Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mother Nature Doesn’t Like Me….

We were very sad to leave Orange County. We truly felt like we were on vacation there. But….as we must do at the end of every city…we reluctantly bid goodbye to our beach house and golf carts and packed up the car.

We decided to caravan with our friends in the show Chris & Jenna. Eric was extremely excited when I told him we should buy walkie talkies just in case we were in bad cell phone areas. So we all met early in the morning and headed out….walkie talkies in hand.

The intention was to drive for 10 – 12 hours the first day and get a good deal of the 18 hour drive out of the way. The beginning of our drive started off fine. It was a Sunday so we hit absolutely no traffic. It really was smooth sailing up the I-5. We even got to play some driving games with our fellow caravan-ers through the walkie talkies. Early in the drive we saw a beautiful rainbow…I thought for sure this was a great sign that our drive would be easy as pie…boy was I wrong.

About 100 miles south of Oregon the weather started to get not so good. It started with some rain…then soon after that turned to snow…then soon after that turned into somewhat of a blizzard. I felt like I was back in Michigan. You could hardly see what was in front of you and only one lane on the freeway was really available for driving since the other one was completely snow covered. Who knew it snowed in California? Isnt’ just supposed to be blue skies and ocean?


At this point I would like to interrupt this story of our drive with another story. I used to be a great snow driver…I mean I am from Michigan…we get a good deal of snow there. I drove a crappy ass Dodge Shadow with no power steering in high school and college and I had no problem navigating that thing through Michigan Winters. Spin outs? Fishtailing? No problem…its fun! Well my master snow driving all came to an end when I started working at Chrysler. During my first week as a District Manager in my first field car I had a little bit of an accident. You see…they gave me a Dodge Durango R/T. This was basically a big sports car SUV with street tires. Street tires = no traction. No traction in Michigan =’s problems.

I was driving home from my district on the freeway and all the sudden the car hit a patch of black ice and flipped over into a ditch. We were not hurt…but the car was totaled. Even though we were not injured I was permanently scared. Now…whenever we are driving in snow I kind of freak out. Its no good. I get super tense and maybe even shed a tear or two. I feel ashamed that I am a Michigan girl at heart and cannot even sanely drive when a snow flurry falls from the sky.


Ok…Back to the story….

So here we are in the middle of no where driving in a blizzard in California. We are lucky…we have an SUV….but our friends Chris and Jenna were driving a 92 Honda stick shift. Even the SUV is having some problems driving down the road…I can hardly imagine what it was like to be in the Honda. Finally … we breathe a sigh of relief when we get to a town where we can shack up for the night.

We arrive in lovely Weed, Califonia. It is your basic small town America with NOTHING to do. There are some gross fast food joints and a random Mexican food place. We sit down with our crappy Mexican food carryout and turn on the news to see what we have in store for the next day. All the weather has to “brag” about is the “hurricane force winds” that will be hitting Oregon and Seattle. Woo Hoo…something to look forward to.

So we got to sleep….we wake up to crazy wind sounds outside. Good thing is…most of the snow is already melted…bad thing…its crazy ass windy. In fact…it is so windy that as we are fueling up for our drive the McDonalds sign next to the gas station actually gets blown out…little pieces of McDonalds sign go flying…we know its time to get the heck out of Weed!

Surprisingly, once we leave weed the winds calm down and the drive is not that bad. It rains on and off but nothing major. We see 2 more rainbows and I think again this must be a sign for a good day.

Um…not so much….

So we drive…and it starts to rain a little more…

Jenna’s mom calls and says she heard about this crazy bad flooding and mud slides in Oregon and Washington.

We think….maybe that’s just on the coast…this rain is not that bad.

About 90 miles from our destination we pull up on I-5 to a detour…that’s weird? This freeway is closed? We get off and try to find a way around the blockage…not really knowing how bad it was. We drive for about 30 minutes…in and around this very small town. Everywhere we turn roads are closed due to flooding. Finally we stop and ask a fireman what the deal was.

He explained to us that I-5 was basically flooded out for 20 miles and there was NO WAY around it. Everything is the county was flooded out. He said…I can tell you about 11 ways to get to Seattle from here not taking the I-5…but all of them are under water.


He advises us to turn back around and go back 30 miles to a random town and get a room there for the night. Coincidentally…there were about 5 other cars of people in the cast also making the drive. So there we are…1/4 of the Jersey Boys cast all holed up in Longview, Washington. We were so close to our destination…but yet so far.

We read online that I-5 will be closed for at least 36 hours if not longer….they advise online that the only detour will take 8 hours in good weather. Here is the problem….all theses people have to be in Seattle for the show…we had to get there…we could not wait 36 (or more) hours to wait for I-5 to dry up. Were we going to have to make this 8 hour detour drive????

So…,maybe rainbows are not good signs for driving…but maybe they are a good sign for strange coincidences. One of the guys with us…his family is actually from Longview, Washington…and his uncle actually works for the road commission. He advises him of an alternate route that is only 2-3 hours (compared to the 8 hr one). Yes! We did not have to make that horrible 8 extra hour drive.

In the morning we all pack up our stuff and cross our fingers that this alternate route is not under water as well. So there we are ….. 4 cars of Jersey Boys driving through Washington hoping that the worst rain in history does not catch up with us.

The detour drive was beautiful. We drove through crazy winding roads and mountains. We hit a bit of rain but nothing too crazy. Its good to know someone that has the inside info on roads!!! Maybe rainbows are good for something….

FINALLY….after way too many days of driving and way too many detours we pull into our destination.

So here we are. We are staying at an amazing house that overlooks Pugent Sound You thought we had some good views in San Diego and Laguna Beach?? The views we have here are out of control. The owner of the house says sometimes you can see bald eagles and whales from the huge picture windows in the living room.

It’s a nice place to FINALLY be in….however long that may be…..


Amanda said...

What a story! Glad you made it safely. I'd love to drove the Pac coast one day, but not under those conditions.

Are you still coming to H-town or are you skipping out on us to go bigtime??

A Real Librarian said...

What an adventure!!!!! Glad you all made it safe and sound!! =)

Rhonda said...

Wow....that is a crazy drive but I am very glad that you made it safe and sound.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I would like to point out that the "crappy ass" Dodge Shadow made it through 5 years of school just fine....


MrsPresley said...

wow!! what a story! although the trip wasn't smooth, at least you guys made it there safely...

Mary M. said...

Wow - what a trip! And lol at your dad :)