On Mother’s Day of 2012, I got into an accident and my car was totaled. I had left my Mom’s house and drove home on a road I’d used hundreds of times. As I approached an intersection, an old Chevy Pickup pulled out in front of me. My little Mazda Protege didn’t stand a chance.
One thing about that car that I miss the most is that it was good in the snow. On several occasions I deliberately took it down unplowed streets. I wanted to see just how much snow it would take to get it stuck. Even with its low profile tires, it took a lot before I ever had to get out and start digging.
When it came time to replace my little Mazda, my wife suggested that I get an SUV. It would make for easier traveling with our daughter (I had so little room in the Protege that the passenger had their knees against the glove compartment due to the baby-seat in the back). While an SUV would have been more practical, I didn’t want to pay higher insurance premiums or spend a small fortune to fill the gas tank.
I settled on something in a hatchback and my wife suggested I test drive a Dodge Caliber. It just so happened that my father-in-law stumbled onto one. I got it from the dealer on a two-day test drive and found it to be an okay car.
The Caliber has enough room for two adults to sit comfortably in the back. The trunk space was plenty big for what I anticipated on using it for and, in a pinch, I could fold down the rear seats and get even more storage space.
I wasn’t crazy about the CVT Transmission (this would be the first car I ever owned that wasn’t a manual) but the price was right and I was out of time. I needed a car and the Caliber would have to be it.
The car didn’t really become a problem until my first winter with it. I quickly learned that it was just plain awful in the snow. I suppose a set of chains or snow tires would help a great deal but I find it easier to avoid driving on snow covered roads, unless I absolutely have to.
Earlier today I had my worst experience in the Dodge Caliber. I was supposed to meet up with the Ross Family at Stowe Archers for some practice. We got some snow yesterday and I wasn’t sure if the private drive, leading up a giant hill towards the clubhouse, would be cleared.
I debated backing out of the practice session but my daughter really wanted to go. We packed our bows and headed down to the club. I slowed as I approached the private drive leading up to the club. The drive looked clear so I made the turn.
The first 20 feet, or so, of the drive was clear. Ahead of me was a long snow-covered climb. Things started out okay and it looked like we might just make it. I made it a couple hundred feet up the hill, to the steepest part, when I lost traction. My tires broke free and we started to slide backwards down the hill.
I got the car stopped and assessed the situation. Without momentum, getting up the remainder of the hill would be impossible. I had to back down the hill and hope I didn’t wind up in someones yard. I began to creep slowly down the hill, barely letting off the brake as I went.
Things were off to a good start when suddenly my anti-lock brakes kicked in and the tires broke free. We started picking up speed and the car stalled, now I had a stiff break pedal and no power steering. We slid for quite a ways before I was able to get the car started again and come to a complete stop.
My heart is racing and I’m trying to settle my nerves before moving again when my daughter starts talking to me. “You should call Pop Pop. His truck has a big hook on it and he could pull us out. He can fix any cars or trucks. He can even fix traffic!. “Pop Pop can get us out of here”. (My father-in-law has a body shop and does a lot of towing – we weren’t terribly far from his shop when this happened).
I couldn’t help but laugh at how nonchalant she was. Here I am thinking we might wind up sliding off the drive and doing substantial damage to my car and someone’s property and my daughter doesn’t have a care in the world.
The worst part was over and I was able to get us back to the main road with no other issues. As I began driving home, my daughter got upset. She wanted me to park the car so that we could walk up the hill. I really wanted to shoot my bow but somehow the mood was lost when we went sliding backwards down that hill.