Sunday, January 3, 2010

Winter road trip

We drove from Beaverton to the Idaho Falls area and back this past week. I'm not a fan of driving in snow or ice, so I was a bit apprehensive about this winter road trip.

Fortunately, two years ago I found some near new studded snow tires on steel rims on craigslist and bought them for about $150. Even though they are noisy and ride a little rough on the highway, they provided peace of mind and we put them to good use on this trip.

Leaving 6AM Tuesday morning we hit just a bit of pre-dawn snow and some wind just a few miles east of Portland in the Columbia Gorge. This slowed us down for five or ten miles, but after that the roads were clear and we made great time, arriving in Idaho Falls about 7PM. We had a full van, with Jeremy, Bridget, Miriam, Magdalena, Suzanne, Steven, and myself. The girls behaved very well all those hours in the car confined to their car seats. I was glad to share the driving with Bridget and Steven.

I think it snowed a bit each day we were in Idaho, and though the highway remained mostly clear, we drove on snow packed roads a number of times. On New Year's Day we drove a couple of hours in snow to get to our snowmobile destination and back. This was the most use I have ever gotten out of those snow tires, and it felt good driving on them.

We left Rigby, ID, about 7AM Saturday for our trip home. An inch or two of new snow had fallen, and now the highways around Idaho Falls were snow packed. So it was a bit of a slow start (about 45 mph), but as we drove south on I-15 the roads began to clear within 20 miles or so. From there we had dry or wet roads the rest of the way. In Boise it was a warm and sunny 45 degrees, with not much snow in sight. Ontario turned foggy and 33, with lots of snow around, but the summit in the Blue Mountains was 40 and dry. We arrived home around 7:30PM.

So we felt fortunate to encounter good weather and roads this trip. And it was fun spending time with all my kids and five grandkids (but that should be another post).

Oh, I should mention that later on Tuesday, after we left town, a surprise snow storm hit Portland with about 3 inches and totally shut the place down, with hundreds of people leaving their cars stranded on the roads. I guess we were lucky to leave town when we did.

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