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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Over the Hills and Through the Desert

Last week, my co-worker and I traveled “above the Rim” to Show Low for a meeting. When we met at the car, I had to laugh. Between the two of us, we had a blanket, two sweaters, two coats, a scarf, lots of snacks, and plenty of water. I had the address programmed into the map app on my phone, and my co-worker had printed out the directions in case we lost cell service. We both had checked the weather forecast that morning as Show Low can get snow. We were prepared for anything just as you might expect from two emergency management professionals on a road trip.  
On the road to Show Low

We settled in for the 175-mile long drive. One of the first things I noticed was the different ways people drive their vehicles. Some drivers are conscientious about what is happening around them and some aren’t – like the gentleman driving next to us who changed speeds so often I got dizzy. He was in front of us, then behind us, then back in front of us, while we continued at a steady pace.

Or the car that weaved from the left side of his lane to the right side and back multiple times. We got away from him as quickly as possible.

The topography between Phoenix and Show Low changes as you gain altitude. And so does the weather. A sunny and cool day in Phoenix might be an overcast and cold day in Show Low.  Snow, rain and freezing temperatures would change how one would drive on the twisting roads in eastern Arizona. Snow had fallen 10 days prior, but there was nothing on the road to worry about.

We also noticed that fire danger was low across the state - about right for this time of year. Unfortunately, that will change soon enough. Fire season always seems to come too soon in Arizona. It is, however, encouraging to see roadside fire danger signs being used to keep the public informed.

Another thing we noticed on our road trip was something most people might not think about – bicycle safety. We drove around a corner somewhere between Globe and Show Low and two bike riders were pedaling slowly up a hill. They were decked out for safety, carrying saddle bags with supplies, wearing reflective clothing, and prepared with blinking lights on their bikes. Drivers need to be aware of the potential of biker riders on any road in the state.

Our meeting was a success and our road trip to Show Low was uneventful, which in this case is a good thing. However, if it had snowed or we had gotten stranded, we would have been prepared.

Find more preparedness tips online at AzEIN.

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