A chain of events

We packed our bags, ready to leave the rainy cool weather in Portland, Oregon. We planned to head south for warmer temperatures and sunny days. Our son casually mentioned that we needed tire chains if we drove the main highway (I-5) over the mountain pass at the Oregon-California state line. What? We’ve lived in very snowy places and have never used tire chains before.

Yes, we discovered it’s true, so we headed to a Les Schwab Tire Center to pick up the $89 “quick fit” chains. We understood that it was highly unlikely that we’d have to use them, in which case the chains could be returned to Schwab and our money refunded. The salesperson took us over to a big photo display showing step-by-step how to put the chains on just in case. He even demonstrated how to do it.

With confidence and tire chains in hand, we took off and drove our first day through cold, pouring rain to a little motel in Grant’s Pass.

The next morning we awoke to a winter wonderland. Snow! Big flakes were drifting down and added to the pile of snow already blanketing our car.

We were (only kind of) prepared for the snow. True, we had the tire chains but had to make due with waterproof socks under our Keen sandals.

DSC04452

Approaching the mountain pass, cars and big trailer trucks all pulled over to put on tire chains. Local folks with years of experience helped those of us who’d never had to put the chains on before.

We thought the chains added an interesting decorative touch to our new car.

We thought the chains added an interesting decorative touch to our new car.

We’ve rarely seen an interstate highway look like this….

We’ve rarely seen an interstate highway look like this….

…or this. The snowy scenery turned the slow drive into a wonderland perfect for photography.

…or this. The snowy scenery turned the slow drive into a wonderland perfect for photography.

We continued to climb the pass at 15 miles per hour.

We continued to climb the pass at 15 miles per hour.

After some miles, the road started to descend and we pulled over to remove the tire chains. We continued the drive downhill into California. Even then, the landscape signaled winter was here.

After some miles, the road started to descend and we pulled over to remove the tire chains. We continued the drive downhill into California. Even then, the landscape signaled winter was here.

We’ll have a long way to drive to get to those sunny, warm days.

 

December 2015

 

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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18 Responses to A chain of events

  1. Hmm, I’ve thought about relocating to Portland, or more likely Seattle. Maybe I should stop thinking about it! It was in the high 70s here in central NC today. Stay safe.

  2. David Mog says:

    We are still wearing sandals here in DC – and w/o socks! Thanks for the snow photos to help us here in the East get into the Christmas spirit.

  3. Sandals will be welcome in central California. It’s astonishing to see a highway reduced to a small single lane. Beautiful, but better in photos than in the cold of real life!

  4. icelandpenny says:

    thank goodness for those chains — wicked driving weather, but it made for glorious skies to photograph

  5. Reminds me of a trip we took from Sacramento to Tahoe years ago. My husband grew up in Illinois, so he kept saying, I know how to put chains on. A storm was coming in and we thought we could beat it, by leaving a day early. We passed “chain monkeys” who will put on your chains for $20, but no my hubby knew how so we went on. After awhile the chains became imperative. The traffic was slow and it was snowing, our tires kept freezing in place and needed to shovel ice to get us free. Hubby tried putting the chains on, but no go. We limped to an area with chain monkeys and decided $20 was worth it. The guy had to let air out of our tires to get the chains on. They closed the highway behind us and our normal one hour drive took four hours, with the kids in the back seat “Are we there yet?”

  6. Dale Claypoole says:

    Thanks for bringing snow to California–we can use it. Did the “local folks” truly simply help you or were they also entrepreneurs (which is certainly an honorable job and very common in the Sierras?)

  7. Wow, haven’t seen tire chains since my childhood in the ’50’s in upstate NY. What a beautiful storm you witnessed. Thank goodness for your chains and the goodness of strangers 😉

  8. plaidcamper says:

    Beautiful tire decorations(!) and lovely photographs! Have a safe journey, and enjoy the warmer weather when you get there.

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