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Old 03-31-2022, 05:55 PM   #1
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Snow Chains on My Tow Vehicle while Towing in Blizzard

Snow Chains are for those rare moments you decided to cross the Rocky Mountains during the possibility of a Snow Storm, Ice Storm or just Snow Drift Busting. In Wyoming we call them Snow Birds, which is a polite way of using any other name, as an option.

Or in any State SOUTH of the Mason Dixon Line in January... and frequently North of, as well. Life and weather can both be unpredictable.

Chains are intended for the DRIVE TIRES on a Vehicle. If you have a Front Wheel Drive model, keep reading.

Never on a Trailer. Any kind of Trailer. Unless you are hauling trash on a flat bed trailer, in a Blizzard going to the Dump... Only this exception.

I saw a Current Thread about Snow Chains... I did not read it, the introduction, or even which State or the Tow Vehicle or Length of Trailer.

Some Yahoos may have a Front Drive Vehilce and Chain the REAR TIRES. OK... not all, just saying. Those rarely pull a trailer. Too light other than passengers or one passenger.

Rear Wheel Drive... with Chains... have ONE Drive Wheel. One sits, the other can spin and toss the chain, tear out your fender well. Yahoo... again. Chains are difficult to attach and are not intended for over 5mph... forward. Backwards towing... Nope.

Four Wheel Drive with Locking 4x4 and Chains... towing an Airstream would be close to be like having Hot Chocolate, served while someone else is attaching THEIR CHAINS onto your... Airstream. You are playing Cowboy... you ARE one. They pull off miracles, when necessary to get a Six Pack in Town. Really... no lines, either.

Someone with a 4x4 locking traction F250/F350 pickup would NOT BE TOWING any kind of trailer in the Rocky Mountains, just by Human Survival is important.

A Missouri ICE STORM. I do not want to be in Missouri or any State having an Ice Storm. Hawaii is exempt from this conversation and anything above.

IF you really want 100% accurate advice... Canada.
IF you really want poor 100% advice... a long list of USA States is needed claiming to be Sunshine anything at anytime. Montana Blizzards are followed by Sunshine. Montana the Sunshine After A BLIZZARD STATE. Wyoming has a Bronco of the license plate... NO CHAINS NEEDED towing with a Horse.

I realize there are many Forum Members who disagree with my Theory of 4x4, 4x2 and 4x1 power to one or all tire Theory. Lets discuss this.

- First. Do you own a Blue Heeler Dog? If not... you are not to be believed in Wyoming.
- Second. Do you have a 4x2 non 4 wheel drive for Snow Season? Wrong again.
- Third. Do you carry Chains for your SUV? Guess...
- Fourth. Do you travel in the Winter? Which State or States? We may want to travel with you in some States.
- Fifth. Do you know what a YaaHoo is in a Blizzard in Wyoming? Dead.
- Six to Infinity... What is your advice for Ice and Snow?

Mine: Stay home. Toss some firewood into the fire place. Share the fresh cherry pie with my Wife. Watch a good, I said GOOD Western Cowboy Movie... and then when the time is right... Turn OFF the LIGHTS and... well, you may be smarter than I thought.

Have fun towing this SUMMER. We will... I will have another slice of Cherry Pie with my Hot Chocolate.
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Old 03-31-2022, 06:48 PM   #2
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I used chains on my Chevelle, a couple times. Knew how to put 'em on. It's a bear getting them right. Need wire. Frozen fingers make things worse. Make sure they're tight, then tighten 'em, then re-tighten, maybe use some wire.

Getting 'em off can be about near as bad, if linkage is frozen solid. Ewwww boy.

Chains will slap the rear fenders to smithereens if not put on right.

Think of what that would do to a decent Airstream. HAHA! No self respecting Pennsylvania boy would ever put chains on his Airstream. No way. No how. Not happening. Pickett would have had a better chance at winning it all on that fateful day.

Airstreams and salt, brine, whateverso other calcium, nexium, sloppium, you name it, whatever it is they slather on the roads when it even dusts a wee bit, well, it ain't good for your airstream. Takes all the hitch components and pits 'em, turns your underbelly a brand new finish, all the copper lines go green. Ouch. What a fiasco.

