Heck, On Ice…

Trip Start Sep 28, 2013
Trip End Apr 26, 2014

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Sunday, December 22, 2013

I really wanted to title this episode "Hell, On Ice", but hell, purportedly, is hot. This trip, was not.  We left Helena on the twenty with weather forecasts and road conditions "all over the map," quite literally. In winter, in the northern climes, one NEVER really knows.  

The trip over McDonald Pass was deceivingly easy.  Light snow on the ground was the main feature, with none falling, no wind and the music, John Prine, more than tolerable.  The trip went well, even over Lookout Pass, with just a couple of inches of the white stuff there, but nothing serious enough to cause anything more than minor anxiety.  

I must stop here to explain that Lynn really does not like to drive the highway in Snow, or, for that matter, anything approaching white.  I, on the other hand, possessing a "Devil May Care" Attitude don't mind the challenge at all. Our Honda Accord is equipped with four Studless Snow Tires and -35 degree windshield wiper antifreeze.  We are, in other words, "Loaded for Bear."

The Idaho side of Look Out was a bit more of a challenge, what with the tightness of the curves and less-than-Montana maintenance performed there.  It went fine though, without even the slightest close call.  The real excitement started when we reached Fourth of July Pass.  Here the snow started falling in earnest with about two inches on the surface as we arrived.  From there on in to Spokane Valley, where we stayed with our adopted family, it was entirely toooo unique.  We stopped in Coeur d'Alene, as usual, at the Costco and gassed up.  Price: $2.79/gal.  With Lynn's able assistance, I was able to find our way back to I-90 amidst the snowfall and local drivers.  These folks, at least, have some experience with driving in snow.  The pretty well stay in the lane without "darting about," as the Seattlites might do.

It was a slower trip than average with the windshield icing up and temperature staying about the same as when we had left Helena…in the teens.  We made it without any significant "white knuckle" disorder present in yours truly's digits.

Our guests welcomed us very well and we had a great bed.  Lynn and our godson Daniel made cookies, as planned by his request.  Our friend Mikey and I were in charge of "testing" or should that read "tasting?"  You be the judge.  Poker was played "for fun," as the family, especially the boys and Lisa, are just learning, so to speak.  Jim, the man of the house, being a "former olympian," in all areas athletic, taught Lynn and me a thing or two. ;o)

We got back on the road by nine-thirty AM.  I must mention that shortly after we'd arrived, there was a ten car pile up just west of Spokane near Ritzville, which took one life.  We saw the photos on TV that eve and the single death was due to a small car being "sandwiched" between two eighteen wheelers.  It was unrecognizable as a vehicle.  Scary…

Fortunately, overnight, the WADOT had cleared the highway, sprayed what one sprays on the such and made the trip as far as Cle Elum a pretty easy task.

One thing I forgot.  The FOG. It appeared just about anywhere, without warning.  Sun, clouds, FOG.  If you've experienced it, you can relate. On the Columbia River, near Vantage, the weather was fine.  On top of the hill at the Rest Area, the name of which escapes me, again, you could barely see a hundred yards.  Fortunately there was no snow on the highway.

By the time we were ascending Snoqualmie Pass, we were engulfed in the lovely "mist."  This is interesting enough, but add to the mix, four or so lanes of holiday traffic, multitudinous (lots of) large trucks, including FEDEX double trailers and a few "junior racers," and things get dicey.  

Make it we did, however.  As you know, I'm a "God guy", so praying was included in the above conglomeration.  

Since I had driven the total six hundred or so miles, solo, I asked Lynn to take over.  We made a quick pull off at the town of Snoqualmie and she graciously took the wheel.  I relaxed and did "finger isometrics" to relax. ;o)

Our Lisa was home to greet us, along with another of our "most favorite" grand-dogs, Madison.  Rich arrived a bit later.  They, as usual, made us feel Most Welcome.

Later in the eve, Rich prepared a Baked Ham.  Lisa added "scratch" potatoes au gratin with "homemade cheese sauce" as she just told me to say. Hi Lisa!

We played a bit of three-handed YAHTZEE, Rich having decided to hit the hay early.  I came in third.  Need I say more??
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Dennis on

Hope your holidays are lots of fun. Stay safe.

Tj on

Glad you made it safe. Wasn't sure if we'd see ya or not......tomorrow should be a one day job. If your appointment on Thursday falls through, make sure to give me a ring or a message.

photodon on

A very exciting read. Glad you arrived safely. Merry Christmas to all. From your amigo, Pete

Debbie Shea on

Enjoyed your journey!
Merry Christmas and love to all.

Hank on

If it was easy it would be no fun.

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