Well arrived safely in Los Angeles last night after a very long drive down from Ashland. I made a few stops along the way for a bite to eat and to fill up the car with fuel. Interesting filling up the car has been a bit of a challenge on this trip – and its all down to a localisation (I18N) problem in the software used at the pump.
I assume that drive offs at the pump is a bigger problem in the USA than it is in Australia. Typically in Australia you’ll only encounter a locked pump later in the evening unless it is a particularly large station where the counter operator can’t keep an eye on all the pumps. By contrast, in the USA I am yet to encounter a pump that I can just start pumping then go in and pay.
Fortunately, most of the pumps support some kind of electronic payment mechanism such as a credit card. Unfortunately for me I don’t live in the USA, and can’t provide "my five digit zip code" as validation for credit card.
As Andrew Parsons quite rightly pointed out, I am actually flying out of Los Angeles late on Tuesday night, not Wednesday which I had first thought. That means I had less buffer to deal with diversions which is why I really had to get moving this morning. The first thing I had to deal with?
There was about an inch of snow on my read windscreen this morning and a little less on the front. I grabbed a plastic insert from one of the gadget boxes that I had in the boot and scraped it off with the assistance of the cars defroster.
In the end I decided that I wouldn’t need chains (yeah, in my expert opinion :P) and head south over the pass. Right now I am sitting in a town called Willows about 140km north of Sacramento. I decided to pull over here because I saw that they had a Starbucks and an abundance of parking which might not have been available in the city. The drive down has been fantastic and the car didn’t loose its grip once. I also managed to take a few shots.
Along the way I’ve been listening to a mixture of some of my more recent favourite tracks (I didn’t bring my entire collection with me so I’ve been limited). On the way I’ve been listening to Susan Maushart’s podcast called Multiple Choice (it’s an Australian ABC Local Radio feed downloaded via iTunes).
Anyway, nearly time to hit the road again, it is a long way to Los Angeles and I want to get there tonight if I can.
Well the snow has really come down in Ashland. I went for a walk before and I took a few shots. Interestingly when I was here last week there was only a tiny spot of snow up on a hill and I took a picture of it. I took another shot today from around the same spot – so here are the before and after shots.
I was talking to the guy that looks after the front desk at the motel that I am staying in tonight and he suggested that I check out a site called TripCheck. The site is run by the Oregon Department of Transportation and they update the site with hazard information. According to the web-site status information I am going to have to pick up some tyre chains tomorrow.
Before I sign-off for the evening, I thought I would post two more photos. The first is a picture taken from the side of the service station net more. You can see the ice packed onto the sign and on the side of the road.
This second shot is of the hills from the photos at the top of this post. Its just a bit closer without the service station (another one) in the road. After taking this I walked into a pub for a drink to warm me up a little bit (didn’t really bring snow wear with me).
As I mentioned in my previous post today I was headed to Ashland today. Well I made it and I am sitting once again up at the counter at The Wild Goose Cafe. I predicted that I would see more snow today and boy was I right. Outside the snow is coming down and slowly starting to pile up on my car.
I’ve heard a rumour that a largish storm is going to be coming through and that they might close down the pass down to the south (for safety reasons). On the way up into the mountains I actuall encountered about four traffic accidents which clagged up the I-5 North Bound so I guess the danger is real. Some folks are asking about the availability of chains for the tyres of their cars; never driven with chains before so that could be interesting if I need to get some.
One of the things that I have I have learned on the way up is that there are all different kinds of snow that you encounter. First first kind is the disney snow, you know, the type that forms in the flakes and wafts through the air. I’ve seen a little bit of that. The other kind of snow is the more hail like snow which actually makes a sound when it hits the car – I’d call it actual hail but it is so tiny, and I’ve never driven through wave after wave of "hail" for five hours before – but then again I’ve never driven through snow for five hours either.
At the moment the snow is melting almost as soon as it hits the ground so I suspect that it would take quite a while for any snow to build up on the roads to a point where it became a problem, and I asked some of the folks at OfficeNomads in Seattle before I left whether I should be worried about ice on the roads given the weather.