Don’t forget the tire chains this time of year

I don’t go anywhere this time of year without chains. So when I buy a new vehicle, the first thing I get for it isn’t a set of floor mats or a Wyoming Cowboys window sticker – it’s a set of hard-core tire chains.

My dad taught me the value of a good set of tire chains at a young age. I was probably eight years old, riding along with my dad on a spring bear hunt, and we got mired in the mud on a forest road outside of Pinedale.

Dad looked over at me and said, “This is no problem. I’ll just get the chains on and we’ll be out in no time.”

Unfortunately, he had washed out a winter’s worth of accumulated hay, trash, sticks, firewood chunks and other debris before our trip, and the chains didn’t make it back into the tool box. Worse yet, neither did the tow chain.

We dug for a while, hoping someone would come along with a logging chain, and finally, someone did. That guy already had his chains on his tires, so it didn’t take much to get us out of the soup. But from that day on, neither dad nor I went anywhere without double-checking to see that we had all our chains in the truck before we left the garage.

That’s why the first thing I got for my new truck was a set of tire chains. I probably should have gotten a gooseneck hitch or a set of running boards for it, or possibly a new toolbox. But I’ll make do with the old tool box out of the old truck, and the family can hop into the cab for awhile – Lord knows I could use the exercise. But I’m not going anywhere without chains.

I might have been able to get by with new tires, with a more aggressive tread than the highway slicks that came on it, but who needs to buy new tires when you can just strap some chains on them?

No, I’d rather have the chains, thank you. All that other stuff can wait. Besides, what does it matter if you have hitches, running boards or tool boxes if you can’t get them anywhere? That’s what chains are for, right?