Lynda and I were chomping at the bit to begin our trek south to Surprise, Arizona and a month of fun in the Sun. We planned to leave the Sunday or Monday after Easter depending if company visited for the weekend.
Our son, daughter in law and newest granddaughter Lola decided to visit. It was lucky they arrived Thursday afternoon, that evening the mountain pass on the way from Vancouver received several inches of fresh snow, causing several accidents. One fatal.
Lynda and I worry when our children visit us during winter. The three to five hour drive through the mountains from the Fraser Valley can be treacherous.
The forecast seems to be more of a guideline than an exact prediction of the weather. The weather man predicted snow flurries Thursday night, not four inches.
The fatal accident involved a VW Rabbit hitting two Elk, our neighbor happened by shortly after the accident. Police directed traffic past a vehicle, a large blanket covered the car, it seemed to the passers by the occupants of the VW were beyond help.
It was nice to spend Easter with the kids and especially Lola. At three years it was her first Easter egg hunt.
They left our house late morning Sunday, we weren’t far behind. Lynda , I and Buddy hit the road soon after the kids headed home.
On this trip we decided not to take our travel trailer and stay in our park model. The renters were due to check out at the end of March. For obvious reasons we prefer to arrive soon after the renters vacate.
The trip to Surprise Arizona and Sunflower RV Resort should take 24 hrs driving time and two motel nights.
We crossed the US border at Oliver BC about 2 pm and stopped for a late lunch at Subway. The first day seven and half hours of driving got us to Pendleton, Or.
Pendleton is a perfect destination to spend the night, for some reason there’s a large assortment of dog friendly motels, more than other surrounding towns.
When traveling and staying in an unfamiliar town Lynda and I make a point to take anything valuable to our room. You can’t be sure of the quality of the area and not much could be worse than finding a smashed car window and valuables stolen.
Lynda and I have stayed in this area on previous trips. We feel comfortable here, the police patrol the motels parking lots several times a night.
We had a quiet dinner of cold dried out fried chicken and salads from Walmart. Took in a couple of TV shows and hit the sack.
I slept good considering we were adjacent to the interstate. The second day of traveling was to be the longest with most miles disappearing behind us.
The previous evening Lynda picked up breakfast cookies and fruit with the chicken so the morning was set for some good uninterrupted miles.
After I gulped down a cup of weak lukewarm coffee from the motel office we were off. The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon, a sunny day as predicted by the weather man.
I make a habit of checking the weather on our route. If you have read one of my previous articles about Lynda, I and our granddaughter spending a cold night at the summit of a mountain pass, you know why I do this.
The forecast along our route today was sunshine, although the afternoon into the evening may bring snow flurries with some minor accumulation. I should have confirmed the forecast the morning we left Pendleton Or.
The days drive went smooth, a stop for lunch just west of Twin Falls, Idaho. We pulled off the interstate at the rest area just before turning south on highway 93. Our lunch was left over drier chicken and salads from the night before, YUM.
Traffic was light as we made our way south toward Jackpot, NV. After Jackpot the highway climbs over a couple low level mountain passes. A few snowflakes hit the windshield through these passes, an unheeded warning.
A light rain fell as we descended into Wells, NV. the fuel gauge read just below half. I like to keep the tank above half during the winter. Ely NV. was the next decent size town on our route, a couple hundred miles along hwy. 93.
Shortly after leaving Wells, the rain changed to wet snow although not sticking to the highway….. yet. An hour past Wells the weather took a violent turn. The winds picked up along with the snow fall.
Drifting snow began to accumulate on the road. The traffic ahead and behind disappeared into the snowy darkness. It felt like Lynda, I and Buddy were the only living beings on this blinding white planet.
A lonesome scared feeling came over me. I tried not to show my concern to Lynda. After our last trip south, loosing a wheel and a blowout was about all the stress she could handle.
Another disaster would finish her for traveling, maybe forever, or maybe forever with your’s truly.
I slowed our speed as the tracks of previous vehicles became more difficult to follow, the edges of the road had disappeared. We were in the worst blizzard I had ever seen……I thought.
Living life in the northwest mountains, I have seen many blizzards but nothing as blinding as this one. It must be the mountains and trees of the northwest that breaks the wind helping the snow to float gracefully to the ground creating those beautiful winter pictures.
The wind turns the snow angry making it scream sideways like the fire from a jet engine, bending trees and creating violent drifting white seas.
When I checked the forecast, I didn’t consider the wind, my grave error I was beginning to realize.
A small convoy of cars following a semi-trailer slowly approached. It appeared the semi was traveling the middle of the road. I edged as far as I dare from the center.
The semi kept it’s course, if it didn’t make an adjustment we would collide. I eased off the throttle and prepared for evasive action, a swerve off the road was all I could do.
Dropping into the ditch would be my last resort, we would be trapped for sure, stuck in the snow filled ditch. The thought of spending the night in subfreezing temperature was horrifying. Besides who knows how long this storm would last, maybe days.
Check back in a few days for the second half of our Nevada desert blizzard trip.
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