Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A long weekend and a long drive

We planned on spending our Presidents' Day weekend in Tahoe, but due to crazy circumstances, we spent about 4 times more hours in the car than we spent on the slopes.

Jonny's office rented a house for the weekend and we planned to leave work a little early and head up to Tahoe. We actually didn't start heading out of town until 5pm, and it took us an hour sitting in standstill traffic in San Francisco before we got on the interstate. Once we were on the road, though, it was pretty smooth sailing. Until we started to get close to Tahoe, that is. The snow was coming down hard and the roads were getting icier and icier, and all over the place we were seeing warnings that we would need snow chains. We stopped and bought some at a gas station, although neither of us has ever had experience putting on chains before.

When we got to the stopping point where people without 4 wheel drive and snow tires are required to put chains on their cars, and we were going to pay a man to put ours on since we had no clue what we were doing. He looked at our car and said, "You've got an Audi - you don't need chains" and waved us on. You saw a picture of our car - it's an Audi convertible, not exactly a snowmobile. Anyway, we drove on, and the people at the check point said the same thing, "You don't need chains."

We were feeling pretty good about ourselves for a little while, then the roads started getting icier and we started slipping, so we pulled over to the side of the road to try to attach our chains ourselves. We followed the directions that came with the chains and managed to get them attached to both wheels, but as soon as we started driving, one chain fell off. Jonny then decided to park on the side of the road and got out to look for the chain. I sat in the car waiting until a highway patrol officer came up and told me I was in an extremely dangerous spot and needed to either drive on or pull the car completely off the road. I told him that Jonny was out looking for our lost chain, and he started going on and on about how risky that was. And I started to get worried.

Jonny was nowhere in sight, and I sat in the car on the side of the road while other vehicles crawled by us, imagining all of the worst possible things that could have happened to him. Finally, he got back, with no chains, and I was so relieved! We crept on for awhile with one chain on, and we managed to do all right going downhill. Then, we got to a tiny hill and couldn't make it up. We tried reversing and then going forward, getting out and pushing, and laying on the gas, but nothing worked. We started to plan for sleeping there in our car that night when another highway patrol officer came up and gave us a push up the hill. With that momentum, we made it to the next chain check point about a mile up the road. By this point it was about 3:30am.

This chain checkpoint was much stricter, as the next stretch of road was hilly and icy and wind-y (that's wind-y with a long "i", not windy). The man at the checkpoint took a look at our car with our one chain and told us we needed to turn around and drive to the closest town to buy new chains. The nearest town was about 10 miles away, which wouldn't be a problem except that driving that last ten miles had taken us over an hour. We told him we thought we'd be okay and somehow managed to convince him to let us go on our way. By some kind of miracle, we made it through that next stretch of road slowly but surely, and finally crossed over into Nevada. At this point, we were only 3 miles from our house.

We started up the final hill to get to our house, and suddenly the parking brake light came on. We stopped for a second to see if we'd accidentally pulled the brake up by mistake (not an easy accident!). We hadn't. But once we'd stopped, we couldn't get started up the hill again. Finally we decided we'd have to park the car and call someone to come get us. We saw a stoplight in the distance and thought it would be better to find a parking lot to park in rather than abandoning our car on the side of the road, so we eased over in the direction of the light. We found a gas station that was open at 5am and went in to see if we could get anything that might help us make it up the hill. They had snow chains so we bought another pair, thinking that an additional snow chain would help us out.

We got the chains installed and turned the car on again, and... nothing. We couldn't drive forward or reverse. Jonny was about to go angrily try to return the failing snow chains to the poor night attendant at the gas station when he realized that our back wheels were locked. So much snow had built up around our wheels that the wheels had completely locked up, as if we had pulled the parking brake. We put on our gloves and dug and dug, and finally we got all of the snow out and were able to drive on. At that point, our car was driving like a champion and we made it all the way up to the house. It was 5:30am.

Enough writing, except I'll explain the above pictures, starting clockwise from left:

{1} view of sunset from our house; {2} Jonny with crazy post-snowboarding hair; {3} pretty sky on a stretch of road; {4} In-N-Out!; {5} light traffic, but a little picture of our view for most of the weekend; {6} wine exhibit at SF Moma on Monday.

And in other news, our friends Josh and Ashley got engaged a few weeks ago and it's been so fun to get to celebrate with them! We can't wait for Memorial Day weekend... WOOHOO!

(photo taken at our wedding by Rachel Williamson)

P.S. I will be sharing our wedding photos soon... it's just taken me a few months to get around to putting them together. 

1 comment:


Related Posts with Thumbnails