Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Tuesday, December 28, 2010:
I hit the mainland for the first time since the white-out and was a tad stunned at the lesser amount of snow over there – a mere three or
four miles away. Not that there isn’t plenty of whiteness – and Route 72 is a
long way being its old self (6 p.m.)
– but there simply isn’t nearly as much snow as on the Island.
Fact in point, as you dive onto the Island, notice the
size of the plowed snow banks in Ship Bottom.
A couple important Manahawkin snow notes: The first turn off Rte. 72 after the last bridge westbound (Margo’s Bridge) – the one right near
Tonnesen’s B&T – hasn’t been plowed out at all. It just isn’t there. Do not
slow down or look for that turning lane. If you want to get on Old
Bay Avenue, wait until you get to the first light.
And even that turn-off is kinda restricted.
The road in and out of Pathmark and Wal-Mart is downright dangerous! It’s hideous, slippery and narrow. I almost had one of those little
local buses sideslip into me as we passed in opposite directions. It wasn’t the
bus driver’s fault. That piece of roadway is a sheet of packed snow and ice.
Every time it frickin’ snows that 100 yard stretch of road to the Pathmark parking
lot is pathetic. The rest of the parking area in that plaza is decently plowed.
The wide roadway off 72 going into Target and that suburban sprawl zone is pretty clear and passable.
Which brings up the point of utter stupidity. Yes, it somehow does. The storm is barely gone and many motorists are zipping the f***
around like it’s just a Sunday drive. I have vehicles going down my stretch of 18th
Street in Ship Bottom at a solid 30 mph, despite
patches of ice that can throw them into multiple spins. I hear the same
complaint from other folks all over the Island and
mainland. While everyone likes to blame young drivers – and they’re surely part
of the problem -- I’ll tell you right now I just got done watching a load of
seniors on the zip – bent over steering wheels, clutching it with two hands,
seemingly being intently careful but still flying along Rte. 72 – and even down
side streets. What the frig is up with that, Grandma?
A quick 4WD note. While using 4WD does help a bit in crunchy ice and fresh snow conditions, it CANNOT stand up to the likes of slick ice
patches and hard-packed snow. An SUV will gladly spin out like nobody’s
business, especially when driven with the glaring attitude, “I’ve got a 4WD
vehicle. It can handle all this winter stuff.” My ass it can. And novice
4WDrivers find this out very quickly after storms like this. So what’s the best
type vehicle on ice and packed snow: front-wheel drive by a country mile.
Personal driving note: While I’m one of those 4WDrivers not overly enamored with modern Antilock Brake Systems (ABS), especially those that
kick in and begin shuttering at just about every stop, they are a blessing when
used in crap like we have out there now. Hitting the brakes on a slippery patch
alerts them (their sensors) to commence with a patented hyper-rapid braking
action. I had a stopping episode today. I began to drift sideways a bit and the
sensors knew something was up. Keeping my pressed lightly on the brake, the systems
caught the skid and straightened out my full-sized pickup in an instant. By the
by, you should NOT pump the brakes if you have an ABS. Not only does it
neutralize their effectiveness but it also annoys them – to the tune of big
repair bills. If you don’t have automatic braking, your only hope in a skid is
to do the manual rapid pump – and pray.
Harvey Cedars had one its plows get stuck. It needed a special pull-out. That shows how deep the snow was on the north end of the Island.
I’m sticking with the likelihood that some Island areas
went over the 30-inch mark. Again, any storm off the ocean can loose a load of
precipitation on small areas.
Holiest report: Virtually all of the very large Maris Stella Retreat and Conference Center,
Harvey Cedars, got virtually no snow accumulation. At snowstorm’s end, the
grass and rock surfaces were all but snow free. Whadda ya mean that’s because
that huge chunk of real estate is right on the bay and the 50 mph winds blew it
clean? You heathen.