Once upon a time, we zipped over Stephens or Snoqualmie passes in Washington in mid-winter, hoping only to avoid goose-feather snowflakes, taking “compact snow and ice” as routine. No more.
This year, to spend Thanksgiving with half the family, Christmas with the other half, we count on a break between winter storms. So we’re heading south in mid-December. We must cross either central Oregon or the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. A series of three storms has gone by. We have instituted our winter travel protocol.
First we check weather reports for towns along three possible routes. We cross off Central Oregon for snow where the roads are most narrow, curved, and mountainous, but I-84 over the Blue Mountains has one clear day predicted between storms.
Web Cams are wonderful! We can see I-84 at all the critical areas and know the highway is clear this afternoon. Tomorrow morning we’ll check the cams to find out if rain or snow fell over night.
We can drive a couple hundred miles tomorrow, then use the road check phone line for conditions over the Blue Mountains, where Ladd Canyon and the town of Meacham are most likely to be treacherous but should clear by the next day so we can make a run for Nevada where it’s colder, but dry. No storms are predicted over our southern mountain pass between Nevada and California.
So if the reports are accurate, we can drive on dry roads once we’re out of local rain showers.
California, here we come–IF…