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Friday, March 3, 2017

Driving at 33 Below Zero

The dash at the airport drop off this morning

The last couple of mornings have been cold ones in Fairbanks.  At least for me.  I'm from Kodiak in Alaska's 'banana belt', and it never gets this cold.  While here in Fairbanks it routinely hits 40 below during a normal winter and even gets into the negative 50's on occasion.  But this 'banana belter' is impressed when it gets to 30 below zero.

Here it is all about plugging the car in at night and auto starts.  Yesterday I started my car remotely from inside the hotel with the auto start, and went and ate breakfast while the car warmed up.  Somehow it felt wrong - wouldn't someone steal the car?  My rental has an incongruous extension cord sticking out from under the hood and every night I plugged the car in to keep the engine block warm.  It was a bit of a 'musical chairs' thing looking for a parking spot with a plug in.  I found it funny to see a row of plugged in cars - it is not something you see everyday.

Driving in the cold is bizarre.  At stoplights all the cars emit white plumes of frost.  It gets really bad when everybody accelerates - clouds of white fog.  At times I could not even see the tail lights of the car ahead of me and was tempted to stop.  But I also realized that the person behind could not see my tail lights!  So I blundered ahead into the white fog.

It is also beautiful.  Smokestacks have huge straight plumes of steam, and at sunrise the sky is a surreal blue with orange on the horizon.

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