I'm in Florida. Back in PA by next week. Not towing through snow. Good thread!
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Old 03-31-2022, 07:39 PM   #3
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No Snow Towing Memories from Me... yours?

Post #2 understands. Of course, towing with a F250 4x4... makes him a Genius, as well.

An option to Chains... are Snow Cables. I do not know which are better. Chains, or Cables. Cables will do less damage if they come loose. Chains are for Corn Pop wanting to take your girlfriend to the Prom... kind of stuff.

I never go outside for a casual drive, during a Missouri Ice Storm. If you manage not to run into a ditch or clipping a telephone pole a couple feet from the base, or avoiding tree branches coming down or trees, themselves... there are many other examples for Airstream Can DO and Can't GO, anywhere, any weather, any time. But I wandered, again.

Airstream brakes are very interesting. They each work independently of one another. Practice on a paved road with SAND. Some may lock up and slide, while others are just taking their time. This was our 2006 23 Foot Safari. On dry pavement... very dependable as all seem to provide some... braking. Not a lot, but these are Drum Brakes that were obsolete in the late 1960's?

Don't you love the Pulsating Disc Brakes? If you do not understand 'pulsating?', you will when you want to STOP and they pulsate to keep you moving... straight into something already stopped.

Muddy Road uphill. Bad for Me. Bad for You, too.

Sloppy Snow. OK for Me. OK for You, as well.

Ice Storm... stop away from traffic, find a secluded part of a icy parking lot and wait it out. Others may want to run into you... your Airstream is optional.

Wyoming Blizzards... blow North to South and ignore Posted Speed Limits as the snow goes parallel with the roads. A Canadian Clipper with a Boot in the Buttocks, I call it. You cannot see the road. You cannot see oncoming traffic... and reverse this as those coming towards you... are guessing where they are on the road and any oncoming traffic.

If you want to see an Airstream PASS a Tow Vehicle... try it yourself. It will. Your plush SUV is a Toy to your Airstream. A play thing with a horn and spinning, waiting to stop... anywhere.

Going Down Hill is Worse, than traveling in snow going Uphill. Gravity is your friend in one example and not your friend, in another. If you are undecided... I want a Video of this.

Salted and Mag Chloride are not Girls Names, but could be.

Motels out West fill up fast when snow begins to pile up. Even the Road Closed Signs are hard to see. Even harder to FIND, when stuck to your Tow Vehicle bumper... or across the top of your Airstream Emblem in front. If you hear on the local radio about roads shutting down... Motel.

Remember. If YOU cannot see the road or traffic in front of you in a howling blizzard. Neither can the Sand Truck that weighs 25 Tons spreading salt over you and trailer. Bad for the Aluminum... as well.

Drive In Movies in Wyoming are open in any kind of weather, as the one to three movies are not that interesting, once the windows are fogged up. Not from personal experience, as I did not have chains and could not make it during a Snow Storm.

Stuff happens. The English language is full of Four Letter Words... like WORK, SNOW, SLICK... but you will think of others and all at one time.

Your Hitch? Is is set properly? If that is what you are worried about at this time... you have more courage than I. You earned a Bronco license plate, County 24.
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Old 03-31-2022, 09:04 PM   #4
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I don’t believe in snow chains. In my opinion, snow chains or cables are a weak substitute for proper winter tires and AWD or 4WD (they’re not the same thing). All my vehicles are AWD or 4WD, and all of them are shod with true winter tires from mid October to mid May. I have no need for chains. I love how well my truck handles winter conditions with the Blizzaks mounted. I currently don’t use studded winter tires, but I may change that if/when we move further up into the high country.

My Airstream doesn’t have winter tires, so I suppose that is the exception. I’m not towing in winter conditions though, so no matter.
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Old 04-01-2022, 08:07 AM   #5
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Snow Procedures in the Rocky Mountains...

The Early Birds wanting to travel into the High Country are often Snow Birds if you are not careful.

We find late March a bit early... some years. Some years, perfect weather. At least the Snow will melt after Sunrise.

Our Trailer Camping begins AFTER April Fool's Day. Not Fools... but Fool's Day.

