Fortunately we had filled up in Sparks so we continued on our way through Tioga Pass.
Absolutely beautiful. The temps dropped into the 40's as we climbed to the summit at 9943'. We drove along higway 120 through Yosemite and decided to get a room on the west side of the park in Mariposa, CA before we explored more of the park on Monday.
|If you look close you'll see the snow on the |
mountain tops further down the valley
When we woke up Monday it had begun to rain as a winter storm was crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We drove into Yosemite Valley hoping to get a glimpse of Half Dome, El Capitan and the other wonderful sites. Alas it was not to be. The clouds were very low and we could only see 100' - 200' up the slopes of the surrounding mountains.
|Low Clouds, Short Vistas|
|Wish We Could Have Seen More|
We decided to head home and headed back towards Tioga Pass. At least that was our plan until we started to see snow along the roads and in the surrounding trees. After marveling at the sights and taking lots of pics we called the Traffic Update phone line and discovered that Tioga Pass was closed due to snowfall, so we started checking the other pass's....Sonora Pass; closed unless you had snow chains or 4-wheel drive with snow tires (what are the chances a pair of newby Floridians would have snowchains?). So we checked on the next pass...Ebberts Pass; closed without 4-wheel drive or snow chains.......as was the next pass Luther Pass. What that means (to the folks back home in Florida) is that all the roads across the Sierra Nevadas to the east and our shorter route home were not an option for us. We would have to drive about 150 miles north to just east of Sacramento and pick up I-80 to return to Sparks. The traffic line stated that I-80 was open. We found a scenic road that would get us where we wanted to go and headed out.
The drive was pleasant but long. Except that the temps were in the 50's I would have loved to have been on the bike. Nice curvy scenic roads through the mountains and valleys and great pavement.....this drive is going on my 'To Do' list one day in the future. We got to I-80 and turned east towards home.
We were traveling along just fine climbing in elevation as we headed towards Donner Pass. Then we started to notice snow in the trees. Then snow on the ground and along the sides of the roads....and it was getting deeper as we drove further. Apparently it had snowed quite a bit overnight. Traffic was getting slower and slower. The temps continued to drop into the 20's as we climbed.
We started to notice the truck drivers and local entrepreneurs stopped along the interstate installing snow chains. The roadway was wet but there were still lots of cars continuing without chains so we followed along. I knew I would need to stop for gas before we got home so we started looking for a place to pull off. The snow was over a foot deep along the exits and I didn't want to pull off only to get stuck. Then just before the pass (did I say Donner Pass?) traffic was being stopped and checked. Only vehicles with 4-wheel drive or snow chains were being allowed to continue. I guess things had gotten a little worse since we had called the traffic information line.
|It's always something! Snowchains|
The situation being what it was, the gas station was the only place to get chains...so their prices weren't what we would hope to find at Walmart or NAPA. The chains went on and we headed out at 35 mph. We climbed our way through the pass and a few miles down the road we removed the chains before continuing our way home.
On Wednesday we reported to Amazon at 6:45am (yes I said AM) for orientation. We took a tour of the facility; attended presentations and watched short films to ensure we understood what Amazon was all about. We signed our employment contracts and got our job assignments. Joan and I will be working Shift 7 (Fri - Mon) 7am-5:30pm in Shipping. We met two other workampers who are staying in our RV park and work the same shift. We're going to be carpooling as the drive is 30 miles one way. The temps tonight are forecast to be in the 20's so it will be a cold start when we leave for work Friday morning. We're headed out to run some errands and pick up some cold weather supplies to insulate our water line.
Stay Tuned. More to Come.