The snow was supposed to start by 1 p.m., but by 4 p.m., I've reached Waterville, Maine, and there's still no sign of the approaching blizzard. So I decide to exit the highway and head to my alma mater, Colby College, to see if there are any unplowed lots where I can practice my plowmanship before nightfall. I'm in luck, as the parking area near the soccer fields is covered in snow. But not for long. Thanks to me, if anyone needs to play snow soccer, there will now be ample parking. And I'm 85 percent sure that the area I scraped clean was in fact a parking lot - and not a flower bed or a breeding ground for an endangered species. You're welcome, Colby. Since I contributed this valuable service free of charge, I probably don't need to contribute to the alumni fund this year, right?
As night falls, I get back on the highway and head south, hoping to drive into the maw of the storm. By the time I reach the Gardiner tolls, about a half-hour away, it's starting to come down. The tollbooth cashier eyes my plow and says, "Heading south? It's just rain down there." I reply that that's too bad, because I want some snow. "Me, too!" she replies happily, as if snow would be a novel meteorological departure from Maine's typical February forecast. As I take my change, she adds, "I hope we get a foot!" Indeed. And I hope to meet the invisible leprechaun who lives in the Gardiner tollbooths and magically cures seasonal affective disorder.
With the snow falling hard now, I pull over at a rest area and open the sunroof to install my magnetic orange strobe light on the roof. It turns out that the sunroof is a plow itself - as it slides back into the roof, the wet snow is scraped off the surface, eventually reaching critical mass and avalanching down into my lap. Well, I guess there's a reason they don't call it a snowroof.
Wasting no time, I drop the blade and begin making passes across the parking lot. I take one swipe laterally, but when I reach the end of the parking lot, I see that this strategy will result in a snowbank blocking the door to Starbucks. So I take the perpendicular course and conclude my passes at the existing snowbanks that ring the lot. The snow is wet and heavy, but the G550 barely notices. The steering is a little heavier than usual, but when you goose the gas, the G-wagen feels like it would rip off a respectable 0-to-60-mph time even while spraying a wave of snow off the plow. I've never been behind the wheel of the AMG version, but I imagine it's something like driving a rocket-powered storage unit.