March 17, 2015

Snow Trouble

As most of you already know, I live in Sunny Southern California (not trying to make you guys jealous or anything!) but I have had local snow experience. 

A few years ago (maybe 4 years now) after my nieces visited my parents and I in LA I had to drive them up the I-5 to hand them back to their parents at a midway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was January 1st and it was raining at my house. This can mean that it is snowing in the surrounding mountains. 

I looked up the weather report for the mountain range I had to cross, the Grapevine (named for the way the mountains are laid out around the freeway). No snow yet. I thought about buying chains for my '09 corolla, but a stop at a couple of stores gave me a price of $80 for NON RETURNABLE (even if never opened) chains. Since this was the only time I was expecting to use them (and even then I might not need them) I was not ready to fork over that kind of money. 

Well. Umm. It snowed. It snowed A LOT. 

So much snow that the Grapevine was closed. The thing is... they didn't close it until AFTER I got in it. So I had to trudge my car through the mountain range. The 5 lane freeway was down to one lane and cars were trying to stay behind each other in order to not drown in the accumulating snow. 

I was on the phone with my brother the entire time because, quite honestly, I was scared to death. I had NEVER drive in even a little bit of snow before and this was a full out storm. That freeway closure I mentioned? It ended up lasting 3 days! I wasn't sure if I should get off the freeway and wait it out or keep going. The only advise my brother could give me was that I needed to do what felt safe to me. 

I ended up staying on the freeway and made it out on the other side. As soon as we went down to the desert below the snow stopped but it was raining fiercely. 

After what seemed forever I made it to the restaurant in Kettleman City, CA where I was meeting my sister and her husband. We had an early dinner (we had left at 11am and I didn't get to the restaurant until past 4pm, over twice as long as it should have taken) and then I stopped at Starbucks for a Venti something or other to keep me awake for the trip back. 

Remember me mentioning that the freeway had been closed? Ya, well, the only way back to LA was to take a freeway that would take me across another set of mountains all the way to Pacific Coast Highway and then take that down the coast and back home. This, of course, wasn't perfect either since it was still pouring rain and now it was super dark. That side freeway? The 41. It is a one lane each direction sort of road. Since everyone else going south was blocked from going through the Grapevine it was packet. 

I ended up getting home past 11pm, so over 12 hours round trip what should have been 5 hours. The worst part was that my phone died and I blew the spark plug in the car so I couldn't charge it. 

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  1. That is crazy, Kathy!! Longest trip of your life, I bet. Hope the food at the restaurant was good, ha!

  2. Ahhhhhhh that's insane!! Idk what I would've done! I remember getting stuck one time in Utah during a snow storm I was so scared. I was grateful I had already gone to the bathroom and had a full tank of gas!

  3. Eek, scary! I'm glad everything ended up okay.

  4. It definitely was and I won't be doing it again!

  5. It did but it was definitely scary at the time!