"That Went Well." In the ditch.

So, I was driving down to Rolla, MO this morning in my work truck (F-350 Super Duty), on I-44, on a service call. I-44 is littered with vehicles in the median every few miles. The road is kind of strange; some stretches are clear asphalt, some look like they haven’t even been touched yet by a snow plow. Some, as you’ll see, are clear asphalt, yet slicker than owl shit.

Just past exit 251 (Hwy. 100/Washington, MO), and going up a fairly steep hill (for an interstate) traffic begins to really slow down. I let up on the gas, decelerating smoothly, and hit my 4-ways to let the truckers (who are tooling along 60+ mph like it’s nothing) behind me know to look out.

Towards the top of the hill, where it starts to level out some, folks began speeding up a bit. I was going about 20 mph, and started to gently accelerate. I got to about 25-30 mph near the crest of the hill when my back end broke loose, I went 180*, and wound up facing east on a west-bound highway, in the median.

I struck the highway divider pole/cable arrangement going backwards, and bent the poles up under my truck. It was a real interesting time getting it unstuck, but I was able to drive ~3 miles to the nearest body shop/garage.

The mechanic said the ball joint look like it got whacked pretty hard, and one of the poles impaled my spare tire (tucked up under the bed of the truck), so he couldn’t recommend my driving it back to Maryland Heights (St. Louis). Enterprise came through with a GMC Canyon (a little light for what we do, but I wasn’t going to be picky today).

So: no one injured, no other cars involved, just body damage to the work truck.

Not my best day, but it could’ve been much worse, so I’m not complaining.

Indeed. Sounds like you lucked out.

The only question I have is this…how slick must owl shit be (in comparison to other varieties of the substance) for it to be used in this context? I had no idea that owls had this reputation. Feel free not to answer; I’ve just never heard the expression before.

Oooh, black ice. That shit is the worst. It lures you into a false sense of dry pavement until you start spinning around.

Technically, I think the term actually refers to something really neat, or “cool;” not to something slippery or slick. But I often mix terms like this. Comes from being transplanted, rather than native.

Cat: normally, I carry ~1/2 ton of weight in the back of my truck (I check scales), but I left them at the customer’s facility in Rolla on Tuesday, since I knew I was going back down there today. But I didn’t think about the incoming weather on Tuesday.


Pickup trucks with next to nothing in the bed don’t do well on snow, much less patchy ice.


:frowning: Crap.

I was just sitting here thinking about my near-miss today, and it hit me: my Mom died 5 years ago today.

Now I’m kinda bummed.

ok, apparently I’m in need of having some ignorance fought:

I thought owls didn’t shit, but instead regurgitated the undigestables of their meal as a pellet?

I prefer “slicker 'n snot.” Snot is pretty slick, you know.

Owl Shit has a coefficient of friction of about .006

For comparison, telfon is .04

Bet you wish you were still a tank, eh?

Seriously, glad you’re okay.

That spare tire probably took the bullet for something much more expensive.

Owls shit and have pellets.

Cite: http://www.owlpages.com/articles.php?section=owl+physiology&title=Digestion

Glad you made it out as well as you did.

My kids act like I’m crazy when I refuse to lend them a car to drive to a movie or a mall in crap weather. Your post is a good example of how things can go wrong even when you think you are being super careful. When the weather is at its worst, the list of things that can get my cars out of the garage grows short indeed.

Owls absolutely shit. One of the best techniques for finding owls in the woods is to look for the “whitewash” they leave on the sides of the trees. And presumably in the cabs of pickups they they’re driving backwards into medians.

Minnesotan here. As soon as you described what happened, I knew you’d fess up as to what was missing. Sure enough, post #4 comes along! When I was young, we used to take the weight out and drive like we were Starsky and/or Hutch. (Who usually drove, S or H?)

Be serious - Zebra One was ALL Starsky’s! :stuck_out_tongue:

LOVED that car. Is it true that Clint Eastwood’s recent film was actually an homage?

A couple weeks ago in the Adirondacks I came upon some old fashioned white ice (well, more like black ice that was so thick you could see it) I hadn’t seen any ice on the roads so far and I was going less then 45 in a 55 zone when I started going around a curve and saw the ice spot and probably managed to get down to 40, but I could not slow down more because there were cars in the other lane so if I applied the brakes more I might have skidded prematurely into them. So I spun around 1 1/2 times, into the other lane (thankfully I was on the inside of the curve!) and then back into my own lane before skidding to a stop right in front of a car going the other way.

But I took some killer pictures of semi-icy streams so it was worth it!

That stretch of I-44 sucks even in good weather. Supposedly Missouri is going to modernize that section through Rolla sometime this decade. Memo to truckers: Those yellow caution signs with the yellow flashing lights and speed limit of 45 mph are there for a reason.

Nah. American tanks have hard rubber pads covering most of their track, and do NOT do well on snow-covered roads.

Think “ice-cube-on-a-linoleum-floor.” Not good for a 60+ ton vehicle.

Yeah. :o The original “Plan B” would’ve had me back down to the customer’s on Wednesday, and all my weights would have been back in my truck.

The real kicker is, the “special part” (from a 3rd-party manufacturer) that the customer just had to have, it doesn’t work with our equipment. So today, I wound up replacing the entire assembly with one of ours.

I told them on Tuesday they could get the equipment up-and-running in 30 minutes if they just replaced the assembly with one of ours, and if they had listened to me and let me replace the crap assembly on Tuesday, as I wanted to, none of this would’ve happened.

In the end, for their obstinance, they paid for two trips (~110 miles one-way!) down to their plant, about 8 hours of regular labor, 4 hours of overtime, ~$700 +FedEx Std. Overnight S/H for a part that didn’t work, and another ~$275 for our assembly, which did. I told my boss we needed to try to slip in the repair cost for my truck into the final bill, under “Misc. Transportation Expense.” Just kidding.

That’s a paycheck or three for some working stiff who’s probably going to get laid off when (not if) this company runs into financial difficulties.

I have some Pit-worthy words for plant “engineers” who refuse to listen to not only the specialists they bring in to do a job, but who then also refuse to listen to the Tech Support from the 2nd-rate, 3rd-party manufacturer of the crap they do buy.

I had to stop in in Union this morning on my way back down to Rolla, to transfer some tools and parts from my regular truck to the rental, and I lost count of the skid marks headed for the median, terminating in bent poles.


That’s a bad-assed stretch of road.