Next week, New Mexico at 7500+ feet elevation is just wonderful for our next two week adventure. We are more likely to catch a Monsoon Rain... which is a bit tougher to wait out... to dry out.

When compromised in the Western States during a Snow Storm... there are a couple good options.

Snow Plows are sent out immediately, no matter if you are parked alongside the road, or not. They will travel as singles, doubles or a triple set of large snow plows. Often...no salt.. but sand that is used as weight so these plows can push the snow, at a diagonal... off the highways onto the side culverts.

So, avoid pulling just off the highway. Find a Rest Area is perfect and wait it out.

If you are running low on propane... you need to wait for morning. The Plows have scrapped clean most of the asphalt, and you will actually see the Sun 'burning off the remain snow and melt'. It is a sight to see... if you get up early enough. Have breakfast, wake up and when you see traffic moving again... YOU and your Airstream will do very well.

With just your vehicle, when a snow plow is moving through... get back a half mile or so. These drivers are professionals. They understand that these big Spring Snow Storms are followed by clear, a Sunny Day. Even in below freeezing temperatures... the snow 'burns off' from a Solid to a Water Vapor.

We never used chains, cables...ever. For Loggers in the mountains, not vehicles on the road. They ruin the asphalt, will ruin your wheels and tires if used more than long enough to get out of a bad situation. Just be patient. You will not be eating your shoes and packaging for the empty doughnut packages.

Western Kansas gets some Hum Dinger Blizzards. They will close the highway. If they closed AFTER you pass the gate... often you will find where other unlucky drivers have exited the highway. Get in line. You want to be OFF the Highway. These snow plows are coming shortly and YOU may be getting an early awakening when one finds you in the way.

Just avoid any temptation to BEAT THE STORM. In Wyoming... 50mph wind...will pass you and once out of a WalMart parking lot... no fresh pastries are available.
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Old 04-01-2022, 09:05 AM   #6
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Be prepared... KNOW what to expect... Helps A Lot

Some photos of Snow and Drifts. Your Airstream IS NOT AN ALL SEASON TRAILER, no matter what some may say. An OLIVER TRAILER... may be. We are almost packed for anything and ready to start 2022 Camping Adventures. Be safe...

Cottonwood Pass, Colorado: 6-23-2016

Castle Rock, Colorado 3-5-2006

Keystone Ski Area, Colorado 4-2-2006

West of Riverton, Wyoming 5-6- 2006

West of Lander, Wyoming 6-7-2006

Never panic, expect the worse and lay back. Even Snow in the High Country any time of the year is possible. It will melt. The Sun will warm your trailer and by morning... you will shed all of the blankets, sleeping bag tossed over yourselves.

Jackets in the AM, Tee Shirts by Noon... and when dry... get out once the roads are dry.

Preserve your Propane. Your Batteries. Your Water. Your Food. Listen to the local Radio Stations. Going in... is easy. Getting out... takes being weather wise.

If you know it all... you are better than we could ever become.

I hope any of this helped you think... If you have one or two dogs... toss them into the mix. Instant heat... and they will want to travel with you... again!
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Old 04-01-2022, 09:17 AM   #7
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Good photos.

You have to be prepared for almost anything in the high country. My son and I hiked up to a secluded lake a few years ago to fly fish for native Colorado cutthroat trout in one of the few places you can catch them. It was mid August, and there was a foot of snow on the ground.
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Old 04-01-2022, 10:12 AM   #8
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Drag chains are required on trailers in Oregon.

Chains are required on all vehicles towing a trailer in Oregon.

Guy pulled into our winter resort this year after snow was piled up. He didn’t have chains on and he couldn’t get it backed into his spot. After a while of watching and sizing up his tires I figured I could help. I grabbed my chains, talked him into putting them on, had them on in about 8 minutes and he was parked about 2 min after.

Chains are a good thing. I run studded tires on a four wheel drive and I wouldn’t hesitate to chain up also in certain situations, especially if I were towing.
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Old 04-01-2022, 10:15 AM   #9
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I can see where they could be a good thing. Your example is a good one and I hadn’t thought of that scenario. I would rather avoid towing where/when I might need them.
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Old 04-01-2022, 10:16 AM   #10
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First Time... Learn: Next Time... Ahhhhh Wonderful

Some defend the Airstream as an ALL SEASON Trailer. Not so, depending on where you live.

