As I mentioned last time, winter has arrived a bit early here in Portland. Luckily, our power is still on (so far), but we had no need of television or Internet to supply our entertainment Wednesday night since just outside our door was a live show of the Winter Wonderland Smash Up Derby.

Now. before anyone gets uptight saying how dangerous this could have been, how terrible a person I am for making fun of other people’s misfortune, and whatever politically correct thing you have to chastise me with, do know that no one was hurt (although one man admitted his pride had taken quite a hit) and that most everyone – after a few minutes of cursing at themselves – was laughing about the whole thing in little time.

Winter Wonderland Smash Up Derby Night

To set the scene, I live on a somewhat steep hill; the first layer of snow from earlier in the day had turned to ice; and the sanding truck wouldn’t be coming by until it was already too late to do any good.

The entertainment started when one woman’s car went sliding down the hill into another woman’s car. They got out and start laughing and exchanging info. While they’re doing this a minivan comes sliding down the hill, turning Car #2 sideways. More laughter (from them and from me).

Not a bad start.
Not a bad start.

As the group is checking the damage, someone yells, “Incoming!” Boom! Add an SUV to the pile (this girl was very stressed out over the accident but was fine).


Okay, that has to be it, right? I mean, we usually get some stupid drivers on our hill in this kind of weather, but most figure out their limitations, put the car in reverse, and find another route. This makes sense—wait is that a—!!!!!

Yep, it’s a UPS truck. Sliding backwards. Crunch! This was the only person who didn’t find the whole thing funny as he still had over two hours of deliveries to make (which begs the question of why he didn’t have his chains on). Not long after, a little red car decides to get up close and personal with the big ol’ UPS truck. Add to this a red truck (that went sort of over the hood of the red car) and you’ve got a nice little line up of cars.

Do you have any beer in that delivery truck?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t persuade the UPS driver to check his truck for beer shipments.

In between smash ups, some cars were dislodging themselves and managing either to leave or to park at the bottom of the hill to wait for a ride. Another car slid down into the truck – by this time we were almost able to predict which cars that started up the hill were going to be added to the pile.

Finally the UPS driver gets his chains on and is able to get back to work. Well, to keep the other cars from getting lonely, a BMW comes sliding down. Like a clever move in croquet, this impact dislodges the little red car from underneath the truck and, boy, that little red car may have been the closest thing to a perpetual motion machine I’ve ever seen. Somehow it missed hitting a couple cars, the fire hydrant, and the poles lining our park. But the fence around the tennis court put its travels to an end.

The car in the star was the one that was in front of the UPS truck in the previous photo!
The car in the star was the one that was in front of the UPS truck in the previous photo!

All in all we ended up witnessing ten or eleven wrecks (who can keep count!?). So why was this time so bad? Well, apparently rather than staying on the very flat and sanded highway that would have slowly but surely taken them to their destinations, their GPSs were telling them to avoid the traffic by taking side streets, including going up our hill (or not as the case would be). This is why I don’t use GPS…and why I don’t drive in the snow!

Finn McSpool’s Winter Sculpture

The next morning it was time to shovel the sidewalk and time for Finn to try his hand at making his first snowman, or rather snow beast.


Hmmm…that snow beast looks a little plain, Finn.


That’s better! Sort of. Well, Finn, you get points for effort.

Hope everyone is staying safe and that, like most of our smash up derby contestants, you’re able to find a little humor in a bad situation!

Wednesday, there’s no new work to show off, but Finn does have a special Solstice message he wants to share. Then, next Saturday, I’ll be back with the final installment of our time in Orvieto!

9 thoughts on “Winter Wonderland Smash Up Derby!

  1. What’s annoying about this storm is that it ain’t meltin’. Usually, Portland thaws within 24 hours and everybody goes back to their normal level of lunacy but this time the frigid temps are stickin’ through the weekend. It’s like the entire metro area has turned into a drunken hockey rink.

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    1. True! The sun helped a few spots yesterday, but many spots are just thawing and re-freezing. Ah well, if you can hunker down and stay out of the madness it’s not too bad. So glad I don’t have to commute up to OHSU anymore!!


  2. Brrrr! I don’t like winter. We have a bit of snow on the ground, and the bad weather spoiled our family holiday plans last Sunday. Oh, well. That’s life. As much as possible I try to stay inside and avoid any “smash-up” derbies. 🙂

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    1. I’m not a fan of the cold weather, so I spend the winter counting down the days. However, a little snow can be fun sometimes…and entertaining. Although how people live in places where it snows constantly in the winter, I’ll never fathom.

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  3. Oh wow, this is like some sort of giant outdoor snooker game… But with cars! I hope you got your thaw in time for Christmas, although at least Finn seems to be enjoying himself! Now I’m off to catch up with the rest of your seasonal bloggings… Happy new year, hope 2017 is good to you 😀

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