Friday, January 24, 2014

Internal Combustion

Now I’ve done it.

I’ve spent years reducing my carbon footprint, getting away from fossil fuel burning engines. I stopped mowing the lawn. I even all but eliminated driving.

But this free snowblower I got is like a shot of heroin.1

I’ve had a dinky snowblower for a couple of years. We figured small driveway, small snowblower. Well, it doesn’t work that way. The key to snowblower size is the depth, not the area. Even the tiniest driveway becomes a challenge with 14 inches of wet white stuff on it.

Then a week or so ago, someone gave me his old snowblower. Really. Gave it to me. I wasn’t sure if it worked or not, but the price was right. The two of us just managed to get it into the back of my car.

The latest storm was my first chance to test it out. There wasn’t much snow. They predicted about 9 inches for our area, but I doubt we even got the square root of that. Still, the driveway was white. Time to haul out this enormous beast.

By enormous, I mean enormous! I’m a pretty burly guy, and I could barely haul it out to the front of the garage where I could plug in the electric starter. (I know … electric starters are for wimps.)

After a couple of tries, it turned over and fired up. No purring like a kitten for this guy. It growled like a grizzly!

Then I had the small matter of learning to use it. Right hand lever engages the drive gears (5 forward and 2 reverse.) Left hand lever engages the auger … the part that actually picks up the snow, pine cones, broken pieces of asphalt, and whatever other fun things lie in its path and spews them into the air.

Oh, and … maybe this is obvious to some of you … point the chute away from you. And the wind.

This baby didn’t just clear snow. It didn’t just blow snow. It didn’t just hurl snow.

It kicked snow’s ass! Really.

Ok, I didn’t actually save any time compared with shoveling. (Remember, it’s a small driveway. I spent most of the time turning.) But it was way more fun.

Time to trade the bicycle for a motorcycle.

1 I suppose.

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