What I From Learned Driving in the Snow

Caroline Armstrong

Being raised in Seattle, Washington I did not get many opportunities to drive in the snow growing up. When it did snow, usually only 1-2 inches, everything shut down and people just simply stayed home – no need to drive! With the current snow storm hitting the Seattle area, I though I would share the valuable lesson I learned in 2015.

After high school I decided to go to college in Montana, and as most people know it snows quite a bit in Montana. My first year of college, I decided to drive back to Seattle for Thanksgiving with a few of my friends. It had just begun snowing the day before and I had a 4-wheel drive car so I figured everything should be OK.

I began my drive down I-90 West with a car full of gals, the snow was light and everything was going fine… well, for about 50 miles at least.

Coming around a slight curve at about 60 MPH (the Montana speed limit is 80 MPH) I felt my back tires starting to slide and just like that I had lost all control. My car spun around 3 or 4 times before slamming into a ditch and screeching to a stop. Shock. That’s all I felt. Silence. No one had said a word the whole time we were spinning and crashing. Immediately we all got out of the car to make sure everyone was OK and to examine the damage.

The airbags had deployed, I had a broken front axle, completely messed up front and back bumpers, two popped tires and two bent rims. But most importantly, no one was hurt. Luckily, my friends are much better at handling bad situations than I am because that is when it all set it. I could have killed myself and all my friends. Why? Because I was inexperienced. I didn’t know to slow down. I didn’t know to be on the lookout for black ice – what ended by causing the accident. I just didn’t know.

Driving when there is snow and ice on the road is unlike any other driving condition. Yes, you might have 4-wheel drive but that does not mean you have 4-wheel stop. The ice has a mind of its own and once you begin to slide it can be very hard to stop.

This winter, I beg of you to go slow in the snow. If you are an experienced snow driver, slow down. If you have never driven in the snow before, slow down. Even if the roads seem fine, slow down. It could save your life.

Winter at the hot springs

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We all heard of the idiom “early bird gets the worm”, probably from your parent, or someone like my friend Michael! I used to, who am I kidding, still am the one who sleeps in till 10 am and can’t fall asleep before midnight.

When I moved to Missoula, MT to study business at the Uni, I got introduced to a community of fun, down-to-earth and adventures photographers, which became really good friends of mine! At the end of summer 2017, I was invited by the supeeeeer duper talented and the sweetest Michael Graef on a VERY early sunrise exposition (4am kinda early!) somewhere outside of Missoula and as much as I thought I could pull myself out of bed, I simply couldn’t. But, there was a time when I agreed to get myself out of bed one morning and meet with the group that was going. To be completely honest, that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

On the day to day basis I love sleeping in as much as I can, but when it comes to getting up to get with a group of creatives, my camera, and explore new areas I am ALWAYS down!

Few nights ago, I got a message from Michael about going to the hot springs in the am with a few other friends, and I will likely never turn down that opportunity, especially on a Wednesday morning when the chances of us getting an empty pool are very high.

Here are a few of my favorite photos of Meghan from that morning, and you can find some behind the scenes in my “Sunrise” highlights on my Instagram @fotografed_ .

Aleksandra Was

Zoo Town Brew Fest Lineup

MSO Brewfest
If you live in Missoula, and enjoy drinking beer, then I am sure that you are fully aware of what has happened in the last 10 years, but first, go back in time to 1986. At this time, Missoula Brewing had been out of business for over 20 years, and Americanized pilsners like Ranier dominated the market. In 1987, German brewmaster Jürgen Knö¨ller opened up Bayern Brewing, and the local craft beer industry had once again been established in Missoula. Five years after Bayern’s opening, Jürgen and a few other local business owners started an annual tradition that still holds today. The annual Garden City Brewfest had begun, and craft brew lovers have flocked to Caras Park in downtown Missoula for the event ever since.

Now, look back to just ten years ago. Believe it or not, there were only three breweries in Missoula. In the past 10 years, the love for craft beer has blown up to ridiculous proportions, and the greater Missoula area is soon to be home to over 10 breweries!

When you live in a city like Missoula, which is in a state that takes 2nd in the nation for breweries per capita, one brewfest is simply not enough. The first brewfest of 2016 was the Winter Brewfest, which was on February, 19th but there are still five more to come!

Remember, drink responsibly!

Backcountry-Hunters-Anglers

April 1st

Backcountry Brewfest

Caras Park

 

PigSeal

April 16th

Bacon & Brew Fest

Caras Park

 

GCBF-Logo

May 7th

Garden City Brewfest

Caras Park

 

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September TBA

Mavericks Brewfest

Caras Park

 

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October TBA

MBA Fall Fest

Caras Park

6 Most Important Items for Your Car this Winter

Car in winter

The first snow and cold spell have invaded our lives and added that extra few steps to our daily routine. With winter now upon us it is time to be prepared. Is your car ready for winter and its many curve balls (snowballs that is)? Here are the must haves for your car so you can survive this winter!!!

Ice Scraper:

First and foremost, do you have your ice scraper handy and dug out from under the back seat? Like most of you I to hide it through the summer months. This is a necessary item for the upcoming events of the winter.

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You can also use and old CD case (who has these) or credit card if you are in a pinch to scrape your windows.

 

Tow rope:

I know this may seem like overkill, I mean come on I’m a Montanan and know how to drive in snowy conditions, please look at my pick up its made for this. Well, this is especially important for you folks. Throw that tow rope in, you never know when you may have to just move that person stuck in front of you out of the way so you can get to your destination.

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Jumper cables:

In the winter months comes the winter cold as well and our batteries just love the cold. For those that can’t sense my sarcasm, it would be an experience driven recommendation I make to you. Make sure you have some jumper cables and know where your battery is located in your car. Additionally, it would be wise that if you are parking your car in extreme cold or for an extend period of time that you park strategically so that you can jump your car easily if needed.
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Spare gloves and hat:

Yea, I know you already have them on but the point of this is to be prepared for the unexpected. Grabbing hold of your steering wheel first thing in the morning when it’s below freezing isn’t like wrapping your hands around a frosty beverage after a day in the sun. Throw that spare pair of glove and a cap in your car you will thank me later.

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Extra washer fluid:

This is for that beautiful day the sun is out and the streets get slushy. Yuck, right? Your car ends up filthy and you run your wipers thinking you have washer fluid, and whoops you have a smeared mess. Should have woken up sooner all week and warmed your vehicle instead of using washer fluid to speed up melting the ice!

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Shovel:

Who wants a shovel handy that means work? Instead of being stranded have a shovel handy to dig your way out of you get stuck or at least to clear a path to the passenger side for your significant other (happy wife happy life?).

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I hope your winter months are flawless and full of ease, but in case the harsh winter has other plans at least you will be prepared.