Mercedes-Benz G-Class - Gelandeplowagen

The plow controls are simple, with a joystick for up, down, left, and right. There's something adolescently awesome about driving a truck with a plow on it, shoving snow into a pile, lifting the blade with a whine of hydraulics, and going back for another pass. As a kid, I loved playing in the sandbox with Tonka bulldozers, and a plow truck is a Tonka bulldozer extrapolated to adult scale. I've always thought that plowing looks like fun, and it is.

Unfortunately, I'm not very good at it. Every time I make a pass through the lot, twin streaks of clumpy snow spray off the edges of the plow. So I back up to eradicate these misshapen picket fences with two more passes, but I succeed only in multiplying the mess. There's just one thing to do: get out of here and start over with a parking lot that isn't already screwed up.

I set the navigation system to the nearest Benz dealership, on the premise that a bunch of Mercedes vehicles should get plowed free by a Mercedes. En route, I encounter an empty logging truck that is fishtailing up a hill. I swoop in front of it, drop my plow, and the truck driver is so grateful that he begins driving six inches from my rear bumper, lest a flake of snow get betwixt my plow and his tires. Perhaps this is why you see so many plow trucks driving around in blizzards with their blades raised.

At the Mercedes lot, I work on refining my technique. While two GMC pickups are hidden behind the service department, plows dormant, I'm busy clearing out the row of C-classes, the smattering of GLKs, and the forlorn snowy SLs. It's a Sunday night and the place is deserted, but a look at the security tapes the next morning will reveal a mysterious man in a G-wagen doing well-intentioned, if haphazard, plow work.

I'm getting better at making debris-free passes - it's all about angling the blade - but the last few feet are what confound me. The professionals smoothly lift the plow as they reach the terminus of their run, building perfect little mountains with remarkably steep gradients. I, on the other hand, tend to leave the plow down too long. So at the verge of the snowbank, I raise the plow a bit, then inch forward a little more and raise the plow again, until the plow can go no higher and the G-wagen is crabbing futilely against my Machu Picchu terrace of snow. Real plow guys make snowbanks. I make snow ziggurats.

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