Winter Hangs On

Winter has come back with a vengeance. For those of you who were seeing some milder temperatures and a major amount of snow melt, winter did a u-turn and has come right back. I had just made a run from Montana down to San Diego and back to Washington state, hauling skid steers down and machinery back.

I had some problems getting my trailer out of the ice, and was delayed a bit getting to the shipper. I had a stop near Boise, to pickup the second skid steer. On the way I happened to see on highway 12, one of the super loads going to Canada. I had needed to take a turn at Kooskia Idaho, and head south for Boise. I was happy to see those loads moving well, as winter had given just enough of a break for them to be able to move such a huge permitted load.

Highway 12 at the time was clear with just a skiff of snow. I woke up this morning however, with the windows blown open at my house and it was very cold. I am sure now that there will be many problems with Montana mountain passes, check your local 511 weather phone number or even look in the motor carriers road atlas for a list of road condition phone numbers.

Clark Fork Idaho yesterday had near whiteout conditions. I had a hard time even seeing the road in front of me. The breakup load limits are still on in Bonner county as well. 14,000 axle limits for speed and trucks are required to do about 30 mph max. I do think there is an explanatory sign at the border showing the rule. The limits may be lifted as temperatures drop again.

There is supposed to be a major drop in temperatures over the next few days in the northwest Montana and Idaho panhandle regions. Be advised and prepared for this. Bring extra supplies and keep your fuel tanks topped off as much as possible in case you get stranded and have to hunker down in the truck.

With high winds, road conditions can change rapidly. I am witnessing higher winds in my area, and some blowing and drifting snow. The more narrow 2 lane roads as with highway 200, make it hard to see the road shoulder. I had this problem the other day, drive slower and take care along 200 between Heron Mt. and Clark Fork Id. There is no guardrail in many spots and the river is very near the highway. There have been a lot of fatalities over the years in that area.

Take care out there,

Jim

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