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7 Essential items for the Colorado Winter



7 essential items to keep in your vehicle
Are you prepared for winter driving?

I hope each of you had a great 2013 and happy 2014 to each of you.  I look forward to working with you on your non-conventional real estate loans in the New Year.

I wanted to share a quick story.  I’m sure everyone has heard the old adage: “the worst decisions make the best stories”. With that in mind my last inspection of the year was in winterpark on Tuesday the 31st.  It was snowing like crazy, on the pass there was a 4wd vehicle upside down resting on its roof going up the pass.  This drive reminded me of how quickly conditions change in the high country and brought me back to an incident in 2012.  I had an inspection North of Winter Park.  I was inspecting a large home on acreage.  All of the comparables I was looking at also were large homes on acreage.  I take pictures of all of the comparables to make sure we are okay on the subject property value.

I go to look at my first comparable.  As I turn off the main highway onto a rural road; it is -20 with snow packed roads (the low that evening is supposed to get around -40).  I drive down the rural unmarked road for about 5 miles off the main highway, I finally find the house I am looking at.  At this point it is snowing like crazy and there is around 4 inches of fresh snow on the road, with snow piled up on the side of the road 4 feet high and greater. I had not seen a single car since I turned off the highway.   I go to make a u turn and head back to the highway.  It is impossible to see where the edge of the road is.  Suddenly my rear wheel slips into the ditch.  I look down, still no cell reception….

As my tire slips into the ditch, I gun it to try and get out of the snow bank, no luck.  The thermometer now says -25, I have no cell reception and I am definitely stuck.  Nobody was going to find me for a while on this road.  Fortunately I was prepared.  I put on my winter parka, hat, and gloves and grabbed the shovel I keep in the back.  After an hour or so, I was able to dig out around the wheels.  I got back in the car, put the car in the lowest drive (also disable the traction control—vdc, it gives the wheels more power disabled) and gunned it.  I was finally out of the snow bank.  Fortunately the story turned out well for me.  It is amazing how many people venture into the high country without the correct supplies relying on their cell phone if they get into a jam (outside of the major interstates, cell service is very spotty due to the topography of Colorado)

I drove 30k miles throughout Colorado last year and always carry a number of essentials.  Below are seven essential items I carry in my Subaru during the winter (these are the highlights, obviously each situation is unique so modify for your specific needs):

  1. Cell Phone and Charger, don’t rely on it to bail you out in the backcountry but good to have (note google maps is terrible on rural roads, print out some paper maps if you are going off the main roads)
  2. Shovel
  3. Blanket or sleeping bag to keep you warm in case you have to stay the night unexpected
  4. Extra warm clothes, heavy jacket (I keep an ll bean parka in the back made for -30 temps), hat, gloves, warm socks, boots, etc…
  5. Extra food and water  ( I keep 3 or 4 waters/Gatorades and some Powerbars in the glove box)
  6. Portable jump starter ( I have a small black and decker unit that slips under the seat), it is a good insurance policy if your car doesn’t start
  7. Extra windshield washer fluid (not the cheap kind, make sure it is the winter rated fluid so it doesn’t freeze up)
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