Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I haved lived here in the High Sierras since July 1998, and I am a vetran of many,many big nasty storms. Had something happen last friday that shook some of the common sense down out of the cobwebs of my brain. It started out innocent enough, it was going into the weekend and Rubi and I had planned on going to Grovers hot springs to soak and relax in the hot mineral waters before the show I had to work on Saturday night, I really hadn't checked the weather closely that day (very unusual) because of errands and things. When I picked her up from work in Round Hill it was fairly nice out, it was overcast and cold with a little flake here and there, but nothing I havent been through before, or so I thought, so off we went jamming out to some vintage JGB on the player anticipating a nice soak...
We got there fine about 6pm and the snow was just beginning to drop, just starting to coat the pavement as we pulled up. By the time I emerged from the dressing rooms it was coming down in big fluffy powder flakes, nice and dry, perfect to ride a snowboard in. We had a good long soak in the 104+ water with our heads getting coated with snow, steam from the pool mixing with snowflakes, unbelieveably beautiful and invigorating, one of the lifegaurds had her 6 month old baby in the pool and he was wide eyed and in wonder along with the rest of us. We said goodbye and went into change. By the time I was dressed there was an inch or two of snow on the ground
as we got in the car. Not enough to bother with chains, which I had in the trunk. Boy howdy did the sky open up and drop, by the time we got to Markleeville there was 6 inches of snow on the ground and I was having trouble seeing.
The mood went from relaxed to tense as we plowed ahead, we had snow tires on so I really didn't need the chains, but it was a crawl to Woodsford and I made a wrong turn along the way, compounding my anxiety, and had to backtrack to get back in the right direction, by the time we got to the junction of hiway 88 and 89 it was so bad I was sure I was going to drive off the road! The only thing from keeping me from completely flipping out was Rubi's calming influence, and the fact I knew if I freaked, she would really lose it! All I could think is DONNER PARTY!, DONNER PARTY!,DONNER PARTY! and it just kept getting worse until I fell in behind a huge snowplow and followed that beautiful bastard all the way up 88, and thought I was home free...wrong.
He kept going up 88 towards Carson pass while I broke through the berm he was throwing up and turned home up and over Luther pass. I have driven since 14 and have been in all sorts of hairy situations, but nothing close to that little 10 mile run. Besides snow blowing every direction so thick I was driving about 10 mph and Rubi navigating the markers for the plows, we had a couple of assholes in big 4x4's blast past and blinding us even more with throwoff from their tires. All in all one of the gnarliest trips I have had in my life and wanted to be home by the time we rolled through Meyers, and I swear I almost messed my shorts when we were shocked by the report of cannon fire knocking loose the stuff above Echo summit, settled down a bit where we saw a line of cars on hold for avalanche control and I was overjoyed to point the Buick the other way headed home to town and warmth and saftey. It's whats known lovingy by Massholes as a real pisser of an evening and if I don't have another like it ever again it will be too soon...
p.s. Smoking a big pipe of chronic is not recomended before heading off into a snowstorm either, by the time I figured that one out it was already done...(my bad)

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