we are winding up our whirlwind trip back home to ID from WA. we had a great time seeing family, celebrating Christmas, fellowshipping, eating, laughing, eating, talking, eating, playing games .... did i mention eating? we did alot of that.
so this morning we headed home. the van was packed to the gills with everything we brought minus the gifts for everyone. somehow it expanded somewhere between the 21st and the 29th. who knew?
we decided to drive down towards oregon and cut over. that way we could avoid the pass over the WA mtns. all week long it had been snowing and they were having horrible accidents, slowdowns and general all around messes. i thot it'd be better to avoid the scene.
of course, going south first instead of east added at least 2-3 hours to our already long commute home. then add on a few extra precious minutes winding around portland aimlessly, well maybe not aimlessly, we were looking for the highway that headed east. somehow i missed the exit! who me? yes, i've been known to do that ... sigh. but somehow we got on the right highway and continued on.
when we reached pendleton, the gateway to the blue mtns we had about an hour left of daylight. just enough time to get over before dusk and the ice descended onto the roadway home.
going up the mtns was fine. not great, but not bad. it was still light, the semi's were driving slowly and the roads hadn't iced over yet. so far so good ... but then as we approached the summit, the roads showed signs of recent snow. the spit of rain that had started soon became a constant drizzle of icy waterdrops. up and up we went ... the cars soon became a caravan in the one lane that wasn't too snowy or icy. there were no smarty=pants drivers passing on the left, spraying snow and dirt all over my windshield ....
unfortunately, the semi that was the leader of the caravan drove slower as the roads got worse. finally a suburu outback broke ranks and passed everyone on the left. then another car did it, and another ... for awhile, the roads were able to handle the traffic and those of us in the original right hand lane were fine, but then as the snow began to fall in earnest, my knuckles gripped the steering wheel a little bit tighter ... soon the cd player was turned off so i could concentrate on my driving .... by the time we were able to get off the highway and stop at the city of la grande oregon, i was uttering those words: "this is the LAST time i drive over the mtns in winter again!"
we found a motel, we checked in, we unpacked, we collapsed! ahhhh ....