Weather Crap Travel

I’m back at home after the holiday. The Thanksgiving part of the trip was great but the travel was completely screwed up. The trip down was just slow because of heavy traffic and darkness and rain. The trip home was gruesome.

On Saturday we left Orleans at around 9:45am in the pouring rain and by the time we got to Happy Camp it was snowing. Oh, also before Happy Camp we had to stop because there was a fresh slide and we had to get out and move big rocks out of the road so we could drive by. It snowed the entire drive to I5, slushy but heavy and accumulating. At the 96 I5 junction we stopped at the rest stop to see how the road was and we were informed that Siskiyou pass was a mess, chains required and that two semis had jackknifed southbound and it was an ever-loving mess and gee, didn’t they feel sorry for us having to go that way. It would probably take 3 hours to get over the pass.

Since I moved to the PAC NW I have been paranoid and ever watchful of winter weather on trips to California. And on this trip it never occurred to us to even check.

We weren’t happy with this news, but what can you do? We drove to Yreka which had very heavy accumulations, not a whole lot of plowing happening, and we slushed our way to a tire store to buy chains and then found a nice Mexican restaurant and had a relaxing lunch and then went for it, figuring the pass was probably plowed and we wouldn’t need the chains and we’d just enjoy each others company and listen to books on tape and deal with it.

I do not ski, so have never been in a mandatory chains situation before and I found it rather thrilling. We pulled over in a long line of cars and trucks stretching as far as you could see up and down the mountain and put on chains in the wet and heavy snowfall. Do you mean to tell me we can send a man to the moon but there is no better way to make tires safe for driving in the snow? They even had a chain inspection station to see if you had them on. But no jackknifed semi and not even a lot of traffic. We breezed over at 30 miles an hour with our heads vibrating from the chains and finally got to Ashland, got the things off and continued home in what quickly became pouring rain.

It took us over 10 1/2 hours which is about 2 1/2 hours longer than usual but didn’t seem so bad when we heard my mother-in-law’s tale. She got stuck in the backwash of the Sea-Tac meltdown. She was in Orange County and her plane got stuck at Sea-Tac. To make a long story short she didn’t get home until 3am.

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