Washington can be a real snow job

Snow was more of a way of life in Washington than it has been here in Floyd County since returning in 2004
The Washington Mall and a lone traveler on cross-country skis.

Looks like Washington, DC, received more snow than us this weekend. Some, of course, would say the Nation’s Capitol deserves whatever it gets in terms of weather, storms, hurricanes or tornadoes.

We saw a lot of snow during our 23 years in the National Capital Region, and I was on the road when some of those snows hit and Amy was left to deal with the problem from them.

When Air Florida, laden with ice on its wings, crashed and struck the 14th bridge in Washington on Jan. 13, 1982, Amy had planned to join me in Albuquerque during my first visit there after starting work for Rep. Manual Lujan (R-New Mexico) on Jan. 1.

Amy has always been uneasy flying and bridges are not one of her favorite things to use to cross the bodies of water, so she said “no way” when news flashed of the crash that killed 74 with just 5 survivors.

Years later, she was flying to Honolulu to meet me and got out of Washington just before a blizzard hit. On a trip to Manila, a blizzard hit Washington and was on the front page of the Manila Bulletin before a received a phone call from Amy about the storm.

Several days later, when my plane landed at Dulles International Airport after more than 20 Horus of flying time back from Manila, changing planes in South Korea, then again in Los Angeles, much of the heavy snow was still on the ground and I had to dig my Porsche out of a drift in the long-term parking lot.

Two cars over, a man had the hood of his new Mercedes SL convertible open, and he was just staring at the engine bay when I asked what was wrong.

“Won’t start,” he said. “The damn thing cost more than $100,o00, and it won’t start.”

When I asked him if the engine would turn over, shook his head and said when he turned the key nothing happened.

I had jumper cables in the front trunk of my 911 and asked if that would help.

“Maybe,” he said, “but I don’t know where the battery is.” No battery in the engine bay but a friend of ours has an SL and his battery. I knew, was in the truck. We found the battery dead, I hooked up the jumper cables and let my car run for a few minutes, and it fired right up.

“Thank you,” he said. “What do I owe?”

“Nothing,” I said. Then he asked for my parking receipt. “The least I can do if pay for your parking.” I told him I my car had been in the lot for nearly three weeks.

“No problem,” he said. He insisted, and I followed him and him paying for the parking.

During another heavy snow, I was in town and drove my Wrangler down to the National Mall to shoot photos and found a new GMC Hummer stuck when it tried to go over a snow bank that left it teeter-tottering.

The guy said he had called for assistance but was told it would be more than three hours before anyone could be there.

My jeep had an 8,000 pound Warn winch and I offered to pull off. I had to tie my back bumper to a tree with a tow strap but managed to get him off the bank.

“I can’t tell my friends that a Wrangler rescued a Hummer,” he said. I thought about pointing out that a Hummer2 was, in fact, a GMC SUV with big tires but packed up my tow strap and went on to take photos.

One of those photos was one of my favorite shots of snow in Washington: A man on cross-country skies traveling the Mall in the snow with the Capitol in the background. That photo appears at the top of this article.

When my Wrangler went in for service a few weeks later, I told the story about the Hummer incident, and they gave me a bumper sticker that remained on the Wrangler for many years. It said “Hummer Recovery Vehicle.”

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