We’ve been on the road for six days now — since Saturday, the 11th. We left Portland in a hard rain and drove to Eugene, where we stayed for three nights while the heavy rain continued. Tuesday gave us a break in the weather so we scooted down to Redding, California. We left later than we usually would, waiting for the fog to clear and the pavement to dry. It was foggy for several hours but then became quite pretty. The only areas below freezing were around Ashland and up over Siskiyou Pass, and again around the town of Mt. Shasta, although morning temperatures of 35º in the fog made us wary of black ice. We stopped in Redding, hoping we were far enough south that we would be out of the worst of the weather. Wednesday was constant hard rain again. Finally, this morning we had another dry day and drove south and west to Napa. Of the six days so far, we’ve had four of hard rain and one of temperatures in the 30s. We hope we’re now far enough south and at low enough elevation that the worst of it is over. (At least until we try to go home.)
Tuesday was our day to get over the pass before it got bad again. It was a business-like day, just getting through a break in the weather. We charged the car several places and ate lunch during one of those stops but otherwise tried to fit the travel between the morning fog and the late-afternoon dark.
We woke this morning to find that the Interstate from Redding to Ashland – over 100 miles – was closed due to weather and crashes. We were glad to be heading south. We passed what seemed like miles of large semi-trucks parked on the exit ramps and along the highway shoulder, waiting to head north. There were almost no trucks headed south – in fact, southbound traffic was really light until we got near the Bay Area. What a difference it makes to have little traffic and no trucks!
And finally we got to the sun. With all the rain, the hills are carpeted in green velvet. And we can go out without a heavy jacket or rain gear.
With all the sitting around trying to stay dry, trying to calculate when it is safe to proceed, trying to think where to go next, we’ve come up against the question of “Why are we doing this?” We don’t have any good answers. One of my favorite jobs (not my best job, but one of my favorites) was as an electronics technician on Coast Guard cutters. Sometimes it was boring, sometimes exciting, sometimes scary, sometimes tedious, sometimes exhausting, but it was always something different. And it felt like we were doing something worthwhile. Sitting at home waiting for it to be safe to go out is really hard. As we get older, with decreasing abilities, traveling in bad weather is much harder. But we needed a break in the routine. Perhaps if we are lucky enough to get even older than we are now, we will find ways to break the routine of being at home that doesn’t involve driving in pouring rain and over icy roads.
(Please don’t suggest flying. We dislike flying for a number of reasons.)