To Top

Snow + Passes = Hotel Stays

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Me telling Ann, “trust me honey, the is a short cut to Arizona” … I don’t think she believe me! (the dually barely fit on the bridge).

Over the last four days we’ve encountered more snow and bad weather going into and trying to get out of California than we have in all of our other trips over the past 12 years combined!

On Sunday we drove from Prosser to Eugene, Oregon .. no problem!

On Monday we drove a few hours, but then stopped in Medford for an In-N-Out burger and some Harry-and-David store shopping. That’s when the snow started falling. Knowing we had a 100 miles of mountain passes to cross, we thought that even though it was only 1pm, it would be best to spend the night in Medford and tackle the passes on Tuesday.


2023-02-28-medford3It sounded easy enough, but then I was feeling a little off, like I was really anxious or stressed and my heart was racing a bit. I just didn’t feel quite right. Then, about 4pm, Ann got a call that her aunt had suffered an aneurysm and was on a breathing tube. There was some confusion and we thought she had passed. So, given the way I felt, Ann said we should go to the local ER. So, we spent a few hours in the ER. They did some tests. We talked to the heart doc. I was perfectly fine. It’s all very embarrassing, but sometimes it’s good to share the embarrassing stuff along with the instagram-perfect messaging.


An unflattering pic of me in the ER … Ann took a variety of pics; she was almost enjoying herself.

hmm … our conclusion is that I was having some kind of anxiety attack. Why, I don’t know. Was I nervous about snow in the passes? Nervous about the trip? Was I nervous about the feeling itself, afraid that I might be having a stroke like my father, which created a feedback look of nervousness? I have no idea! Whatever it was, things settled down that night and I’ve been fine ever since.

Anyway, the next morning we crossed the Siskyous with lots of truck, rain, and gravel on the road. We made it all the way to Merced, where we spent the night.

Now, as an aside, I must say my wife is a genius. She picked her Ford dually F350 in large part due to the seats. And, she was right, they are the MOST comfortable seats I’ve ever experienced. After 8 hours of driving, I was not sore or stiff (heck, I’m stiffer getting out of my tv chair after a couple hours). It fact, the seats were the reason we didn’t by a chevy dually with more power and towing capacity. She picked a good truck and she sure does love it!

Once again, back to our story. We woke up Wed morning ready to cross over either hwy 58 west or I-5 to the south. Either way would work for us on our trek to AZ. At our morning departure, I double checked and both passes were open. So, south we went towards Fresno for a quick stop near Sanger.

A few months ago a reader named Mike told me that if I wanted it, he had a frame for a Muller hardtop that I could have; I just had to pick it up. I like the idea of documenting a rebuild of a Muller hardtop for Biscuit and to have a frame would save me tons of work. And, because the weather through Oregon/UT was likely to be snowy, going through California seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the top.


Unfortunately, Mike had to work Wednesday morning, so we didn’t get to meet him, but we did meet his kind wife Shelly, who greeted us on her way out the driveway for an appointment. As we pulled up to their barn, there was sitting the frame, plus a surprise. An original trail sign of a jeep that was used in the Sierras. How cool is that! So, a big thanks to Mike for the frame and the sign!

With the sign stowed in the truck and the frame secured in the back, we were back on the road. However, we quickly realized we were going to have issues getting out of Bakersfield, because the electronic signs dotting HWY 99 read things like “AVOID TRAVEL” and “HWY 58 CLOSED” and “I-5 CLOSED” and “FIND ALTERNATE ROUTE”, the latter of which confused me because there wasn’t an alternate route unless we went west to the ocean, down hwy 1, then cut back again, which would add 100 hours or so to our drive (a slight exaggeration, but still …).


The weather heading south … not good!

Even we could tell this didn’t look good for getting to AZ on Wednesday.

So, we pulled into a Walmart parking lot in Bakersfield to wait for a couple hours and see if the passes would clear.  For the record, there were some odd characters both inside and outside that Walmart!

About 1pm we decided that we had better just get a room for the night and try Thursday morning, as the storm was supposed to pass Wednesday night. Of course, about 5pm, the pass on I-5 opened, but I”m sure the temps were dropping, so we were fine with out decision. I expect we should be able to cross on Thursday morning with no problems. Our goal is to reach Phoenix late Thursday night.

At least we got a photo of the Bakersfield City arch, but sadly there was no place to park where we could take a selfie:


That’s the update for now…


7 Comments on “Snow + Passes = Hotel Stays

  1. David in SE Mass

    David, no one knows your body as well as you. If you feel off kilter it is always best to heed what your body is telling you.
    The second reason I will not get rid of my 2010 F150 is that the seats are so supportive. Hours in the saddle and no aches. I wish my recliner could have such lumbar support. The proper seat will also delay the onset of driver fatigue. If only I could wedge the F150 seats into my GPW…

  2. Frank

    Good move David. I at times get that feeling and it feeds on itself and gets heavier. Not sure what brings it on other than anxiety. Sometimes we have good reason for being anxious. Glad you’re feeling better.

  3. Mike

    Dave, you’re not a kid anymore, we all have that urge to capture our youthful like experience, but our body says, “Oh No you don’t”, You have to slow down, you have no choice, at 73, I speak from my own experience.

  4. Frank

    Dave. You may not be a kid anymore but you have lots of “ get it done” left in you. Being cautious when things are not right is plain old smart,but when we give into old age because someone told us we should is not a good recipe. When we are feeling our selfs we need to stay at the same RPM as always and sometimes a bit more. Constant low voltage will ruin the motor. All the best. Frank @75

  5. Illinois Larry

    Good call Dave. You never know what’s going on with your heart. But you were wise in getting it changed out. Stay healthy.
    Nice FC also. We used to take or 74 CJ 5 to the San Juan’s.
    I remember the tour Jeeps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe without commenting