November 08, 2003


Driving in snow isn't nearly as difficult as people say. My method, honed over several hours in the Rocky Mountains, involves a mere three steps:

One: Turn the steering wheel towards your intended direction of travel.

Two: Note how little effect this has. Interesting, isn't it?

Three: Collide repeatedly with trees, wildlife, and other vehicles.

And that's about it. Learn these three crucial steps, and you too can be a SnowMaster! Well, I managed to avoid Step Three, but only because my elite performance driving skills saved me. These skills are faith-based. Much prayer is required.

(The Rockies, by the way, are beautiful. I'm no nature boy, but ... wow. Those Mormons did a great job building them. Congratulations, Mormons!)

So now I'm in Reno, at the Ken Layne ranch. Heard the new Corvids CD last night. It's like rock music, except you want to hear it more than once. Such guitars! I've got a small bet with Ken on the numbers he might expect to sell; my estimate is higher than his. The winner of this wager gets to leave Reno.

More soon, once the Snow Panic completely fades.

Posted by Tim Blair at November 8, 2003 05:07 AM

"Houston, we have comments. I repeat -- we have comments. Houston, do you read?"

Posted by: Andrea Harris at November 8, 2003 at 11:58 AM

I'm glad you're having such a great time! Sounds like you're dropping in on every blogger in the United States. Except me... next time you come to L.A., LET ME KNOW!

Posted by: Alice at November 8, 2003 at 12:19 PM

Hey tim i drove past John Eales shaking hands of people entering a Liberal Party function for michael johnson (

if he is going along to liberal functions, is he likely to be running anytime soon? (sorry i don't know much about how these internal things work..)

Posted by: Random_Prose at November 8, 2003 at 12:56 PM

"The Rockies are a symbol of the hatred and fury of this filthy religion..."

Posted by: Robert Fisk at November 8, 2003 at 01:48 PM

Tim, when you turn the steering wheel, you need to make sure that you are not using your brakes. If you use the brakes while turning the wheel, you keep going straight.

BTW, too bad you couldn't take the southern route through New Mexico and Arizona. It's beautiful and there's a smaller chance of running into snow.

Posted by: Tom at November 8, 2003 at 02:55 PM

Hey, the Mormons would gladly move to Australia and build you some mountains and a Great Salt Lake. Then you could practice your snow driving.

Posted by: Jabba the Nutt at November 8, 2003 at 03:06 PM

Oy gevalt, snow. I'd kinda forgotten what that crap looked like. It's fine on Christmas cards but the real deal is very unpleasant. The tropics are much more like it. It's a frigid 73F where I am right now (midnight). OK, so it's humid as hell, but WTF, that's better than freezing one's nads off.

Go South, Young Man! Or North, from your habitual abode.

Posted by: David Gillies at November 8, 2003 at 03:58 PM

Ah, David, you are my kind of a guy. I, like, totally dig tropics! San Fran is not bad (no snow), but I would not mind a bit of that Global Warming that we are continually being promised.

So, Tim, are you dropping on Bill Quick next?

Posted by: Katherine at November 8, 2003 at 04:56 PM

Yes, what's next after Reno? If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair . . . No, not necessary. I meant if you'd like free lodging in a room decorated by a teen-age girl, e-mail me -- joanne (at) Beer is included. (The teen-age girl is not.)

Posted by: Joanne Jacobs at November 8, 2003 at 07:10 PM

There is so much of it here, and it's been snowing daily for a week now.

and cold, -25c this morning.
It's supposed to be around +2c this time of year.
What is all this talk of global warming?

Oh well, early snowmobile season.

Tim, get back up in the mountains and rent some snowmobiles. It's a blast, not something the average Australian can experience.

Posted by: Hugh Wyatt at November 8, 2003 at 10:24 PM

Not only should you not eat the yellow snow, but you should be aware of another sidewalk nasty in the US.
When the spring thaw arrives, all the accumulated and frozen winter dogshit comes into its your step, mate !

Posted by: jafa at November 9, 2003 at 02:42 AM

You know, if you can make it down to North Texas probably in about a week or two, you can experience the first ice storm of the season in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. You think driving in snow is fun? Try driving on a 20-foot wide hockey rink next to a bunch of tractor trailers -- This is more thrills and chills (especially the latter part, if you're ejected into the freezing rain) than you can shake (or spin) a 1991 Cadillac at...

Posted by: John at November 9, 2003 at 05:04 AM

Re the beauty of the Rockies: "I told ya so."

Are you going to stop by Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada's? It's the spot of a small but interesting bit of American history. Hard to imagine what those folks went through as you drive by on the freshly plowed interstate.

