Alternative title - the time we got stuck in a huge snowstorm & they closed the freeway. . .
We had a fabulous time skiing on Friday (we got up at 5:00 am, and headed to Tahoe). We skied for most of the day, and then headed to the condo unit we had rented. We were pleasantly surprised. There was plenty of space, and while everything was quite dated, style-wise, it had everything we needed.
We made chili, cheese bread, & salad from things we brought from home. The kids & I got in the hot tub. M started to not feel well (cough, cold, fever, etc), so he stayed behind. We all went to bed early, with plans to ski on Saturday.
We woke up a bit late on Saturday (M is usually the "alarm" for our group), but overslept as he wasn't feeling well. We checked the forecast, and it appeared that snow would start around 3-4, so our plan was to get to the ski area, ski until 1:30 or so, load up & head out to avoid the snow. . . . ah, yes. So foolish.
The ski area was extremely crowded. We struggled to get everyone dressed, dropped off, tickets sorted, etc. The road leading to the ski area was super crowded. We were off to a late start. We skied for a bit, but it was pretty clear that M wasn't feeling well at all. It also got pretty windy & icy. I'm an okay skier in the best of conditions, and don't love skiing in the wind & ice. I grabbed a hot chocolate with Nick, and we sat by the fire while we waited for M & Sam to finish a run. Except, they got separated. There was confusion about where to meet. At this point, it started to lightly snow. It took another 30 minutes for us to find Sam, and then we had to wait in line for a gondola back to the car, schlep a ton of ski gear to the parking lot, undress the kids, load the skis & the gear. We were out of the resort by 2:00 pm. At this point, there's some snow on the ground, but all is well. Until we get on the freeway, and see that it's completely stopped. I don't know how many accidents were ahead of us, but we were trapped on the freeway not moving, while snow poured down. For the first time in my life, I got to pee on the side of the road with the kids. It was quite an adventure. ;-)
I was so grateful that I'd made sandwiches, and we could all eat those in the car. Of course, Sam ate mine (and his), so I made do with a few leftover snacks. The kids were exceptionally well behaved, but being trapped in the car wasn't much fun.
As the snow accumulated, and no cars could progress, it made a bad situation worse. Many cars were without chains (or 4 wheel drive) & started to get suck. They eventually closed the freeway. So, by 6, we were back to where we started (managed to get off the freeway) & we had dinner in Truckee. We had an unexpectedly expensive dinner (all of the closer/fast food restaurants were packed with other travelers) & then decided to check out the pass freeway again. It was open!
We made it home after eleven. At that point, M was incredibly sick. I can't drive in snow, so it was him or no one driving. It was very close to having to spend the night in Truckee, and all of the lower end hotels were full. We could only find one room, a few miles away, for close to $500. So, the expensive dinner was less of an issue than staying in a hotel.
Lessons? We did well having lots of blankets, snacks, water, & food in the car. We also had plenty of gas. We need a second phone charger, as mine died, and we struggled to get it recharged. Next time we will also allow even more time for car loading & kid corralling. I'd asked M if we should just head home when we woke up on Saturday morning, but he didn't want to disappoint the kids. Obviously, we would have missed all of the drama if we'd headed out in the morning.
Anyway, we are all back, safe & sound. M is crashed out & feeling terrible. I'm helping Sam prep his four course meal for his cooking class. (By that, I mean, answering questions about where baking utensils are, and ensuring kitchen safety. . . he's doing all of the actual cooking). I'll take Nick to indoor soccer soon, and I need to get in a workout today, even though I'm totally not feeling it!
What about you? Have you ever been stuck in a snow storm?