Saturday, January 26, 2008

The drive home, a recap

So if I were a good bloger I would have thought to pull out the ol' camera phone and snap some pictures on the way down from skiing today, but I'm not and I didn't. Oh, and I had my hands full of steering wheel. So here's the recap in words, rather than in pictures.

First, the drive up: Uneventful. Met Dave and Kelsey at the Preston P&R at about 8:20, loaded them in the car, and continued on up to Snoqualmie. At the top of the pass it was 15 degrees and snowing lightly. By the time we got on the Silver Fir chair it was snowing slightly harder, but not too bad. By the time we dropped the kids off for ski lessons it was definitely cold and definitely snowing. Being a good dad I gave Logan my face covering thingy to keep him warm, figuring the beard might protect me.

It didn't. It just filled up with snow and ice, making my face colder and colder. Because it kept snowing, and in fact got harder as the day went on. By the time we got to the car (probably 12:45 or 1) there was at least an inch of snow on the car. Nice and dry, powdery stuff, but snow nonetheless.

The kids were cold and grumpy, so we decided to bail on the afternoon and head back down. Which is where the fun started.

The traffic wasn't too bad until we got past the Summit West on-ramp and the long descent down the pass. Not super crowded, and everyone was being relatively smart - no nutjobs in SUVs driving 60 when the rest of us are going 30 - but mostly because the visibility blew and the road was pretty much covered with snow. And it had warmed all the way up to like 17 degrees. But over the top of the pass and heading down the west side the snow started getting wetter. Which made it stick more to the windshield and the wipers. Which led to the wipers getting iced up, which in turn led to me not really being able to see much out the windwhield. Which, when you're going down a relatively straight freeway at like 25 miles an hour, isn't that big of an issue. I mean, it's not like I had to worry about running over pedestrians or something...

The really weird thing about today's drive was that the lower we got, the worse the conditions. The snow got wetter and heavier, the roads got more covered, and the windshield got more ocluded. Eventually, with the heat on high defrost and the wipers on full, things melted up enough to start shaking off some of the ice and snow and I was finally able to see. Kind of. Traffic sped up a bit, but not enough to be dangerous, and finally we got low enough that it turned to rain and all was right in the world.

Amazingly, we only saw one accident. Even more amazingly, it was below the snow line. All I can think is that the guy saw that there wasn't any snow on the road any more, punched it, then hit some ice or something and boom: it's off the road and up the hill for you, sir!

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