A.K.A. Driving an AMG over a snowy mountain pass in the middle of January A.K.A. One of the stupider things I’ve done in my life. Here’s the story of how my new-to-me car thought we were in a Lord of the Rings movie:
Just a couple of days ago my flight landed in Salt Lake City, Utah and fellow opponaut alfalfa picked me up and drove me to the little used car dealer who had possession of an E55 AMG of the venerable W210 chassis with the exact trim level I had been looking for for quite some time. There was no way I was leaving without it. Black paint with red (burgundy?)/black two-tone interior with ventilated seats in excellent condition. I’ve made a couple of short posts about it over the past two weeks.
Having arrived at the dealer I made sure everything was in order and then finished out the paperwork and took possession of the keys. There was one little problem though. They were supposed to supply me with a set of tire chains for the rear axle so that my 700+ mile drive home could be completed more safely. They were unable to find said tire chains in time because of the rare size needed, 275/35R18. High on adrenaline, feeling like a million bucks, and fresh out of fucks we took off to go grab some lunch with opponaut noob Lossy.
Lossy was running late so I made good on my promise to let alfalfa drive the new turd for picking me up from the airport. We ate at Atlantis Burger, fast food burgers and gyros!? It was good. But you don’t care about this, so let’s get on with it!
Time to head home. Not five minutes out of SLC snow starts falling. Yay. I love snow. It’s one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. But this was not the time for it. This car is specified to have ~350hp and ~390ft.lbs. of torque and is RWD. Definitely not the ideal choice for snow covered roads.
It gets better.
The tires on this beast are some super A-1 very awesome much good Chinese “GoForm” summer tires up front and some Bridgestone Potenza RE760 “honey, I forgot to add the sipes” summer performance tires out back. Neither of which are pleased to be under 40℉ let alone going through snow.
Now in my defense, I did make an honest attempt at finding some chains and snow tires for myself before leaving SLC. No one had either in stock, due to size.
The snow didn’t accumulate much and only lasted for about an hour. But that was a fairly white-knuckle hour. Don’t tell my wife.
Made it to Boise, Idaho in reasonable time and grabbed a couple of beers and a steak sammich. Mmmm dems good eatin’! Stayed the night in a hotel there.
Left the next day around noon in an attempt to let any overnight ice thaw a bit. Pretty smooth sailing for a little while until I ran into a very dense wall of fog. No big deal, just slow down for a while.
Shortly after the fog lifted, the snow once again started falling. Luckily it wasn’t sticking to the road at all. Continued on like this for a while, what little traffic there was flowing nicely at 80mph.
Then, conveniently, just over the crest of a large hill with a 5% downgrade, the snow had apparently decided it wanted to accumulate some time ago. Joy. There was probably up to 3 inches in slush ruts covering the whole road. If you haven’t driven in this stuff before, just know that slush is heavy and will pull you wherever it wants if your tires can’t move it first.
Oh. Tires again. Yeah. Mine don’t like slush. My tires are the Balrog to the snow’s Gandalf and I SHALL NOT PASS! And of course there was a rather bro-ish (bro-ified?) truck barreling down on me from behind going faster than I was because he is invincible in his lifted 4WD truck, bruh.
Wait a second. What’s this sensation? Oh shit, that’s my back end feeling... disconnected. I should not be able to see the side of said bro-truck in my mirror, but I can. Life flashing cliche, blah blah blah. Driver’s seat no longer red, if you get my meaning...
Gently let off of the throttle, even more gently counter-steer and magically it seems to straighten out. Fuck, too much! Back the other way! All the while slowing down ever so slightly the Mercedes Magic ESP Control© thing does it’s magic stuff and straightens the car out more successfully than a Mormon conversion therapy camp.
Oppositelock is fun. But not at 80mph downhill on a snowy mountain pass. By the way, this mountain pass, I learned a few minutes later, is called Dead Man’s Pass. No joke.
Well, I died, and am writing this from my cold snowy grave on the side of the mountain. Either that or I eventually made it home safely. You decide. It was incredibly beautiful almost the whole way, west on I-84 to its end.
Yes, I know this was a very stupid thing to attempt. Learn from my stupidity. But you know what? It was one hell of an adventure and I don’t regret doing it.
TLDR: Stop being lazy, read the damn thing.