So I dropped off my truck to get the winter tires mounted. It was 39°, drizzling, and a little breezy. In other words, a typical mid-October morning.
I went to a larger shop this time, one which boasts of having 22 work bays. I was number five in line, and had only been waiting for 20 minutes when they opened the doors. That's a good thing, as it turned out: a guy about three places behind me is apparently a federal employee, and was on hold with the Office of Personnel Management the whole time, and even after we got into the lobby.
How do I know this? He had his phone on "speaker", and was broadcasting their scratchy 20 seconds of some classical music, followed by the same lengthy announcement each time. This was clearly audible to all in line.
For 25 minutes.
Even after he got through to a live person, the conversation was loud and clear, and we all got to hear every word that was spoken. Sigh...
You do meet an interesting slice of Anchorage society in those lines, though. :)
Ah well, back to the topic at hand. The long-term winter forecast is for another mild winter like last year. That one featured a LOT more ice than usual, and little snow. So back to the studded tires I go; I've had enough, long ago, of sliding through stoplights like a Zamboni on steroids.
We're trying some of the studless winter tires on my wife's new car, and look forward to finding out if they work as advertised. The rubber compound contains a large percentage of silicon, it seems, and they're supposed to remain soft and sticky, even on ice.
We shall see.
But I'm just happy to have the snow tires mounted before any accumulating snow is in the forecast. That always triggers a stampede of locals to every tire store in town, with lines that stretch around each building. Standing in those lines during inclement weather isn't any fun, either.
But it's all part of the rich pageant that is life in Alaska, you see. I'm thinking I may buy the least expensive wheels I can find, next spring, and having the snow tires permanently mounted. Then I can change them myself, and avoid the lines.