an adventure with chains

L & I planned a trip to San Francisco this weekend to visit family, but my sister-in-law unfortunately took ill. So we decided to get away anyway, and drive an extra few hours to beautiful Lake Tahoe. As my car is not too well at the moment, we opted to take J’s big pickup truck.

It’s been a mild winter all over North America, but 2 – 4″ of snow was forecast for Saturday. Neither L nor I own any suitable snow gear, but we figured if we just took our warmest clothes, we’d be fine. I discussed it with a snow-savvy friend, who told me I’d need to carry chains and lent me her largest set.


However, they were not large enough for the truck’s tyres, so I bought the right ones in Sacramento. I asked L to google whether the truck was front or rear wheel drive, and she assured me it was front. So at the appointed time, I put the chains on the front wheels.

A few miles down the road they started making terrible noises. I drove slower. We reached another chain checkpoint and I stopped. The guy behind me told me that my truck was rear wheel drive and I should put them on the back wheels. That’s when I saw that the tensioners had both come off and flown away. The chains were flapping loosely!

I moved them to the rear tyres and used the tensioners from my friend’s set to secure them. We continued. It was snowing heavily by now, and the visibility was poor. Suddenly: more terrible noise. I pulled over and saw that one section of one chain had snapped and was now whipping round wildly. Nothing I could do but keep driving. Then the chain on the other wheel snapped. I kept driving. It was a freaking snowstorm now.


Another five minutes, then even more horrible noise from the back. One of the chains was now broken in two places. I was worried the tyres would be damaged, so I took them off.

I won’t deny it; it was pretty hairy making that drive into South Tahoe. I reckon we actually got a foot of snow, and I have zero experience with snow driving. Without chains. On winding mountain roads. With sheer drops. In a blizzard.

So yeah. We’re here. Scenic pics to follow. I just hope it doesn’t snow anymore, because I still have to drive home.

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1 Comment

  1. akismet-21b053fec805c8711a1f608da8cdd26a

     /  April 2, 2012

    travel safe!


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