January 2, 2015

OK-CA In Three Days

Wow! That was three days in the car I don't care to repeat any time soon...

Don't get me wrong: the company was great.  It's just the length of the trip and the need to beat the weather that I (we) could definitely do without!

I had been watching the weather forecast for a few days before our scheduled departure and knew a large cold front was heading south.  So, on Monday morning, with a few tears in our eyes, we left Alex & Rocky and headed west.

Mondays drive was uneventful, which is a good thing.  There wasn't any more snow on the roads near Alex's home.  It had mostly melted by then.  We had driven through three states that day - Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.  We made our anticipated overnight stop in Albuquerque just after dark.  We gained an hour due to the time zone change.

Tuesday we looked east as we drove out of Albuquerque and were very glad we were heading in the opposite direction.  We saw large storm clouds over the mountain pass we had driven over the day before.  I'm sure it was already snow covered and difficult to drive.  Our car thermometer said 28 degrees at 9am.  We knew we made the right decision to leave Alex's when we did.

Our drive through the next few states included the remainder of New Mexico, Arizona and concluded just inside the California border at Needles.  Another time zone was crossed just before our arrival.

Red  Rock Canyon State Park, near Gallup NM

snow on the desert ground, near Gallup, NM
This particular area of the drive was brown and seemingly drab on my way to Oklahoma.  The view out the windows on the drive home was vastly different.  Luckily we weren't around when it was coming down.

Wednesdays drive was not as easy as the previous two days.  We had studied the weather forecast for two main areas on our drive, Barstow and Tehachapi Pass.  Both areas reported that the roads were clear and driving conditions were fine.  We had planned to leave early.  We were fed, packed and out the door by 8:40. 

Unfortunately, we didn't beat the snow coming into Needles.  The ground outside our hotel room had a light dusting, although the highway was clear.  Things started to get worse about 30 minutes into the drive.  By then we weren't in a position to turn around safely and we had to forge ahead.  The falling snow had begun to accumulate on the highway.  We could see where cars had previously driven and followed their tracks.  I'm so glad I had Ron to drive at this point!  I don't do snow.  We were going at a near snails pace, along with everyone else.  We survived Round One.

Round Two was a little further down the highway.  Not nearly as severe as round one, but we were glad to have it behind us.

mountains west of Needles, CA getting covered with snow
Thankfully there was no Round Three.  It was a scary drive through the mountains just west of Needles, but we made it in one piece.

The weather reports were true.  Barstow and Tehachapi Pass were clear as we drove over them.  The sky was gray and cloudy but no more snow fell on us for the remainder of our drive.

Once onto Highway 99 we knew we were out of the danger zone.  The rest of the drive was white knuckle free.



  1. Funny how just a few days can so alter a landscape - much prettier with the light snow. We're in Needles every April on our way to Laughlin, NV, and it is hard to imagine it with snow! I've only driven in it once and that was enough to know I don't want to do it again - so glad the little car got you safely through! With snow all over SoCal and AZ we didn't even get a drop of rain from that storm (but it's been in the high 20's the last couple nights).

    1. Yes, the light snow added to the beauty. Ron was worried about the car b/c it didn't have mud & snow tires - go figure... Of course, he didn't tell me this until after we were out of danger :-)
      I hope we all get some more rain soon. It was dry here the entire time we were gone.


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