Thursday, February 19, 2015

storm warning

I hate driving on snow and ice.

I told you that on Tuesday.  But I wanted to remind you.  After all, you are busy people.

Yesterday I set out on my drive to Salem to complete the second most important part of my visit north -- signing tax documents in my capacity as the trustee for a family trust.  I hope this is the last year I need to make the trip.  Even though I suspect next year will be a repeat of the same drill.

When I left Bend, the weather forecast was for a sunny trip across the Cascades.  Of course, forecasts in mountain ranges are notoriously wrong.  And when I saw the clouds moving in over the Three Sisters (the same clouds you are looking at), I thought I had been euchred.

I had just finished reading Erik Larson's Isaac's Storm.  Larson almost always writes accounts of disasters that make you feel you were -- and wish that you weren't.  In this case, it was a tale of how the newly-founded U.S. Weather Bureau completely missed forcasting the Galveston hurricane of 1900 -- resulting in a stunning loss of life.

But I was wrong.  Completely wrong.  The weathermen were correct.

Other than those clouds, the skies on the trip over were as blue as the skies of Seattle promised in that Bobby Sherman song.  I couldn't have asked for better weather.

This is what I saw at the 4000 foot summit near the Hoodoo ski facility.

It may as well be May in the Cascades.  Usually, there are several feet of snow piled along the highway.  The road should look like a luge run.  Instead, it feels like a Sunday drive in the country.

And that is bad.  Despite Oregon's rap for being a rainy state, it is still a Western state.  That means summer droughts.  Droughts that are usually relieved by melting snow packs. 

But, if there is no snow pack, there is nothing to melt.  It is the equivalent of a farmer eating his seed corn.  Or a soldier firing his last bullet.

At least, I did not have to contend with snow and ice.

I suspect Darrel will not be so lucky.  When I headed west, he headed east.  And the forecasts in his hand were far more unnerving than mine.  If you have been listening to the news this week, you know what he is facing once he gets to the east slope of the Rockies.

For sheer thrills, I wish I had joined him.  But I would not have been much help as a relief driver.  That ice and snow thing again.

I wish him well.  Christie and he need to move to Mexico before these winters capture us forever.

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