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Published: January 22nd 2010
Well, we had to come to California to hit snow. The first two days were relatively uneventful though. Regina to Billings, Montana the first day was pretty boring. Billings to Twin Falls, Idaho the second was more interesting, as we took the I90 west to Bozeman and Butte, then turned south toward Twin Falls. This took us through the "high desert", which is really in between the mountains, but are flat plains with nothing but scrub brush and lots of cattle, but with pretty mountains in the background. Small towns and farms are dotted pretty sparsely through here, and they look pretty much the worse for wear.
The third day though was the crazy one. We had a 10 or so hour drive ahead of us (so we thought), so we were up early and on the road by 7:15. Steve's brother Don had called and warned us that there was snow in the high Sierras (the mountains we had to cross to get to California), so we kept up a good pace and didn't stop for long - just gas, a quick bite, and back on the road. It was a beautiful day, and we thought we had been
able to dodge the storm. Then we got to Reno. Yes, Reno, Nevada. I thought it was supposed to be desert - like Los Vegas. Nope! It's high in the mountains, with pine trees, and lots and lots of heavy, wet snow. The highway weather channel warned us that we would need chains to cross Donner pass - between Reno and Sacramento, so we paid highway robbery prices for a set of chains, and because it was cold and wet, we paid a highway worker to put them on for us. They had guys with bright yellow rain suits flagging everyone off the highway to offer their services, and right after that was a checkpoint where they wouldn't let you back onto the highway without chains on. Still, it went fairly well, and we clanked along OK for about 5 minutes, until the traffic came to a full stop - for a full hour. We waited in a long row of vehicles with the snow falling heavier by the minute, and no sign of what the trouble was up ahead. We learned later that there were 5 accidents every hour all day along that stretch of road, and the tow
trucks were working steady to clear people off the road so the traffic could flow again. Once we finally got going, we crawled along at about 25 miles per hour. It took us 2 hours to go 30 miles. By the time we got to Don and Irene's house, we had been on the road for over 14 hours.
I hope the weather is nice back home. Here in California, we are having record rains, snow, and cold weather. There was a tornado and waterspout in Long Beach, with high winds and flooding all through southern California - yep, where we are headed next week. Did I mention that I don't like being wet and cold?
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