• Jan

    Road Trip 2008: Part 3


    Day 3 dawned cold and wet. I didn’t see much point in taking any shots of the Rodeway Inn since it was so cold and miserable. What now follows are some shots from some of my hangouts that I’d discovered over the summer on another road trip.

    A Good Morning

    A Good Morning. No, not the day, the restaurant. Good food, great atmosphere, good prices. Carol and myself ate here many times over the course of our trip. We just kept coming back. It’s located on El Camino Real, across from Rasputin’s Records in Palo Alto.

    A Good Morning coffe

    The coffee was good, too, we kept coming back for more.

    A Good Morning - Breakfast

    My breakfast this time around. Simple, yet tasty.

    La Creme de la cafe

    Another great coffee hangout off of Middlefield Road in Los Altos.

    La Creme de Cafe' inside

    An interior shot of the same place. One thing that impressed me was the quality of their Americano, which rivaled the one I can make at home in Victoria. I really like this place. Unfortunately, it’s now winter and the lovely Jasmine flowers that I enjoyed over the summer are now gone. I’ll have to wait until next summer to experience that again. Eventually, I’ll blog about that trip, but later on.

    In this next space would be a photo, but I didn’t have the presence of mind to take one, due to the extreme weather conditions. It wound up raining heavily that afternoon, as I approached a stretch of highway that locals call, “the grapevine.” It’s a stretch of highway over a mountainous region just north of Los Angeles.

    Going up that pass I encountered heavy rain which quickly turned into heavy snow and ultimately, a whiteout. Within half an hour, all four rows of traffic was stopped dead, while it continued to snow.

    ┬áBeing from the prairies, I couldn’t figure out while people didn’t keep going, as the snow wasn’t all that deep. To my immediate left was a clear lane but no one was using it. I thought, perhaps, that they were waiting for snowplows, but it became apparent that nothing was happening.

    I was thinking of pulling into that lane and seeing if I could continue when a couple of vehicles did exactly that, and I joined them. I wanted to see how far I could get, or, if I was lucky, to get through this pass and down the other side. I reasoned that if we could get to a lower elevation, the snow would turn to rain and my problems would be over.

    The mantra I kept repeating over and over as I followed the truck in front of me was, “Whatever you do, don’t stop. Keep going, keep moving.” And they did, to their credit, but it was like driving through a wasteland, like something from “The Road Warrior.” Vehicles were strewn everywhere, at haphazard angles and we drove slowly, yet consistently, around them.

    Then conditions got even worse, as night fell and we kept climbing. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, we started to come down, but the snow was really treacherous and difficult to drive through. Worse, my headlights had become covered in snow so my visibility was really limited, but I didn’t dare get out of the car to clear them, partly due to the conditions. I was afraid that someone might hit me in the poor visibility and I wasn’t willing to take that chance.

    So, we kept going. Only a handful of cars and some trucks going down. I had to concentrate intensely to make sure I didn’t hit anyone, nor go off the road and in some cases I felt like I was almost driving blind. One thing that made a huge difference was turning on my high beams, which you’re not supposed to do in those conditions, but what the beams did was to light up those little reflectors on the road and that made all the difference in the world.

    Eventually, the snow turned to rain and the roads cleared, but looking behind me, I was only one of a few vehicles that made it out of there; everyone else had gotten stuck, at least for the night. Why I got out, I don’t know. I think it was a combination of luck, a front wheel drive car and Michelins. I had chains, but I didn’t use them.

    After getting out of there, I used my GPS and made it safely to my hotel in Anaheim, but man, I was beat. Before I knew it, I was in bed and sound asleep.

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