Long Night’s Lull.

It will be December in a few more days and still we have no official winner certified for the top position in the US. Many assume we have a clear winner, but many others don’t seem to agree. Either way this makes for a long drawn out drama that sows doubt and anxiety right when we don’t need any more depressing news. The number of positive Covid19 cases and hospitalizations are still heading in the wrong direction, and now we may see even more cases possibly sourced from the Thanksgiving holiday and associated Black Friday shopping traffic.

The weather here in the north hasn’t been too bad yet, but that is usually a yearly condition that usually impacts daily life the most. Even without a lock down traveling gets difficult with freezing rain and snow. I’m sure there are many who won’t have to worry about a hazardous commute to and from their job because they now work from home. I wasn’t working from home last year at this time, but I was traveling through some less than perfect winter weather. Some sand in the truck bed for extra traction and some good snow tires were helpful getting me to and from my destinations. I expect the snow soon enough in December along with the cold. Snow is not so bad to deal with compared to freezing rain and ice, but you really need to drive totally different in both conditions. You also have to watch out for other travelers because they may not have good control of their vehicles, or conditions are so bad that no one has an easy task to get to their destination.

It’s always a good idea to make sure your ride is ready for bad winter conditions, and have some emergency supplies in your vehicle – if it’s your vehicle your traveling in. The minimal necessities such as flash light, first aide kit, cell phone, overnight bag ( in case you have to wait out a storm) and even a blanket is sometimes useful. I usually have tools with me, but I often carry a small shovel, some emergency snacks, water, and a Thermos full of hot coffee. If you get stuck, you want to be prepared – that means you want to be dressed properly in case you have to leave your vehicle. A set of jumper cables and a tow rope is also worth storing under the seat.

If I’m traveling a long distance and for a long time I do try to stop and take a break. It’s a good time to pour another mug of coffee and check in with someone else who might need to know where you are. I have a weather app on my phone to alert me of any emergency weather conditions I might be heading into – or need to avoid. There might not be a lot of reasons for most people to be out in the bad weather, but there are usually some people who have to. With the Covid19 lock downs and restrictions you might find yourself alone on some dark roads. These are not good places to break down or go off the road accidentally.

Its the bad weather days and nights that don’t seem so bad if I’m working out in my shop. My biggest issues here are usually the temperature and possibility of an Internet outage that might require some attention to remedy.

When I’m on the road or out somewhere that I don’t really know anyone very well I make sure not to discuss any polarizing issues such as politics, religion, or much of anything at all. I try not to offend anyone, or do anything thing that might place me in an uncomfortable position. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and I respect that. If I’m out on a job I like to get in, do the job and get out. I’m not much for hanging around. This approach seems to work for me. This is where being prepared is crucial.

Most of the people I meet are very nice and often helpful in their own ways. This may be because I’m usually out in rural areas. I don’t spend much time in large cities, and prefer to be out in the rural areas. Small towns, villages, and such are more familiar to me. I’d rather be driving through the mountains and back roads than stuck in a traffic jam in a busy metro area. I feel more comfortable in a small diner or truck stop than in a fancy restaurant. I think the food is usually better in a diner anyways. I’ll refill my coffee thermos at a gas station and often it’s really good coffee – if freshly brewed – always look for that.

With the political tension, possibility of social unrest, and potential to become infected by a deadly virus, we all have to keep our guards up. You can’t just think about yourself, you have to consider how some things you do may affect others. It’s a little like the weather. If it’s really bad out you might want to consider staying in, but if you have to go out……be prepared……and stay safe.

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