Updated and Complete.
DOH! (I said nothing about "The Simpsons")
We had just passed the Gorman exit when traffic on Interstate 5 came to a dead stop. Had we jumped off at the exit, we'd have been in a great position to get the story on live as it was happening.
I was in one of our satellite trucks, Henry Jerkins and Serene Branson were right behind me in one of our microwave trucks (Unit #19).
The weather was harsh. Traffic had already been slow. I've been in worse driving conditions, but this was bad. I generally like to be where I'm going when the roads get to be this bad.
Ouch. Sorry, I just looked at the time. I really want to get the pictures up, but I can't finish this post right now. We'll chat later. Until then, enjoy the photos.
Okay, I'm back. All rested and refreshed, but still recovering from the trauma of being stuck on the interstate for almost five hours.
Yeah, that's how long we were there. It was obviously freezing, but the worst part about being stuck was not being able to get a signal out. The microwave truck was simply blocked by the surrounding hills and the SAT trck was pointed in the wrong direction.
I would have had to turn the truck around and parked it facing the oncoming traffic. Not really a problem while we were all stuck where we were, but popping the dish and being set up with the possibility of the road opening at any time wasn't a problem I wanted to face.
After working so hard to clear the road, I'm sure the kind folks from Caltrans and the CHP wouldn't take very kindly to a news crew blocking traffic.
It might have looked like a parking lot, but it was still an interstate roadway and I'm pretty sure blocking a lane with a vehicle facing the wrong direction is still somewhat of a violation of the laws of the road.
Doesn't mean I didn't try.
That's why the SAT truck was turned at an angle. I almost got it stuck and that was pretty much the limit on how much risk I was going to take.
What can I say? I got bored after like fifteen minutes. We tried to send back some video and pictures from my Blackberry phone. The pics actually made it to air, but the audio was too distorted from the video clip we sent back.
We finally got free of the traffic jam. I believe the unofficial report was that a big rig had slid on the ice and jackknifed. When it jackknifed, it might have also taken out a couple of cars. You really want to be careful around big rigs in the snow. They could jackknife at any time.
Heh-heh, I don't know why, but I like saying, "Jackknifed."
Reporter Serene Branson and I were having a case of deja-vu. We'd been in the area a year ago and had gotten snowed in for several days.
That storm seemed to take people more by surprise. A lot of folks (including us) were stuck at the Flying J truck stop and people who hadn't gotten rooms were forced to sleep in the hallway at the Best Rest Inn.
Yeah, good times.
My fellow photographer, Henry Jerkins, wasn't with us for that particular assignment, but he was no stranger to the "Flying J" diner either. I think Henry and I are on the same page when it comes to the food at the "Flying J" truckstop.
The breakfast, lunch, or dineer buffet is the best deal on the menu.
For gosh sakes, stay away from the buffet.
This trip to the snow only lasted two days and the longest day was only seventeen hours. It ended well, much better than the way it started.
I could have stayed another day or really, just about as long as they needed me to stay, but I'm really glad this was just an overnight trip.
It's not easy working away from home. I miss the time I spend with my wife and barring complete exaustion, I don't sleep well away from home.
Still, I think I'm better for having had the experience and I'm just thankful we weren't facing anything more dangerous. The whole snowy adventure makes for interesting stories and memories after the fact and photos don't really do justice to the sight of the snow covered ground.
It's easy to see why the people who live in the area are willing to endure the occasional snowfall. It's a majestic and beautiful sight. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to see sunrise and sunset over the area firsthand.
Like the residents, I'll just bundle up and stay off the road as much as possible. Well, maybe I'll just bundle up.
ps- If I'm ever part of a rebel alliance on the run from a galactic empire, I'll grab me a couple of tauntauns, some supplies and hide out here.