It can be too HOT.
It can be too COLD.
It can be too WET.
It can be just TOO HUMID, HOT and COLD at the Same Time.

On a hot day, feel the aluminum skin in the Sun. Ouch.
On a cold day, put your tongue onto the aluminum skin. Ughhhsthst.

Oliver Fiber Glass Trailer, the Orphan RV ALL SEASON TRAILER? We will see, as we are not fooling around by watching... we jump in and play in the mud, snow, rain, sleet and sunshine. You should, as well and post photographs Off the Grid Boondocking.

Anyone can stay at RV Parks plugged into power. The crowds thin out at Forest Service and BLM campsites and even fewer in the National Forests, National Grasslands and National Hades in nowhere claims even a handful of true pioneers.

How often does any individual want to compare Trailers... yet only own one, none? Too Often, I say. Most is BS and second hand knowledge from reading get sources of information like the Airforums. A generous assortment of realistic expectations and less hard core experience of the worst conditions and perfect conditions for photographs and occupants grinning and ready to play Golf at the RV Park campsite.

Airstreams can manage the best climate conditions. They can also manage the in between conditions in between HOT and COLD. It is the HOT and the COLD that one must make adjustments.

Hot... finding shade under a tree. Ahhhhh.
Cold... finding open field with full Sunshine. Ahhhhh.

OK, you are following me. I am only recalling the Ahhhhs and the "what are we doing here?" situations. We learned by doing it... not flipping through a magazine of well dressed and groomed Off the Grid Boondockers saying... Life is Wonderful Here... when the photo shoot was finished... they loaded up and vacated the area immediately... due the the insect infestation, chiggers, bitting insects and three inch cockroaches getting inside the pantry. Oh... Boy. That would interest me much more than happy campers... Really.

I have added several more photographs and dates. We cherish all of these experiences... good, bad and just plain awful... but we learned by doing. You will as well. Just make mistakes... but with the slight risks of poor choices. Nancy follows the Weather Reports in the newspaper and we both listen on the local Radio Stations.

Our curiosity was so great with the Oliver Elite II trailers... we hunted down a 2019 to compare with the 2019 Airstream. The Oliver II is similar in length of living area as the 23 foot double axle Airstream, but with 16 inch Michelins as factory standard build.

Are we bashful to compare our 27 foot International with an Oliver II? No. We enjoy the comforts of the International and it goes anywhere we want to go. So will the Oliver. Snow, Rain or Drought... no matter to us.

We carry a His and Hers Shovel... just in case.

Quemado, NM 3-27-2009
Roxborough Park, CO 4-18-2009
Quemado, NM 5-12-2009
Quemado, NM 9-15-2022 Flash Flood earlier that week
Quemado, NM 9-15-2022 Flash Flood earlier that week

Oh... Wyoming 6-30-2006... sometimes only one Shovel

Western Nebraska June 30, 2006... sometimes the Welcome Committee opens gates?

Blue Heeler in the Badlands of Nebraska... even a Dog knows what SHADE looks like. Learn from your Pets... they are smart.
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Old 04-01-2022, 10:35 AM   #11
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Wyoming: August 2016

The best month for Wyoming High Country for OTG Boondocking. ...and Montana, and Idaho and Utah and South Dakota and Colorado and... well you choose. People actually live there full time. Yep... been there, did it. Get bored? Move.

Lander, Wyoming 8-15-2016 Lots of open space.. Yaaa Hoo
Lander, Wyoming 8-15-2016 Airstreams deserted in the mountains?
Lander, Wyoming 8-15-2016 Unifreck's Battery Bike... Yaaa Hoo

Yes... it can Snow in Wyoming in August. Although, not this 2016 August. We were disappointed... No bicycle chains, either.

Get a DeLorm Atlas of any State you want to dry camp. Drive towards that State. Make no Plans. No Reservations. Just go and do it. The first couple days... a bit awkward.

