We're back home again. Had a very nice Christmas yesterday at my sister's house, who did very yummy things with wild mushrooms.
We debated staying over an extra day, but the weather was supposed to be bad today, tomorrow, the next day, etc. Not good if you are driving over potentially snowy, mountainous passes, so we decided to wake up as early as possible and try to outrun the worst of the weather.
We left Portland at 5am, driving into the black, black morning, accompanied by VNV Nation... light showers soon followed. Dawn finally arrived around 7:30, driving through forests on which grey purple clouds hoverred, as still as if they were pinned to the tops of the trees.
By 9:30am, we arrived at Ashland. The winds approaching Ashland were very strong and biting cold, spurred on from the snow on the surrounding mountainsides. Stopped for our first tank of gas and a brief stretch before heading through the Siskiyou Pass near Mt. Ashland. The pass is the highest point on I-5, and there we faced heavy winds, ice, and a bit of snow...
... but it was nothing compared to the pass near Mt. Shasta. I kind of figured the Shasta area would be worse, since the snow line was lower when we drove up, but the mountain really got hammered... Although all the lanes were open, people only used the center lane, as that was the one that wasn't a deathtrap. It was exciting in a very interesting, somewhat scary way.
The snow line must have been somewhere around 1300 feet or so, because when we reached Dunsmuir around 11:15, it was snowing... not the winddriven snow from hell that we faced on I-5, but far more tranquil, calmed by the surrounding pine forest. We parked downtown and had cocoa and a meal at a cafe, then went across the street, where I got Kirsten a lovely Y.A.C.R.A. (yet another cat-related accessory) she had eyed when we stopped there on the way up. Took more nice pictures, and continued on down the highway, which got even scarier before we finally got down below the snow line. A big rig slopped a few gallons of ice and snow on us, leaving us blind for several seconds, but after that, it was mostly just driving rain for the next few hundred miles...
All in all, a fairly good trip home, if perhaps a bit wet. Still, we both felt very lucky to be going through the passes early rather than later, before the ice and snow got even worse. We outran the worst of the storm, and had a good time in the process.
Brr. A dog's life in Dunsmuir.
Dunsmuir is full of obviously intentional postcard shots... but they're all so pleasant that you can't really resist. Go tourist!
What they say Christmas should look like.
More of what Xmas should look like. (Have you given in yet?!)
Mt. Shasta on the drive up when the weather was nice. In fact, all the pictures of Shasta were on the drive up, because you couldn't see it through the storm on the drive back. Yes, it does look like the old artwork on the soda cans...
Shasta from the north.
What Shasta looked like on the ride back... not the best driving conditions.
Getting snowed on. It was quite relaxing, actually...
Kirsten in Dunsmuir on the ride up. No falling snow, but quite Christmas-like, innit?