March 15, 2010

Just When You Think its Done...

Well I've had enough winters out west to know that March does not mean winter's over. However, one would start to hope that maybe its thrown the worst at you, and indeed, maybe it has!

After a couple of days in California we were loaded up and heading out, on our way to Buhl, ID for Monday. We left Friday late afternoon. The morning's beauty and springlike weather had phased over to cloudy and drizzling light rain by the time we were finished loading.

If you've not had the pleasure of experiencing traffic in California, let me go ahead and clue you in before you head out to do that. Generally speaking (outside of the LA and San Fran areas) its not too bad except for "rush hours," but that can be said for any city really...mostly.

But come Friday afternoon...say around 3:00...you do NOT want to be trying to leave California on I-15 or I-80. Reason being is....in the south, all the Californians who live within the Los Angelas area leave early from work and they ALL go to Las Vegas for the weekend. Further north, everyone who lives around San Francisco and Sacramento make their way across the Sierra Nevadas to the skiing areas or to Reno for some weekend gambling away of their paychecks.

The same can be said for traveling on Sunday evening, because they all have to go back to work on Monday morning. Thus said, you don't want to be trying to enter California on either of those routes on Sunday. Trust me...we've done it too many times. I know. Listen to me...I'll save you many hours of sitting in traffic.

That said...

...so we left our pickup in Lathrop, CA (that's just south of Sacramento) on Friday late afternoon and traffic was of course horrible, and it was raining which put everyone in a bad mood. It seemed heavier than usual for some reason (the traffic not the rain) for a Friday afternoon.

We soon found out why. Despite the wonderful warmth of the valley, the cold still clung to the mountains. It took us a couple hours to get into the lower mountains, but it was still just raining. However, 30 miles ahead of where we were at, everyone was having to chain up, and stay chained for about 40 miles to get across Donner's pass. It was pouring down rain, and that's putting it lightly. The very idea of chaining up was insulting after spending several glorious days in the warmth, even having to break down and use the AC! And then to think of chaining up in the pouring rain...just not interested.

So we joined a group of about 3 trucks who were protesting the chain up and parked it on the side of the road till morning and the end of the storm, which we hoped would bring about the lift of the chain law and maybe also a relief from the traffic.

By 10:00 the next morning...no such luck.

As you can see, traffic was not any lighter. It was crawling even slower than the evening before. I guess everyone heard about the fresh snow, and we overhead on the CB that they usually get their last snow up there around mid-March (thank you Lord!) so maybe they all wanted one last ride down the slopes. I can understand but it sure was aggravating!

The good part about all this traffic...if there was one...was that it held us up long enough that by the time we got to the place where chains were required, all the snow had melted off the road and everyone could roll on through chain free. The only silver lining to a very gray cloud.

Anyway, we made it to Buhl yesterday evening, ate at an Arctic Circle (its like a Dairy Queen type place) which was the only thing we could find open in town on a Sunday evening, and then kicked back to wait for Monday morning.

We are now unloaded, reloaded, wheat tested, and heading to Ogden, UT, a scant 150 miles from here (Pocatello, ID). And then we're loading salt and heading to Billings and home.

Most of you know the routine when we're home, but since I have some new friends on here I'll review it. Our internet signal at home is sketchy at best. I sometimes attempt to log on and post something, depending on how long we're home for, but its usually brief and picturless. So if you don't hear from me for a while, don't write me off for dead! I'll be back!

This trip home, we've discussed it and its almost official...we're thinking a week and a half is justified. Won't that be marvelous! And then the icing on the cake....Malcolm's bulldozer (housed at the in-laws ranch) is supposed to be finished having its tracks repaired today. So we are heading to the ranch for a couple days so he can clean out the lot for his dad before calving starts full swing. That means I get to visit my girls over there (that would be the mom and sis-in-laws) and Rachelle and I are going to take a ride around the place if the weather cooperates. So I have to remember to throw my saddle in the pickup when we leave, as well as my muck boots (spelling??). She said its pretty soupy down there from all the snow melt.

Its 55 degrees, clear skied, and beautiful. There are a few snow showers predicted for home next week, but maybe they won't amount to anything (fingers crossed).

Till next time...


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Darn snow! Doesn't old man winter know he's not welcome anymore? It's time for him to head up north to the arctic circle to hibernate until next winter. bleh!

John told me all sorts of ner wracking stories about Donner Pass driving in winter....and I lived in California for many years so I know the crazy traffic patterns well.
What got to me is how the traffic would be backed up for miles, stop and go, and you'd be thinking, 'ahh, accident', but then you'd get to where the traffic was freed up again and there was no accident....nothing. Crazy California Freeways. I think they are a relation to the Bermuda Triangle, or something. lol!

I hope you have a beautiful visit back home again, and with your girls. And you get some gorgeous weather for riding, too.


small farm girl said...

I nothing else went right, at least you got some really pretty pictures of the mountain.

Shirley said...

Hope you have a great time at home, and get some horseback photos!

gtyyup said...

I'm really glad to hear that you'll get some quality time at HOME!! Enjoy yourselves and enjoy the ride too...practice up for the next time you visit us!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

I think it's so cool that you blog from the road - it gives me a fascinating perspective into an extremely mobile life, where the scenery and the lifestyle is constantly changing. I've been a bit house (farm) bound this winter - I always feel like I've taken a bit of a road trip when I visit your blog. :-)
Enjoy your time off and enjoy your ride! You deserve both :-)
-danni in OR