Find some scenery in the distance that looks... nice, gnarly or has possibilities... go towards it. Find a place to set camp, unhook the tow vehicle, secure the ball on the Airstream... go further into the unknown. Take down mileage from where the trailer is... and you find a better spot... mark it down on the map and go that day or the next.

Be prepared for Snow, Rain, Sunshine or Cloudy weather. Many higher elevation campsites can go through Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter in one day... so just take a deep breath... the air is thin.
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Old 04-01-2022, 06:30 PM   #12
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Drove all my adult life in snow, travel in the States during the winter months with 4 season / winter certified (with the snowflake) tires (Toyo) and in my province driving without snow tires from dec 1st to march 15th is against the law. And even with that experience and preparation, I won't drive my 8000 lbs AS in snowy conditions. We check the weather, seek "windows of opportunity" when we can avoid storms and we plan our travels as the seasons progress. Have driven with chains in the Alps (front wheel drive, chains in front), <10 mph, and it's not a way to travel!
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Old 04-02-2022, 08:16 PM   #13
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Chains

Good discussion on chains. Our son drove a semi truck in Alaska/Yukon for 5 years hauling fuel oil/diesel fuel. This fuel keeps essentials like food etc moving. So these trucks need to move in snow/ice or whatever. These drivers call putting on chains, "throwing iron", and they can put on truck chains in 30 below weather. Besides your rear drive axles you need chains on at least one front steer wheel. If not , when you get to the top of the hill and start down hill -- you are no longer in control of where your truck goes. I have chains for my 4 WD F -350 and have put them on for practice once or twice -- it is a skill that you need to keep current and know how to do in very bad weather conditions. We have pulled our Airstream for about 15 years - but the last 2 years not so much due to Covid. In my experience -- if there is any hint of ice -- get off the road. We were hung up in Louisiana for 2 days during and after an ice storm -- it was a bit inconvenient but light years better than being on the road. Also, in my younger years, I pushed ahead in what started out as a light snow storm that got very bad in a hurry for example - I - 35 north of Des Moines ( where there have been numerous 40 plus car/truck pile ups over the years). The only reason we carry chains is if we end up in a situation where we absolutely have to move in a snow storm or on ice. We have never "chained up", and will continue to pray that God keeps us smart enough to always get off the road sooner, rather than "too late" so we never have to put on chains. THERE ARE MANY SEASONED SEMI TRUCK DRIVERS WHO PULL AIRSTREAMS FOR A HOBBY THAT I EXPECT KNOW A LOT ABOUT THIS SUBJECT.
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Old 04-03-2022, 06:52 AM   #14
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Airforums, meet my friend The Govy500

https://www.govy500.com/

I spent my entire childhood with men (dad, step-dad, father I’m-law) who acted like chaining up wasn’t an option for one reason or another. “Not needed,” “I have four wheel drive” “it takes too long” It was all bullshit. Chains are a simple and useful tool.

I helped a couple out this winter. Husband thought 4x4 was enough for a 6 mile drive up an 6-9% grade on one of the snowiest mountains in the lower 48. It wasn’t and his pregnant wife got hurt.

We have another thread going about chains on the Airstream. I think that is a bit of a different conversation because we can pull over and camp, but unless you have mountain peaks on your TV then you need chains when the sign says “Chains Required;” we have a lot these flip (or digital) signs in Oregon.

Have fun watching TheGovy 500. Let me know your favorites.
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Old 04-03-2022, 09:00 AM   #15
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Great Lakes Region and Canada...

There is MORE Traffic along the Snowmobile trails ALONG SIDE THE PAVED ROADS. Fall, Winter and Spring... No chains.
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Old 04-03-2022, 06:56 PM   #16
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Great Lakes, no mountains. Canada, no mountains until you get to the west coast.
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Old 04-04-2022, 11:23 AM   #17
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In Louisiana... a mountain is anything higher than where one is standing at the moment.

Mountains can be confusing with these statement's:

"A mountain of Emails?" "Built like a mountain." "Moving him off the couch is like moving a mountain. "A mountain of Cattle Dung at the Feedlot today."

All are mountains. Looking UP is relative to a short person.

