Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Another Road Trip!! This time it's to Bend Oregon!

We decided to go out for lunch today....To Bend, Oregon. So we have been planning this road trip since last Thursday, for today, Monday, March 28th. We decided to play hooky, all 3 of us. Sarah and I were not going to jewelry class and Danny was going to ignore his school work for the day so that we could take this road trip and try out my new car.

As the day approached we nervously watched the weather cams, as it was snowing every day and even harder every night. As recently as the night before we planned to leave, a heavy load was dumped on the Cascades. We had 4 route options, all four had extreme hazard snow reports. The snow plows were working overtime scraping it all as it was coming down. Accidents were happening and I think I spent most of Saturday night watching the snow cams and the storms progressing along.

Oh the woe, the time was growing short, and the snow kept coming down. We couldn't even chose a route to take. The shortest route was the most treacherous and had no cams at all to see what would be faced. The next shortest route, called Tombstone, was exactly that, a Tombstone (see above picture, Tombstone). The traffic through Tombstone Pass was very slim and that usually means something.

The safest route appeared to be the longest route, but we'd have to drive all the way up to Salem, then cut back down and through the pass, and they were even having accidents. The lower route, the one with the truckers, that route took us south of Bend quite a distance, but it was the final choice, mainly because of those truckers. They always get through...well, most of the time they get through. The problem with that route is that whenever there is an accident, 9 out of 10 times, it's a very bad accident.

But at 8:00AM it became the chosen route.
So it was still raining when we left home this morning. The weather called for the rain to end, or at least thin out. Today, the 28th of March was the one day with no storm.... but late today and tomorrow the storms would be back. As we drove away, we were all belted in. We had blankets, snow chains, a flashlight, a knee pad to keep the pantlegs dry if chains had to addressed; an emergency kit, complete with signs that say Help Needed, that are supposed to be stretched across the dash board, I guess... We had a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints and a Vitamin Water...just in case we got stranded. If that had happened at least we could say that Girl Scout Cookies and Vitamin Water had saved our lives! We headed out of town at a good pace, only 20 minutes behind schedule. As we passed through Pleasant Hill, we could see the weather we were heading into....This is the clear day, with the sunshine, mind you. As we passed through the farmlands the hills in the background looked ominous with clouds and mists, that warned of snow laden roads ahead. The skies darkened as we approached, and as the road curved, the first mountain peak appeared, with the treetops frosted with snow. Suddenly all the trees were frosted as the highway ascended into the passes. The snow started to appear along the ground at the sides of the highway.
Then the guard rails started to have a slight frosting of snow.

As the road went upward ears were popping and I looked to the side of the road and the guard rails were starting to get snow piled up around them.

Then the guard rails disappeared completely.

We came across a tunnel, and as the traffic was starting to collect, the snow was stuck to the road. Luckily the snowplows had been working all night long.
As we emerged from the tunnel, things were very white! Where were we theTwilight Zone? Had we gained 1,000 feet inside that tunnel?
Now there were no guardrails and the signs were starting to disappear too!

The road had narrowed down, all the 18 wheelers had their chains on, and there were white walls of snow on each side of the highway.
Finally, all I could do was look upward out the sunroof....white walls 'o snow!
There was hardly any other traffic around.... It was eeire....

I felt much better looking upward. It kind of helped my feelings of claustrophobia. But my Volvo? It never slipped once, except when it was supposed to (meaning Danny made it happen), by turning out on a road cut.
Then, all of a sudden the area opened up and widened.
And there was a lake. Odell Lake had appeared, we were at the Pass! Now we would be headed downhill.....

We changed counties, that would definitely mean the snow would be thinning out. Lane County is known for its high mountains.
. The trees thinned and turned to Jack Pine (Lodge Pole Pine), and the ground flattened out. Snow was still everywhere for as far as the eye could see, however, the ground on each side of the highway was vertical no longer.
After a while we realized we had missed the interchange completely, 10 miles back and were now headed toward Klamath Falls, so we decided that it might be prudent to turn around and go back the way we had come. Luckily, we came across a Rest Area, because we were needing one very badly, considering all the coffee we had been consuming. Danny had lost his ability to speak by then, so it was a good thing that we missed the turnoff, and found that Rest Area after all. So after we became normal once again, we turned back and then we changed highways from Hwy 58 to Hwy 97, and headed northbound, into Volcano land.

~The East Side~

This is Newberry caldera and it's crater lookout, with it's lava flow that comes all the way to the road. This red volcanic soil; the nasty stuff is ground up and dropped back on the road for traction in the snow and ice, and one can almost imagine the scratching of the car's paint, to say nothing of the windshields after the snow and ice are gone and the ground is dry. The only way to avoid it would be to drive faster than anyone else, so that they get the red particles and dust that get swept into the air when a car or truck drives past. But I wasn't driving today. And this is Oregon. A speeding ticket in this state almost forces one to refinance their mortgage loan to cover the fines.

As we entered the Bend Vicinity, we left the highway and veered off to the eastern vector of town, to our destination, and the real reason we came to Bend Oregon..........

The Humane Society of Central Oregon.

After we left, we went out for lunch, at McDonalds. We ate IN the car, because we wanted to get back on the road before it got too late and the roads froze over on the Pass. One never knows what they'll face when going over the Pass. So we didn't want to mince words, we ate our burgers, went to the bathroom and got more coffee, gassed up and left town. Our ride was quite uneventful, other than the fact that the snow had melted quite a bit, and it was amazing to see the road, where it hadn't been just several hours earlier.

All was well until we got into a pursuit.

We never knew that the good people of Bend Oregon wouldn't take too kindly to visitors coming into town, eating, and just leaving without taking the time to enjoy the pleasures of their fair city, the gorgeous mountains completely covered in white, and the great sporting that appears to go on there 24/7.

Needless to say, they ran us out of town......

OK, just kidding, this isn't my shot.A wonderful photographeer shot this along with a sequence of shots showing a bear chasing a bison. I just happened to have this on hand.

Sarah wasn't much amused by my mirth.

Coming back over the pass was surprisingly easy compared to the trip over to Bend, because so much had melted off, but still, as soon as the sun was to set, there would have been an ice rink on Hwy 58, so we were glad to cross back before it got any later.

Just like our trip to Bend, the drive was reversed, where the road had turned and exposed the mountainside of snow, now on our way home, we experienced the opposite effect when the road turned and green covered hillsides, with only the mountain tops having a light dusting were remaining.

We were passing Dexter Lake as the rains started when the next storm came in from the West.

Homeward Bound

Danny got us to Bend and back, on the only day that had no rain and snow, with no mishaps, and no snow stuck in the grill of the car from running into a snowbank.

And now, the real reason we went to Bend Oregon:

We are pleased to announce the newest member of our family


Banjo, the Great White Landshark

Pound Pics

Yes, that's right, we drove all the way to Bend, Oregon, to adopt a cat, a 3 yr old cat, from the pound.

And to this day.....

Danny still can't figure out, or even remember, how or when he ever agreed to getting a new kitty!

My Pictures of Banjo:

Update!  To learn more about our other kitties, For Keiki go to this post:
click me!

And to meet Graby, and how he got his name, this post is for you: 
click me!

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