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Mountain Driving

February 14, 2009

Highway 50, originally uploaded by IrishFireside.

corey says…Yesterday’s driving was quite an experience. We are back in full-on winter. Highway patrol required that we equip Fiona with chains so we could get up to Tahoe. At the bottom of the hill there were “chain monkeys” available to put on the chains (not sure I’d like to be called a “chain monkey”)…most people were putting them on themselves…not knowing how they worked…we opted to have ours put on where we bought the chains.

That meant sloooow going. We stopped at one of the few gas stations on the climb. Inside there was a huge line for the bathroom, and the bathroom had a big government sign on it labeling it “substandard” and “closed.” The shop owner kept asking people to flush every third person and if possible “women only.” I could tell this was stressing him out…he wasn’t supposed to even have it open, but had pity on all these people.

On the way, traffic stopped for an accident. It looked like a head-on collision and one vehicle had a tire off the edge of the road…and there was a mighty drop ahead of them. It looked bad, but everyone looked okay.

Early in the climb, many cars turned on their hazard lights, so we followed suit. However, when we got further up the mountain, we didn’t notice everyone else turned theirs off…oops. Who knew that turning on our hazards would mean most people wouldn’t pass up. We’d pull off whenever there was a cleared out pull-off, but there weren’t many.

We were finally pulled over by Officer Frisby who asked, “Is there a reason you have your four-way hazards on.”

“Well, uh, no, kind of.”

He was super friendly, complimented us on keeping ourselves at a safe speed. He then gave us a lesson on how to remove our chains and several other details on driving in these conditions. We are very familiar with driving in snowy conditions, but snowy mountain conditions had us a little concerned and extra careful.

He then introduced us to his K-9 partner. Awesome dog…who let us pet him, but he really was more interested in getting his work done.

We finally made the 60 mile journey to South Lake Tahoe in just over 3 hours. That’s where we met up with Anne Roos from She and her husband John were wonderful hosts…with scones, tea and snacks waiting for us when we arrived.

We had plenty to chat about before we all went out for dinner. Then, it was back to Anne’s for a private harp concert. That was so great…she’s such a talent. She doesn’t limit her music to Celtic tunes, so it was fun to hear songs like “Our Love Is Here to Stay” on the Celtic harp.

Such a wonderful evening…and John, thanks for staying up past your bedtime 😉 We know you had a loooong day.

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