Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Long Road Home

Have you ever seen snow in SoCal? Me neither... until Sunday night. We were driving home from Casa Grande, AZ, a very typical ride home. 800 miles total. I budgeted 12 hours of driving and 1 hour of pit stops; we planned on getting in to Oakland about 11 PM. Everything was normal as normal could be.

That is until we hit the I-5 north leaving LA and entering the mountains and the weather changed like a snap of the fingers. The rain we encountered in LA suddenly turned into a snow storm. I-5 was closed due to snow and ice, and the traffic was being redirected north east up 14. I've encountered weather like this many times in my life growing up in Ohio, but it just doesn't happen in the southern California. People were not prepared or experienced for it. Lori definitely had never seen anything like it. And it's a totally different ball game driving in weather like this in mountains. Traffic was crawling, and people were sliding around. It took up about 2 1/2 hours to go 20 miles. Things were just not improving so we stopped in Palmdale for the evening and stayed at a Super (Section) 8 roach motel. It was cheap and they only charged $10 for the dogs. We got one of the last rooms, too. People were lined up out the door. I could see the traffic on the 14 not even moving.

We woke up the Monday morning to a beautiful blanket of snow. We needed to head north on 14 and then onto the 58 to get to Bakersfield and around the I-5 mountains. There was no other way around this mess.

We left at 8AM, and headed north on 14 and things were looking good. Light traffic, decent roads. All was good until we were almost to 58 in Mojave.

Traffic was dead stopped and packed up for miles. No one knew what was up. Conflicting traffic news said 58 was closed. We waited in line for 3 hours in very low spirits, to say the least, and were feeling defeated. We had seen some people taking a backroad a few miles back so we tried that. The map said it would connect with 58, but when we got there, there was a Road Closed sign so we turned around.

We about gave up and then we just took a chance and went around the sign and kept driving. We got far and came upon another Road Closed sign and a few people sitting around. There was a plow working on the road, and we were given a 3 hour ETA on the road opening. We turned around again.

I stopped by a truck and told him what was up. He informed us that there was another road not on our map that should get to 58. So we decided to go for it. A small caravan took this road and we all stopped as there was another plow clearing a steep incline. There was a state worker stopping at each car saying that the road was closed and it would be a $500 fine if anyone was caught on it. And we think we saw him say it with a wink, if you catch my drift.

After he left, a group of us headed up the slippery incline and down a very icey road. Sure enough, eventually it popped out onto 58 and we headed towards Bakersfield.

Our day had completely pulled a 180. We zoomed down the highway towards Bakersfield and didn't look back. It was smooth sailing all the way home. We finally arrived in Oakland at 5PM. It was a very long 2 days. Our cats were happy to see us and our house never looked so good.

Snowpocalypse 2011 was over.
All pictures

No comments: