December 3rd, 2005


Worst trip ever

Travis and I decided a couple weeks ago that we'd be coming to visit my mom in PA this weekend. Like good sons, we got in the car and left after Travis got home from work. I decided to take my car because it has more room, and we would be bringing some stuff back (namely, luggage for my trip to India). Travis got in the driver's seat before I got a chance to argue, and away we went. It was dark out at this point and we headed south through New York without incident. The construction in Corning was looking pretty impressive, though we didn't get a good luck at it, being that it was dark.

We entered PA, and got on 15, which is a 4 lane 65mph road. We were on there for all of 5 miles before we were forced off at an exit. I figured there was an accident ahead and didn't think much about it, so we took business 15 to Arby's in Mansfield, grabbed something and continued on our way, expecting to get on 15 at the next interchange. Sadly, that was closed too. I was slightly confused. It was snowing a bit, but nothing terrible, so we continued on back roads that paralleled 15, hoping to get on the next interchange. No such luck, that was closed too. We stopped to ask the fire-police what was up. Bad conditions, lots of accidents. Ok, I just need to get to Williamsport at this point, can you help me out, I said? Yeah, take this road, to this road, to the windy twisty, narrow, and probably slippery road to the route 14, which will take you to 15 again. Great, I grumbled. We did as he said, and the narrow, twisty, windy road was just as he described. Despite the crappy road, we didn't have a problem, except for visibility. It seemed the winter tires were doing their job.

We finally got to Route 14, and headed toward Williamsport. We got back on 15 and started making good time. The roads were pretty good, and we decided to take route 180 around Williamsport instead of stating on 15, which goes through the hills. Good plan we thought. We made good time for about 5 miles when all the sudden we saw 30 or 40 cars stopped on the side of the road. Hmph, we thought. The car in front of us decided it would be a good idea to stop, so he did, then promptly slid left across two lanes of traffic into the median. Well, I thought, this sucks. A tractor trailer decided he'd tempt fate and pulled ahead, slightly jack-knifing in front of us before regaining control. At this point, we knew the winter tires were doing their job. We forged ahead, past all the cars stuck on the ice. We went slowly for the next 4-5 miles before being forced off the interstate again. Grrr.

We poked our way around Muncy, PA for a while before finding a road that was open that paralleled 180. We got on it and immediately noticed a giant ice covered hill in front of us. Great. We slowly climbed the hill and got to the top, only to notice an even bigger downhill on the other side. At this point I was ready to cry, as the cars in front of us slid across the road, only to regain control at the last minute. We made it down the hill and continued on until the road dried out. Travis, his skilled driving, my AWD car with Bridgestone Blizzak Revo1's had NO PROBLEM whatsoever. We took in slow, but never lost traction (except once when Travis was trying to do it intentionally).

In short, the tires are about the coolest thing ever. I know for a fact that if I had my all seasons on, I would have gotten stuck on ice, and ended up in a ditch. The ability for those tires to grip on ice is simply amazing. The road was slick enough that if we had gotten out of the car and tried to walk, we would have fallen down. So, despite the fact that it took us over 7 hours to make a 4 1/2 trip, and is something I'd rather not do again, it was an experience which was memorable, and a test for the tires which was unparalleled. We were 150 miles from Rochester and 150 miles from Lancaster when we ran into trouble, with ice both ahead and behind us, pretty much doomed. I will be buying another set of these tires, without question, when these wear out.