The Dubuque landscape can provide breathtaking beauty when snow begins to cover its many rolling bluffs. But that feeling of blissfulness can soon turn to white-knuckle fear if your commute involves one of those slopes.
Here is a sampling of 10 of the city's most challenging streets for winter driving.
WEST THIRD STREET
The challenge: A long, straight shot.
Why you should be afraid: Perhaps the scariest part of this slope is that you can see all the upcoming hazards, notably the busy Bluff, Locust and Main street intersections at the bottom.
Similar slopes: Loras Boulevard, Madison Street, North Main Street, West 28th Street, Saunders Street.
MOUNT CARMEL ROAD
The challenge: The steep bluff along the side.
Why you should be afraid: Don't look down! The guard rail on the side should keep you from going over the edge, but it could carve some racing stripes into your paint job.
Similar slopes: Lawther/East 29th streets, Klingenberg Terrace.
WEST FIFTH STREET
The challenge: A cliff dead ahead.
Why you should be afraid: This hill (between Gilmore and Bluff) has the dread of a roller-coaster. You're certain that you're going to crash through the railing ahead and plunge over the bluff into the municipal parking lot.
Similar slopes: Liberty Avenue, Eagle Street, West 11th Street,
UNIVERSITY AVENUE/WEST NINTH STREET
The challenge: The obstacle course in the middle of the hill.
Why you should be afraid: It's long and steep with a few twists, but the greatest difficulty is navigating past the infamous "Mix Master," a series of islands where Hill and Eighth streets intersect.
Similar slope: Hill/Eighth streets.
The challenge: Steepness.
Why you should be afraid: A short street, but it's the city's steepest, with a 22-percent grade. You can't see the bottom from the top.
Similar slopes: Spruce Street, West Eighth Street, Prospect Street.
The challenge: Parked cars.
Why you should be afraid: As any Jefferson Middle School parent or bus driver could tell you, there isn't much room for error squeezing between the parked vehicles and oncoming traffic.
Similar slopes: Wildwood Drive, Heeb Street, West Fifth Street (between Nevada and Hill).
The challenge: Right angles.
Why you should be afraid: Lose it on this hill and your vehicle could pinball off a couple of stone retaining walls before being deposited onto the lower portion of Loras Boulevard.
Similar slopes: Gold/Merchant/Foye streets, Arlington Street/Grove Terrace.
The challenge: A double switchback.
Why you should be afraid: Drivers have to come to a near stop to negotiate the two hairpin turns within a block of each other. This street is difficult to drive in DRY weather.
Similar slopes: Fortunately, none.
The challenge: Narrowness.
Why you should be afraid: You're likely to end up sideswiping a parked vehicle or a stone retaining wall ... or a building.
Similar slopes: Althauser Street, Cornell Street, Walnut Street (off Loras), Air Hill Street.
KELLY LANE/OLD MILL ROAD
The challenge: Long and winding.
Why you should be afraid: You could slide off at any number of points on this twisting descent.
Similar slopes: Valley Street, Dodge Street, Fremont Avenue, Olympic Heights, Sheridan Road, Kane Street (between Primrose and Kaufmann), North Grandview (anywhere north of Dexter Street).