The problem with Central Canada and the Central USA resulted because of the Canadian Glaciers pushing any mountain of dirt or sod (above Sea Level in these areas) into the Missouri River, then into the Mississippi River, so New Orleans could be built and get flooded often with a Mountain of Mud.

When the Ice, stopped moving, even without a mask, it melted and left the Great Lakes as a memory... but still draining like your Airstream Shower drain.

The 'Lake Effect Snow' is responsible for Snowmobiles being necessary in the Great Lakes area. The Mountains are the piles of Snow that are left to melt.

"Aw Man... that is a mountain of snow pushed off the highway, bud."

When you are in a Deep Hole, looking UP, what is that called? There are Mountains below Sea Level in the Pacific Ocean and... maybe the Ozarks of the Missouri and
Arkansas and Oklahoma and under Columbus, Ohio do not count? Made up Columbus, Ohio... meant Christopher.

How deep does a hole have to be to be a mountain looking up?

We have watched Snowmobiles pass us in west Michigan. We were on the highway and they had better traction, both directions, next to the highway. During the Summers... probably ATV's. These people are smart.

(People are too serious at times. Camping I had one guy stare at me when I was telling everyone how much FUN the 2016 Wyoming Adventure would be. He left the first morning... he was not having fun. Fun is what YOU Create... not what a Neanderthal thinks is fun, like deboning an Elk in someone's Trailer.)

What is your mountain to climb... today? Picking up after your dog, ignored for the last two years?
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Old 04-04-2022, 11:37 AM   #18
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I consider snow chains essential emergency equipment, like jumper cables, first aid kit and a flash light. If you're like me, your emergency equipment will be used more often to help others less prepared...
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Old 04-04-2022, 11:46 AM   #19
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Guess where the most Sales of Snow Chains are sold?

'Mud Straps' for those who fly fish. Those roads are not improved over a trail.

"The following is a list of states that have a similar tire chain law, stating: Tire chains or snow tires may be used by any vehicle when required for. safety due to snow, rain, or other slippery conditions.*. Alabama. Arizona. Delaware. Georgia. Iowa."

I like 'Rain Chains'. Obviously someone who does not drive much.

"If chains are ever required, you can find out with light-up signs along the roadways that state: ‘when lights are flashing, chains or snow tires required’. In northern Nevada mountain passes, chains may be required from mid-October to mid-June."

If you need a Sign... you need more Help than a Neanderthal can give you.

Wintering in Nevada... we had a plate of snowflakes picked up. Dug out with a Spoon.

Be ready for snow in these 11 states where you need to carry chains in the winter. Google it... again... smart people put these in English... and believe it.

"Chaining up your vehicle is a personal choice. Although many say that if the weather is bad enough to chain up, you shouldn’t be out; some places require that you have these chains, even if you don’t plan on using them. Here’s a list of a few of the places where you might want to have these chains on, weather permitting."

In Wyoming we have Choices: "No Chains, stay Home and call in Sick. Chains, go to Work and find the Door Locked due to a Snow Day over five feet."

An inch of snow in New Orleans is a Disaster.

Five feet of overnight Snow in Wyoming is a Holiday. Snows an inch, drifts five feet.

Hell with Chains. Only for old people who like to beat the Coffee Gang TO the Cafe outside Laramie, Wyoming. No kidding... Cafes never close in Wyoming... they only dim the lighting.

You can also find the chairs with the back lower legs cut short, to lean back when you are wearing Cowboy Boots. DO NOT BUY USED CHAIRS FROM Wyoming or Western Nebraska. For good reason... leaners

What idiot would do that? Short list in Medicine Bow,Wyoming... get the Pancake substitute for Toast. Coffee comes with Breakfast. Yep... worth the drive, too.
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Old 04-04-2022, 12:31 PM   #20
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Great discussion.

I spent a few years in eastern New Mexico where winter tires sufficed. I had a 14 mile drive through open range to work at the base where I was stationed. Always an adventure in snow.

We encountered un-expected snow in British Columbia while towing our Airstream in June. I put it in 4WD auto until we could exit the highway. I would never intentionally tow in snow.
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