Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Up and Over

What?  Winter?  What's winter?

And so I found myself happily enjoying a fine week at my favorite high desert retreat, cooking, walking the boys on crispy cool mornings, washing and waxing the fleet, hammering some new designs in the woodsy scented shop and generally enjoying the days and loving the star filled nights.

We bought superb pie pumpkins and roasted them for a pumpkin pie.  It was the perfect fall week.

Sunday night we were disappointed to find the stars obscured by clouds which blocked our meteor shower viewing.  I needed to head back over the mountain on Monday morning and woke early to the scent of fresh rain with the newsman showing us the snow covered Donner Pass.

Chain control, shit.

Delaying a couple of days was not possible, had to go anyway.

I have gotten lazy about having a snow kit in my FJ, which was a given in Minnesota by mid October if you're smart.  I had no boots, no gloves, no warm coat, no hat and no chains.  However, unless it's really bad the FJ doesn't have to be chained and is such a tank it barely notices bad weather.

I've spent my life driving in terrible conditions, deep cold, wet snow, driving rain, blowing and drifting snow, you name it I've probably driven though it.  But heading over the pass isn't something I'd do on a whim, mainly because of all the drivers who don't have my experience and thus have no fear, those are the dangerous ones and often you can't avoid them.

Here's the day...

 Cruising south on 395, stunning clouds all around, snow dusting the mountains.

Heading up 80 from Reno, not so bad.

 Getting more serious but still pretty easy.

Hmmmm, waiting in line to get through chain control.  Big truck, big truck, big truck, Mini Cooper, big truck, big truck.

 Discovering that being stopped can give you the most magnificent view ever.  Here it got sort of rough, deep  wet snow, not safe to take pics.

And heading down from the summit, piece of cake.

It was warm enough to be mostly wet with the excitement of one or two poor folk who ended up over the side or in a bank.  I was planning to stop at the highest rest stop to let the boys play in the snow, but a car had spun out and blocked the exit.  I wonder why he thought he could drive through snow that was deeper than his undercarriage?

Make sure you click on the pics to see them BIG.

I had a great time until I got into Colfax and my phone started blaring a severe weather warning, TORNADO!  WTF?

Truth, we had a whole evening of tornado sightings and a small touch down in Yuba City  I got home and spent the evening fairly close to an interior closet, just in case.

Glad to be home.

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