The first snowfall of the 2008/2009 winter season is always anticipated. Whether it is with excitement or dread, well, that depends on the person. My brother longs for the snow so he can get out his snowboard. My father cringes at the thought of winter, because of the sub-zero temperatures and the work it brings. Who looks forward to scraping off your car early in the morning while you can see your breath in the frigid air when you really just want to be asleep in your warm bed?
I must say the change in seasons here in the Eastern part of Canada is refreshing. The crisp air of fall with the leaves crunching under my feet as I walk bundled up in a sweater makes me feel cozy and peaceful. My spirit is refreshed each spring when there are the remnants of snow piles here and there, and you can smell the rain in the air and see the new beginnings of life as flowers bud and leaves begin colouring the sky. And though I now live in Ontario, I grew up an Island girl, and there is nothing more wonderful than running barefoot in the soft cool sand of an early summer day before the sun has a chance to heat it. And then come August... oh what pleasure and freedom it brings when the scorching sun is beating down, and you can run from the hot sand and into the cold waves of the Atlantic ocean. Talk about feeling refreshed!
So what does this have to do with snow tires? Well, not a whole lot yet. Except that on Tuesday, Oct 21st, we had our first unexpected, and not welcomed, snowfall of the season. For me, that is a tad bit early. October?! I didn't even have my winter jacket dug out yet. Thankfully, the snow brush never left the car since the last snowfall in the spring, so I didn't have to use my arm to clean off the car windows. The snow on the ground has long since melted, but the reaction to an early snowfall still lingers.
I have joined the thousands of Canadians rushing out to buy snow tires. It may seem early to be concerned about buying snow tires, but with reports warning Canadians that there could be a shortage this year, I want to be prepared. We suffered through a snowy winter last year without snow tires, and the roads were treacherous for us!
The Toronto Sun reports: "The Ontario Safety League warned consumers yesterday to expect a snow tire shortage as a result of a mandatory winter tire legislation passed in Quebec last year, which is sucking up all of Ontario's stock." Apparently the official estimate, which was also quoted in the Toronto Sun article, is a 30% increase in the winter tire demand this season.
So this morning I headed to the Honda dealership to look into this snow tire issue. Yup, they were sold out but should be receiving a new supply later this week. Next, Costco. Score! They had 4 Michelin tires and 4 rims that would fit our car, and it was less expensive than Honda (big surprise). The downside? They don't accept Visa. So I took a chance, with about 5 people in line behind me inquiring about tires, to walk away and call my husband. Of course, he was in a meeting. Since I called 3 times within 8 minutes, he finally sent me a text message asking what was up. We proceeded to text back and forth, finally making a decision to use cash and buy at Costco. Thankfully, when I went back to the counter, 'my' four tires and rims were still available. Mission accomplished!
Now the wait to have them mounted, balanced and installed. I have called around to get quotes on having the tires put on the car, but all are more expensive than Costco, so I guess we'll wait until they can fit us in. I'm sure the snow will hold off a few more weeks, and hopefully our already poor tires will survive a round trip to Kitchener and to Buffalo.
My advice for you? If you plan to purchase winter tires this season, get up, get your keys, get to a store and buy them NOW!
Thought I would add to the "panic"... :)