7 Essentials You Must Pack for a Winter Road Trip in Idaho
There's no good way to say it, I was severely under prepared for our road trip to McCall Winter Carnival over the weekend and paid dearly for it.
When we made plans to travel up north for the second weekend of McCall Winter Carnival, I was watching the weather like a hawk. When we left Boise on Friday afternoon, McCall's forecast called for 1-3 inches overnight. Totally doable in my Mazda 3, but you know what they say about Idaho weather...wait five minutes and the forecast will change.
Boy did it! Brundage ended up with 20 inches of new snow over the weekend. Downtown McCall didn't get quite as much, but it got enough to make the side streets and un-plowed parking lots an absolute nightmare. I'm not your most responsible car owner, so the windshield wipers on my car haven't been replaced since I bought the car five years ago. We ended up stopping at Napa Auto Parts to get new ones and my car got stuck in the parking lot. It took almost an hour, a new tow rope and some very kind strangers to get us out and back onto the main road.
If I had packed some of these essentials in my car, this weekend wouldn't have been nearly as traumatizing as it was for me. According to the gals at Solo Traveler these are a must anytime you're driving into winter weather:
- Mobile Phone Charger: In case you're stranded for hours or do end up having an emergency while traveling on icy roads, the last thing you want to have happen is have your cell phone die on you. Most new cars have USB ports built into the vehicle, but it's not a bad idea to have a back up one that plugs into your cigarette lighter. Many of those allow you to charge your phone even when the car is turned off. I know the USB port in my car doesn't work if the car isn't running.
- Extra Windshield Wiper Fluid: You tend to go through it faster when driving through any type of storm: sleet, snow or rain.
- Ice Scraper: If you're traveling in the winter, this one is pretty self explanatory.
- Jumper Cables: The only time I've ever had my car die is in the winter. When your car is hanging out in cooler temps, it's easier to drain our battery by accidentally leaving on a dome light. Make a friend with someone who can give you a jump and you'll be back on the road in no time.
- Sand or Kitty Litter: I hate myself for not just walking down to Albertsons and buying some while we were stuck. My husband insists that it wouldn't have helped this weekend, but usually this is a good way to create traction under your power wheels to get moving in a particularly slippery situation.
- Tow Rope: Not only should you have one, you should know if your car has a tow hook on it. Mine didn't...so not only did we need to buy a tow rope, we had to buy a tow hook and figure out where it screwed into my car.
- Small Shovel: If we had been able to shovel a path wide enough for my wheels out of the parking lot, we could've avoided this who fiasco. Small, telescoping utility shovels exist (I had no idea) and they're around $17 on Amazon.
Before getting stuck, I was already dealing with a lot of vehicle anxiety in part to the accident I was in this summer and this pushed me over the edge. I'm this close to walking into a dealership and getting rid of my Mazda that I've lovingly named "Humpty Dumpty" for everything it's been through. I'm thinking an Outback would be a much better car for me and if I pull the trigger, you better believe the trunk will be loaded with supplies that make me obnoxiously prepared for another weekend like this.