-34. -34. -34. That’s what we woke up to the past few days. I don’t think it warmed up above -25 along the river at the job. I was able to plug in the truck all day, which was nice, and I did let it warm up for about five minutes before I left for home on Thursday. Still, it was a tad nippy and I actually put on a hat as I climbed back out of the truck to close the cattle gate at the end of the drive. Before you ask, I really have no idea why there is a cattle gate there; a moose will simply jump over it if it wants to show off and people seem to just walk around. I have yet to see a cow out there. No pigs either, in case you were curious.
I’ve lost one of our radio stations here in town as it went 24/7 Christmas on us, so I’ve been desperate & have moved along the dial a bit more than usual in an effort to avoid commercials. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a Fairbanks radio ad campaign. It’s Special.
The radio announcer claimed that the new single by Bruno Mars was up next. I had no idea what Bruno was singing about these days, so I hit the volume button up one notch, with the idea that I can always jump over to Burl Ives on the other station if Bruno really sucks.
I had forgotten that the radio doesn’t like it at -30. The volume button stuck on + and Mr Mars kept getting louder & louder. I hit the – side of the button and Bruno would get real quiet, only to climb right back up to full volume. Bruno & I fought like this for the next five miles or so when the button finally stayed stuck on quiet.
It took a few more miles, the truck warmed up enough for me to ditch the damn hat, and then the volume button popped out and the sound increased again. I figured life was good, but it was a false warming and I had to pound the dash with my gloved hand until the little hand warmer packet in my palm burst and I had vermiculite and carbon everywhere, but I managed to get the radio stuck on quiet again.
It took 20 miles, when I was 5 miles from home, for the truck to warm up enough for the radio to function properly.
Oddly enough, I still have no idea what Bruno is singing about these days.
Last night after a hockey game, I was almost home when I heard a nasty squealing sound and a nice clean “whack” come from under the hood. I drove for a little bit knowing what had happened, and sure enough, the temperature gauge started to rise. The fan belt had broke. It happens all the time up here in the subzero cold, there are serpentine belts scattered about at all the intersections, but I had never been betrayed by a fan belt before.
I nursed the truck home, borrowed a friend’s truck this morning for a NAPA run, and came back with two new belts. Luckily, it had warmed up to -35 when I was out there replacing it in my mukluks and +35 layers of clothing.
Serpentine belts are evil things at thirty-five degrees below fracking zero.
I drove a ’66 Chevy truck up here for damn near 15 years, and I never had to worry about the radio knob getting all psycho when the mercury dropped. I never had a v-belt break either! And don’t even get me started on the power windows when there is too much frost on the glass…
Modern conveniences are only convenient when you have a heated garage.
P.S. Wow. Wisconsin really kicked Nebraska’s ass. Welcome to the Big 10/12/14.