What I Did Over My Christmas Break
...Whew, OK, glad that's over. So we had a most excellent Christmas, Baby Peter enjoyed his first holiday and got lots of cool toys, caught up with lots of old friends, and ate ham and drank egg nog. It all went so well, that Avril said it was one of her "best Christmases ever."
Which of course jinxed us. Our return trip to Oregon Sunday became a 36-hour epic, rather than the usual 7-8 hour drive, thanks to a massive snowstorm between Redding and Medford. We arrived in the Redding area around 1 p.m. and it was lightly raining. Before we knew it, we got stuck in a huggggggge five-mile-long backup of traffic on Interstate 5 for chain control in the mountains north of Redding. We spent three hours there because yours truly still foolishly believed we could make it home, even as the snow began to fall and got thicker and thicker. Anyway, to make a long story short, once we finally got past chain control checkpoints we realized the snow was worse than we thought, Baby Peter wasn't happy after hours in the car seat, and it was getting dark. So we turned around and went back to Redding with hundreds of other angry travelers, found a Best Western and checked in for the night.
The first time in my dozens of times traveling through snow I've actually been stranded, but with a 10-month-old baby in the car it wasn't worth taking chances (they actually closed I-5 entirely soon after we turned around). Peter enjoyed his hotel room experience and we ate Mexican food and he tried tortilla chips. Called in stranded to work for Monday which wasn't great since we were already down several key editors. Monday morning, I-5 was still closed and it was still raining/snowing and we decided rather than hang around for hours in Redding, get stuck in massive backlog whenever I-5 opened, we'd take the long way around, all the way over land to the coast at Arcata from Redding, up from Arcata to Crescent City and then over across the border to Grants Pass and back onto I-5, with all the mountains behind us. Basically added 200 miles to the trip.
However, it was a beautiful drive through some of the country's finest scenery, and fortunately the snow was left behind even if the rain wasn't. Hadn't traveled that route in years, and Avril never had. Would have been nice to drive that way when I wasn't in a rush to get home, but in a twisted kind of way it was actually a fun little adventure, and Baby Peter was about as good as you can expect after his ordeals. Finally arrived back in Roseburg at 6 p.m. Monday night, 33 hours after leaving my parents' house 450 miles away. Collapsed into pile of goo.
And am still catching up with huge backlogs at work -- this of course being the week I write my annual gigantic 2,500-word roundup of the year in music and movies for the paper. And I lost my time Monday to work on it. Ack thppp.
Anyway, will post some more of my Nik's Picks later today, and transmissions should gradually resume a normal schedule.