A little change of plans...
The plan was to take a road trip from Oregon to Michigan so we could visit Bethany's family for Christmas. The advantage of driving was that we could make stops along the way to visit good friends along the way. Galloways and Lisa in Jackson Hole, Katzes in Wisconsin, and then Amy in Denver and Natalie in Grand Junction Colorado on the way back. We love driving and always take lots of photos along the way.
Here is our car all packed up in our driveway just before leaving at around 10AM. Camping gear, snowmobiling cold weather gear, Christmas presents, clothes... you name it, it's in there.
Getting on I-84 heading east-
After 2 hours of driving East on I-84, we start to see flashing signs saying the freeway was closed ahead due to multiple car pileups and intense blizzards. DOH!! We optimistically pressed on thinking it would all be ok. And anyways, I love the challenge of driving in the snow. I've been doing it all my driving life and must admit I'm pretty darn good at it. I only get out of control when I want to be. :)
Well a few miles later right before Cabbage Hill (Deadman Pass) the freeway was barricaded off and there was hundreds of semi trucks and cars stacking up waiting for it to open up. We waited for a bit, considered a couple detours which would definitely not have worked out, and then drove to a nearby hotel/casino to try and find internet. We parked outside the hotel and found a strong WiFi signal. Score.
We talked about our options and pretty quickly realized that driving across the country in the middle of winter might not have been the best idea in a 2 wheel drive car, and not too much extra time to kill waiting for interstates to open up.
Using our random wireless signal and the Macbook pro, we did a quick search on airline tickets to check the prices. Initial results were as expected... $2,000+ for last minute round trip tickets during the holidays. With a little persistence and sidestep.com, we found a couple tickets on Northwest (straight flight!) for about $370 each if we flew the next day, and then flew back on the 26th. Thats just about $70 more than normal, not bad! So we bought the tickets right there in the car, and started driving back to Hood River to re-pack everything for the plane.
The line of Semi's stacked up went on for miles on the way back-
On the way back we saw the most incredible pack of birds flying in sync, tens of thousands of them, maybe hundreds of thousands! It was like straight out of the Planet Earth series! Didn't get a good pic, but did get a video. And this snapshot of us that doesn't really have anything to do with the birds...
Another curveball to the whole situation... Our flight out of PDX was @ 8:30AM, and there was bad snow and ice forcasted for the night, so we decided to book a park & fly hotel in Portland for the night. What a deal that is! $67 at the Ramada for the hotel room, 14 days of parking, and a free shuttle to the airport. If we were to park at the airport for 14 days, the price of that alone would have been $112!
So there we were at PDX the next morning, taking off to Detroit! Bummer we won't see all our friends, but it's an even better reason for all them to come visit us now!
Another awesome thing is that we'll be going home on the 26th (instead of January 10th if we drove), so we'll get to do Christmas with my family as well while everyone is in town. :)