This year, for the Christmas holiday, we decided to drive home to Washington instead of fly. We had already flown to Chicago in October and then Wyoming in November, so we were sick of airports and wanted the relaxation of a soothing quiet drive together as a family. Boy, were we wrong!
It takes about 12-13 hours to drive from our apartment in California to my parents home in central Washington, but knowing that we would need to stop several times along the way for Daxton we planned on making it a two day trip with about 6 hours of driving on each day. We left around 9am and headed north. It was a bit overcast when we left, but by the time we made it to Redding it had began to rain. As our elevation rose, the rain turned into a light snowfall. Having not seen snow for a year, I was super excited and pulled out the camera to document it's beauty.
It was fun to see Daxton's reaction to the falling flakes. He is such an amazing little travel buddy. We have truly been blessed with the most precious good-natured little spirit. He sat quietly staring at the passing white trees trying to take everything in.
By the time we reached the Shasta Mountain Range, the snow was really coming down. We saw several semi trucks and cars pulled over to the side putting on chains. With the icy conditions of the freeway, we figured it would be best for us to do the same. The last time I used chains was back in 2009 when I tried to surprise Janelle on her birthday.
(If you'd like to read about that debacle you can click here.)
Since then, though, we have had all four of our tires replaced and the chains were a bit too small. Poor Dallas spent almost an hour trying to put them on. At the time we didn't realize that they were the wrong size; just that it had been a long time since either of us had had to deal with anything besides sunshine and rain! A nice semi driver came over to help for a bit and couldn't figure out why they weren't connecting. It was then that we realized that none of us owned winter clothing. We had brought lots of layers to keep us warm, but we didn't have any gloves, hats, scarves, etc. We had truly become those "unprepared Californians." At one point Dallas had to get into the trunk and put socks on his hands so his fingers wouldn't freeze while trying to get the chains on...it was quite the sight!
After battling with our chains for almost an hour, Dallas was successful at attaching them. We hopped back on the freeway only to be stopped by a massive pile up on I-5. Chains had become mandatory by then, so cars, trucks, and semis were stopped in all lanes of traffic trying to get their chains on. Traffic was backed up for miles and the snow kept falling. It was pretty frustrating watching our GPS keep recalculating our estimated time of arrival.
After 20 minutes of no movement, we figured we better make the best of our situation. I hopped in the back with Daxton and took him out of his carseat. He was ecstatic! We rolled down the window and let him get his first touch of snow. It was so funny to see how interested he was, especially with the window. He would carefully catch snow flakes on his fingers and then try to put them in his mouth. He couldn't figure out why they would disappear on his skin.
Such a happy boy!
He was pretty mad when I rolled up the window, but I didn't want him to get too cold, so we let him sit in the driver's seat for the first time. He loved looking at all the buttons and playing on daddy's lap. He is such a daddy's boy!
Traffic didn't clear for over two hours. Thank heavens we had a full tank of gas, snacks, water, and warm blankets! As much as I LOVE looking at the gorgeous puffy white flakes, snow can be a best to try and drive through. The worst part of the day, though, was pulling into a rest stop after driving for almost 12 hours. As I was walking into the bathroom I noticed a sign...it said we were still in California...
We finally made it to Klamath Falls, Oregon (right on the border) after 9pm. We checked into our hotel and immediately jumped into a hot bath. Daxton would live in water if he could. He splashed, giggled, and warmed right up for bedtime. He even let momma pose him for the camera, even after such a long day. I sure do love this guy...and look at all that yummy kissable skin! I can't get enough of him!