"There's no place like home."
Whew. I'm home safe!
After spending several weeks in Arizona it was time to go home. The only problem was getting there.
The crazy winter all over the country was causing motorists all kinds of problems and I didn't want to be one of them. I know how to drive in bad weather conditions but that doesn't mean I wanted to... and it's all the in-a-hurry crazies on the road that worry me. I didn't have any red slippers to click together and chant "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." So, I did the next best thing and started watching the Doppler Weather map to schedule my escape.
As the week went by, Saturday looked like my best chance to leave and slip through the storms, based on my planned route through Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and into Washington. I wanted 3 days of decent weather to get home. I don't generally plan to travel on the weekend for a couple reasons. There tends to be more traffic and hotels are more expensive. But, the conditions looked right so that I made my plans to get on the road.
I didn't really intend to get home in two days but that's exactly what I did. I left Arizona Saturday morning about 7:45 a.m. and had a marathon driving day, covering 650 miles. I originally thought I'd stay in Cedar City, Utah the first night but the roads were good and I was feeling good so I decided to keep going while the going was good. I ended up staying in southern Provo, Utah Saturday night, arriving right around dark.
If Saturday was a marathon driving day, Sunday turned into a mega-marathon. I covered 800 miles in 12 hours and arrived home at 6:30 pm. I had several things working in my favor to make this day possible. I also had one unexpected challenge ahead of me.
1) I got an earlier start than expected from Provo because there was no new precipitation overnight. Therefore, I didn't feel the need to wait for it to warm up. The drive up through Salt Lake City was gorgeous with the sun shining on the Rockies and there was very little traffic since it was a Sunday. I always look for the LDS temple when driving through Salt Lake but I was so enthralled with the scenery, I totally missed it. I was bummed about that.
2) Overall, the roads were better than expected except for one horrible stretch of fog coming down the northwest side of the Blue Mountains in Oregon. This is known as Deadman's Pass (Cabbage Hill). The name alone sounds ominous and should be a warning. Anyway, pretty much everyone had their emergency flashers on because you couldn't see but a few feet in front of you. In all my traveling this is the worst fog I have ever experienced. I'll write a little more about it in another post.
3) I picked up an hour coming back into Pacific time. By the time I got to Pendleton (where I thought I might stay), it was too early in the day to stop. By the time I got to the Tri-Cities I was too close to home (2 1/2 hours) to stop... so I trundled on. I only had to drive in the dark for about 1/2 hour, which was road I was very familiar with. The sunset, reflecting on the snow while I was coming up along the Columbia River near Vantage was awesome.
My only regret is that I was looking forward to stopping to visit Candice Donofrio and also Wanda Kubat-Nerdin on the trip home. With the weather being so unsettled and another storm moving in, I decided to forge straight through without stopping to see either one of them. As it turned out, looking back at webcams and listening to weather reports it appears I did the absolute right thing.
All is well at home and I was very glad to sleep in my own bed Sunday night.