Posted by: Polly at November 9, 2003 at 05:18 AM

It's cloudy and fiftyish in South Texas today. No Rockies, but no snow either!!

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at November 9, 2003 at 07:20 AM

they closed the mustang ranch, i think? why stick around...head for PARAGUAY! take a left. lotsa laughs here.

Posted by: ralph at November 9, 2003 at 08:46 AM

I second Polly's suggestion. Take US50 up out of Carson. Then take a lap around Tahoe-- watch out for (or mow down as Frank J would say) the hippies. Catch every view. Continue on 50 west through Donner Pass. Imagine yourself in the 1840's with no road, no food (well, almost no food).

Head for Sacramento, then Tracy. Pick up I-580 and plummet into the Bay Area. I was stationed there (Alameda NAS, which is now closed) in the 80s. Had a good time. Check out Marin County and Reyes Point. The politics are odd, but it's all beautiful. Sears Point (now AKA Infineon) Raceway is near there, too. Might be something going on.

Too bad you missed New Mexico, like the person said above. Could've given you a tour of some VERY interesting places.


Posted by: Reese at November 9, 2003 at 10:55 AM

Donner Lake , Summit, and Pass, are on Interstate 80. No sane person(even an Aussie) would drive over US 50 in the weather we are having. Take it from a California native.
Speaking of sane, why are you coming this far North in the Winter? Don't they have ducks in Australia for you to emulate?
South for the Winter - Your breaking basic natural laws the way your doing it.

Posted by: J.Mayeau at November 9, 2003 at 12:11 PM

"Sorry," he says as he breaks out his atlas. Yes 50 goes Southish to Placervillie befor Sacramento. And 80 goes from Sacramento to the Bay Bridge, not via Tracy.

I woulda gotten the dude lost in New Mexico.

It was like, twenty years ago[excuse].

Posted by: Reese at November 9, 2003 at 12:28 PM

But what about lunch?

Posted by: Bruce at November 9, 2003 at 01:16 PM

I was at Donner Pass in the summer once. They have a tree there that's cut off at the level of the snow cover the year the Donners were there. (Or maybe it's a different tree cut to the same height. Or a pole. Something like that.) You find it hard to imagine snow that high.

Lake Tahoe was beautiful. I have photos of the impossibly green forest beside the impossibly blue lake in Emerald Bay. I'm surprised afresh every time I look at them. Don't know what it's like in the winter.

J. Mayeau---Silly, in Australia you head north in the winter, toward the equator. Tim's just doing what comes naturally.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at November 9, 2003 at 02:15 PM

Drive up to Tahoe in the afternoon, then back down to Reno at night after the lights are on. Transcendant.

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at November 9, 2003 at 04:47 PM

"they closed the mustang ranch, i think?"

Ken Layne Ranch put 'em out of business I hear...;)

Posted by: Malcolm J. at November 9, 2003 at 05:58 PM


your blog is getting completely irrelevant...

Posted by: Skinny Hippo at November 9, 2003 at 06:47 PM


Posted by: pooh at November 9, 2003 at 08:31 PM

Tim, there's one thing to remember if you want to drive safely in the snow. Do it in an Audi quattro.
Very effective Snow Panic fader.

Posted by: galen at November 9, 2003 at 09:07 PM

Yes, the Web diary of Tim Blair is becoming "irrelevant" because lately it features news of - Tim Blair.

Posted by: Dave S. at November 10, 2003 at 01:38 AM

Ssh! It's all part of our Secret Plan™ to get rid of "readers" like Skinny Hippo.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at November 10, 2003 at 02:19 AM

I almost forgot a major tourist attraction in the Reno area. Be sure to go to Sparks, Nevada to see "The Guns of Elvis." There is a truck stop in Sparks (at least there was 10 years ago) that had a display of various Elvis stuff, including some guns. Magical!

Posted by: Polly at November 10, 2003 at 04:57 AM

Skinny Hippo sounds like a me-me. If it isn't about you chances are it isn't important, right Hippo?
Thats cool! Really ! It is important to be the center of one's universe. The part about Knowing your place in the grand scheme of things is where you need work.

Posted by: papertiger at November 10, 2003 at 06:06 AM

I wish I were taking that trip. I ain't afraid a no snow.

Posted by: Lucygoosey at November 10, 2003 at 07:00 AM

Pooh, Dave, AH, papertiger, onya for tolerating a slightly dissenting opinion, not endorsed by the Tim Blair Personality Cult(tm)...
Sorry for offending Saint Tim, but he's been scribbling some disinterested, perfunctory entries for the last few weeks.
I hope he's having a good time though.

Posted by: Skinny Hippo at November 10, 2003 at 08:28 AM

Skinny Hippo,

Surely you mean uninterested rather than disinterested.

