We went to Central Oregon to see the family (my parents, my brothers, their wives and kids), and that is usually a three hour drive (the way I drive) including a bathroom break.
Today, we left Central Oregon with blue skies above. We soon encountered snow at a lower elevation that we normally do which we knew couldn’t be good.
Now for a little lesson in travel in Oregon. To get to Central Oregon from Portland, you have to go through the pass of your choice or go around the mountain which adds time. The two passes to choose from have their own unique challenges. The southern pass is not very populated in the winter. While it makes for a beautiful drive, it isn’t as well maintained as the northern one over Mt Hood. The pass near Mt Hood is very well traveled, but the craziness of the snowboarders and skiiers can create a more frenzied drive. I prefer the Mt Hood one because it doesn’t feel like a long drive to me. Once you are on the otherside of the mountain, you are an hour away. Also, there are so many people using that pass that it is pretty clear of snow and ice & if something happens, there are plenty of people who can come to your aid. That latter part is not the case in the southern pass.
This was what is looked like when we left Central Oregon to come home:
Looking ahead of us, we saw a huge wall of clouds that seemed to hit the horizon. I knew that was not good. We hit snow pretty soon after the picture above was taken. And the snow got worse the higher we climbed into the mountain.
The snow, as you cannot see, was coming down while we were driving. Nothing too bad, but we could definitely tell they had been getting a lot of snow.
Everything was doing well until we hit the blizzard-like conditions. It was coming down really hard. I was just thankful that the roads were clear. The kids were hilarious when we hit this stretch. The oldest DJ exclaimed, “hey, why’s it so dark out”. This at 2 pm in the afternoon.
But, the fun of our drive wasn’t over yet. Turns out that there was a mudslide that closed a stretch of the highway we were driving. There was a detour which we were forced to take. And, when the ODOT person(s) decided on this particular route, someone had had too much to drink the night before.
Oregon is a really good example about how melting snow feeds streams that feed rivers that flow out to the ocean. When snow melts during the summer, the streams and rivers rise. It’s a good lesson in ecology for the kids.
The snow we got a couple weeks ago literally melted overnight. This leads to a flooding problem as it always does. The detour took us right through a flooded area. So, right after seeing a detour this way sign, you would get a sign warning of high water.
In addition to all of the water over the road, one of the bridges we have to cross on the detour is being reconstructed meaning it is only a one lane bridge. We sat for 30 minutes waiting to get across that damn bridge.
While waiting, we had some “entertaining” guys in the truck behind us. They were college age kids, and they kept getting out and flirting with the girls behind them who were taking pictures. At one point, after creeping forward a few feet, the driver gets out and makes a big production out of whipping his little driver out of his pants and peeing in front of his truck. I think it was a show for those of us in front of them. I asked the Hubby afterwards why guys do that – make a huge production out of dropping their pants. I wish I could say this is the first time I encountered this behavior, but it’s far from it. I mean, if you have something to be proud of, okay – then make a big production because, well, it is a big production. With this guy, however, it took me a minute to figure out what he was doing. The fact I didn’t know what he was doing at first, means there was nothing to make a big production out of.
The Hubby’s response was that guys are just demonstrating what they wish women would do – make a huge production out of exposing themselves in public.
Oh, and I should mention that while this was happening, the kids had no idea what was going on. Had they, I believe our responses would have included a verbal exchange that included words like “exposing yourself to kids” and “prison not being kind to those who do crimes against kids”. But, alas, we averted that problem.
After we finally made it through the detour, we stopped at a Starbucks for coffee and a bathroom break. They had posted the ski conditions on the mountain and a warning that the closure would add about 35 minutes to the drive. We laughed and suggested they change it to an hour.
When we finally hit Portland, we were met with this:
And, then the skies opened up and the downpour began. And, I’m not joking.
At least it was an interesting day.