So. If there’s one thing Oregon doesn’t know, it’s roads. Specifically, trying to sand roads when winter tightens its grip. Minnesota has sanding down to a science; as soon as the sky gives the slightest inkling that some white stuff might come aflyin’, BAM the streets are flooded with salt trucks and sand trucks. Sure, they dump the salt like all fury in an attempt to make the very fillings in your teeth rust out, but at least Minnesota gets the sand right. And this is something that would never catch your notice until you visited a place that managed to get it so dead wrong.
Minnesota road sand is beach sand. Not beautiful white coastline sand, but lake sand. Sandbox sand. Coarse stuff that’s perfect for sculpting a city of sandcastles over a nest of hornets. It comes in heavy bags from Fleet Farm. It ensures that Minnesota commerce need not come to a screeching halt the second a quarter inch of snow graces the pavement. Minnesota road sand is fine and harmless.
Oregon road sand is not sand at all, but angry red volcanic rock. It is extremely light and porous and prone to not staying on the ground. Oregon road sand eats Minnesota road sand for breakfast and typically matures to marble size, at which point it becomes extremely feisty beneath the tire. Rather useless as an auxillary traction device, Oregon road sand is best suited for shooting out from beneath trucks and busting windshields. On the drive back from Bend I got my glass kicked at least five times by frighteningly large rocks. Driving back from Portland this weekend, my roommate’s windshield got nailed by a fist-sized chunk right in front of his face. He ducked out of the way and almost drove into the Columbia in the process.
Yikes. Be careful out there kids, or you’re gonna have a lot of free steaks to chew through.