not vigilant about clearing the walkways, the snow and ice will get entrenched in and uneven, making it much more difficult to clean/shovel out later.

If you burn wood, be sure to use/buy wood that has been properly dried for about a year. Green wood burns poorly. Insurance companies sometimes require ghastly looking metal sheeting on the walls near woodstoves. Your insurance may be cheaper if you don't have one, but it is good to have a back-up form of heat for when the power is out. Oh yeah, if you can, get a generator. You will be glad of it.

That's about all that come to mind at the moment.

Edit: Looking back I see that I repeated a bunch of things... oh well. [Smile]

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Pegasus
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
Every time I see this thread I curse the fact that A Dance With Dragons hasn't even gone to the publisher yet.

Don't even get my hopes up like that! [Grumble]
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
We've got three inches of snow here. Winter's come.

Bah! It snows every month of the year in parts of Wyoming. The first day I taught at Montana State in Bozeman was in August and I woke up to 6 inches of new fallen snow.

In the Rocky Mountains snow does not mean winter.

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andi330
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quote:
Originally posted by dantesparadigm:
quote:
A flask full of what exactly. Alcohol will actually make you more susceptible to the cold and hypothermia. Here is an article explaining why.
Well I guess I've been doing it wrong. Although I'm not really at risk of getting hypothermia, and feeling warmer does matter to me. Does that stuff have any positive aspects?
Not that I can really tell. If you take around an insulated flask with a hot beverage like coffee, tea or hot chocolate, that would help you feel warm and wouldn't have the negative side effects that alcohol does.
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T:man
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Chicago has 4 seasons: Don't go outside (cold), Still cold, Don't go out (Hot), Still hot....
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T:man
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

But we agreed that in Michigan anyway, we have three seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, and then Fall again. Spring and Fall are the same thing really. One day it's 70 degress and then the next week it's in the mid-50's and you wonder where Summer went. Spring is mid-50's and then one day it's 70.

Kinda like here, except in the middle of "still hot" its suddenly 40 degrees, then the next day its 70 again....
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Mucus
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We only have two seasons here in Canada. Penguin season and polar bear season. For some reason, they both steal our imported Coca-Cola.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Carrie:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
But we agreed that in Michigan anyway, we have three seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, and then Fall again.

...

Florida on the other hand just has one season of varying degrees. Summer, Summer, Diet Summer, Summer again.

Well, Wisconsin has three seasons - Packer, Winter and Road Construction. [Wink]
[Smile] We have that joke too, without the Packer. Summer, Winter and Road Construction.

Hank -

As far as driving goes, all you really need to do is just go slower. Accelerate slower, brake slower, don't drive too fast because you're going to skid and slide a lot more. Just slow down and take it easy. As far as brakes go, if you have anti-lock brakes you can slam on them, and then just steer in the direction you want to go (always steer towards where you want to go, don't overcorrect). But if you do NOT have anti-lock brakes, you'll need to pump your brakes, otherwise you're going to skid and slide all over the place if you're braking on ice.

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andi330
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I wouldn't recommend slamming your brakes on even if you do have anti-lock. While they will pump themselves, you have to literally slam the brakes to activate that function, which could still cause you to go into a skid.
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Amilia
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If you have to leave your car outside overnight, put an old sheet over the windshield. Shut the doors over the ends to keep it from blowing off. Then, in the morning, you don't have to scrape your windshield, you just take the sheet off!
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rivka
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Mucus, how do the penguins get that far north?
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Lyrhawn
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Zoo escapees from all the northern states. They fled north and formed a little enclave.

I've seen Madagascar, they're cunning and wily. Totally believable.

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rivka
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. . . .

uh.

Suuuuure.

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Mucus
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I don't know, but here's some video evidence from my Handicam
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIk7Q_DJIgQ

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rivka
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You live in an animated world?

So everything I've heard about Canada is really true!

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
You live in an animated world?

So everything I've heard about Canada is really true!

Which only proves my theory...
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Hank
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Sorry I haven't checked back in. Thanks to everyone! There's a lot of great suggestions, and those that are repeated must be extra-important.

I did want to ask what stores you guys might recommend I've seen Land's End and Sierra Trading Post. Are there any others that you think have really good cold-weather gear?

Oh, and I'm just outside Jackson, Wyoming, so: the bumpy part, not the windy part.

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Lyrhawn
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For the most part, as far as warmth goes, I think they're all pretty much the same. You'll be able to tell fairly well when you put it on from the kind of heft it has whether or not it's a heavy or light coat. Goretex will keep coats from getting soaked and keep a lot of the wind out while still being breathable, so you can check to see if the coat has it.
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The Rabbit
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Hank, I probably don't have to tell you that you will pay a premium for anything you buy in Jackson but you may want to go into stores and try on some coats and then look for similar ones from catalogs. I've had excellent luck with mail order from (internet) from Sierra Trading Post and Campmor.

Living in Jackson, getting soaked isn't going to be a big problem in Winter so I wouldn't spend extra to get Gortex, the less expensive waterproof coatings like Ultrex are more than adequate.

The temperatures will vary a lot so what you want is a loose fitting shell that you can put lots of layers under. I like the ones with a zip out fleece lining but it also works fine to mix and match various fleece jackets and shells that don't zip together. Just make sure that the shell is loose enough to accommodate lots of layers.

Down has lots of advantages but its completely worthless when it gets wet.

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Epictetus
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Drive slowly and don't let people who tailgate you influence your speed.

Also, if you have an older car, if the battery doesn't die this winter, it has a good chance of dieing the next winter. At least, that's my experience with Utah winters and my 1990 Corolla (recently deceased). I guess what I'm saying is, take your car to a mechanic for a checkup before the next winter starts.

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advice for robots
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Hey, Hank, we're practically neighbors. I'm in Idaho Falls, about 1.5 hours from you. One word of advice--don't go over that mountain pass to Victor in the winter. I drove it last August and it was scary enough then. Stick to non-mountain roads whenever possible.

Have you been to the Tetons yet? Wow.

You might want to consider getting a block heater on your engine. If you're parking your car outside, sometimes plugging that block heater in at night is the only way you'll get your car started the next morning.

Hat, scarf, gloves = necessities. A nice heavy coat is wonderful. Layers work really well. Put boots and a shovel in the trunk. A bag of sand or gravel and some carpet strips might help you get out of a snowbank.

Make sure your wipers work and that windshield fluid can get on them. Nothing like the car in front of you splashing dirty slush on your windshield and not being able to clean it off.

Ummm... Invest in a _good_ window scraper with a long handle and brush. An old credit card works in a pinch. Always put on your gloves to scrape the windows. Clean snow will clean your windshield in a pinch--just grab it from a snowbank and rub it over the windshield.

Don't ever assume you can accelerate out in front of oncoming traffic when doing a left turn. Always assume you'll take 5 extra seconds spinning your tires before you get going. Always assume you will fishtail before straightening out on the road. Then you will wait for the road to be clear before venturing out on it.

Shovel your walk/driveway as often as possible. You might avoid the perma-ice that builds up on it. Don't drive or even walk on new-fallen snow until you've shoveled it--the pressure makes nice hard ice tracks that will stay there all winter.

Don't invest in a snowblower unless you're willing to do your entire block every time it snows, and probably the church lot too. That is all.

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The Rabbit
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If at all possible, park your car in a garage. Cars fare much better in a garage during harsh winters.
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