Posted by: Bob H. at November 10, 2003 at 09:17 AM

Skinny Hippo, dissent is fine. Just questioning what you mean by 'irrelevant'.

'Relevant' to me has overtones of lefty academics - you know, everything has to be 'relevant', discuss the 'relevance' etc etc.

I spent far too much time in arts lectures.

Posted by: pooh at November 10, 2003 at 10:06 AM

Hi Bob H,

you're absolutely right, no dissent here.
It's quite a bad mistake.

Posted by: Skinny Hippo at November 10, 2003 at 11:48 AM

Thats the spirit Hip . You see it is an adventure in the land of Cowboys Tim is on.On his own personal journey. Nice of him to share a bit of his travel log.

Tim you could spice it up by giving your Log a Star Trek feel.

ie: Tim's Log; Stardate 31303
Having spent time studying the Reno region of the planet Nevada, I proceded on toward Starfleet Command in San Francisco along the Donner corridor. The natives have been friendly if a bit put off by my superior technical skills...

Ya like that

Posted by: papertiger at November 10, 2003 at 12:47 PM

make sure you try the Donner Party Buffet too...

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at November 10, 2003 at 10:45 PM

Leave no child behind - literally. Vote Donner Party '04!

Posted by: iowahawk at November 11, 2003 at 04:02 AM

And remember that the Donner Party Cookbook makes a great gift for the folks back home!

Posted by: Ron at November 11, 2003 at 05:41 AM

Donner - it's what's for dinner(TM)

A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Donner is a meal! (TM)

Donner - the other white meat(TM)

Posted by: iowahawk at November 11, 2003 at 06:14 AM

This is the most riveting account of life on the front line of the war on terror since Salam Pax. Who'd have thought the internet would become so useful in such a short time? Technology's amazing! The way it brings people together, like it does here on the blogmore!

Posted by: Miranda Divide at November 11, 2003 at 10:12 AM

Here's a Love song for Skinny Hippo, because my universe is in orbit around your's.

Iowahawk your posts are eating away at the Donner Parties core constituency. Chewing up their voting bloc.

Posted by: papertiger at November 11, 2003 at 10:16 AM

Miranda, here in America we don't call it The War On Terror. We use it's acronym instead -


See it saves space and is easier on the fingers to type!

Posted by: papertiger at November 11, 2003 at 10:20 AM

Oops! That should have been

T.W.O.T. instead of T.W.A.T.

My bad.

Posted by: papertiger at November 11, 2003 at 10:23 AM

How do members of the donner Party bring up their children?
By sticking fingers down their throats.

Posted by: Habib at November 11, 2003 at 10:33 AM

Lay off the Donner Party. We only ate the ones that needed eaten.

Posted by: Survivor at November 11, 2003 at 10:53 AM

I have an idea for a new Reality Teevee™ show... Teaser: "The tribe has eaten!"

Posted by: Andrea Harris at November 11, 2003 at 11:35 AM

TWOT you say? Thanks for the tip. BTW i of course meant 'blogmire' in my earlier post, not blogmore. Hope that clears things up for you. What's the latest in Iraq? Any more 'transfer tubes' or 'human remains pouches' yet? How's that Osama doing? Probably taking tea in Islamabad with that well known democrat , General Musharraf.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at November 11, 2003 at 11:37 AM

T.W.I.T. or T.W.O.T. What a difference a letter makes! Can't help you with Osama's whereabouts, but lets make a pact. If you find him or I find him lets agree to split the $25 million 50/50, Deal?

What's the latest in Iraq?
Ask someone who lives there.

Posted by: papertiger at November 11, 2003 at 12:54 PM

The War Against Terror? Hate to waste a good acronym.

Posted by: RJT at November 11, 2003 at 01:44 PM

Don't be confused by the headline of the article at

Posted by: Anthony from Chippendale at November 11, 2003 at 02:14 PM

If Mike Moore had been with the Donner Party, they'd still be there- probably would have opened a diner and a processing plant for the export market.

Posted by: Habib at November 11, 2003 at 10:09 PM

By God Habib. You are offensive! Well done. Now if you would just get your name on the poll, I will vote for you.

Posted by: papertiger at November 11, 2003 at 10:50 PM

You're three months too late, Mr. B. Since you seem to be a car guy, you should have been there during Hot August Nights.

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at November 12, 2003 at 06:43 AM

Stardate 3103- onward to San Francisco, a backwards planet, where men breed with men, and women are taboo

Australians always go north for the winter. Tim keeps forgetting he's not in oz anymore.

Posted by: Hugh Wyatt at November 12, 2003 at 10:30 PM