Saturday, December 28, 2019

One Hour Trip Takes Six Hours

A lot of snow fell over Tehachapi Pass between Christmas and today when we went over the pass.  My guess, about a foot, perhaps more.  Yesterday the pass was open for about 4-5 hours, until it got too cold and more snow fell, and they closed it.  Today we left the Orange Grove RV Park around 9:30, and the traffic was backed up way past our highway entrance.  For about 30 minutes we traveled around 1/10th of a mile.  Then things started moving, and 15-20 minutes later we 4.5 miles down the freeway at the point where they turned people around when the pass was not open.

It took us 6 hours to travel 60 miles, and another hour to travel another 60 miles to Barstow.  WOW, what a cluster filled day!  The highway was in very good condition, it is just that with the Grapevine closed, TOO many cars and trucks...lots of trucks...traveled over highway 58 to Mojave to turn south towards the LA area.  Second, there were two construction zones which put the highway down to one lane, once for only the distance for work on a bridge, but the second one was for many hours.  Third, it would have been smart for CalTrans to have posted Tow Trucks up along the highways, because that many people means there are too many idiots who are in too much of a hurry to drive under conditions like this.  There were many times when we were stopped without moving very far for a long, long time.

Very early on I saw this CHP (pictured through my drivers outside mirror) who road the dotted middle line and slowed a huge group of cars and trucks up so that it was not a mad house going up the hill.  He did this for a good 8 miles or more, sometimes going so slow that I could not see them.  Here (pictured above) the traffic in front of us was so slow that they caught up...and eventually the CHP car pulled off the highway to turn around and do it again.

With the CHP Officer escorting the flock of cars and trucks behind us, I tried to keep lots of room between  them and those in front of us.  You can see that it started out to be a gorgeous day...but under them clouds in front of us was a heap of snow, especially in and around the town of Tehachapi (3,970 ft.), Tehachapi Pass at 3,771 ft, and Tehachapi Summit at 4,031 ft. 

The snow seemed to fall as low as 3,000 ft on the western side of the mountains, and there was snow in and around Mojave, which is around 2,700 ft.  The traffic was so thick, that many of the times the traffic stopped was under the snow line.  The longest stop we had was just beyond the point of this picture...and in an hour we moved maybe 1/10th of a mile.

Most of the traveling was slow and easy.  There were a few times that the snow made the roadway very narrow, and some idiots who did not watch how they drove, got stuck in the snow along the side of the road.  Don't know how many times people took advantage of a wide, clear shoulder to pass not one, but many many many trucks and cars when traffic was backed up or going to slow for their liking.  And those times we were backed up, many fools got out of their vehicles and stood between their cars and the barrier between the east and west bound lanes.  One guy went up to the car in front of him, and did not realize everyone was moving and he stood there talking long enough that two vehicles  behind him got into the right lane and moved past him.  If only we knew what to do about stupid drivers....

The fresh snow sure made for a scenic drive...about the only good thing about the entire drive.

Tomorrow we should get to Phoenix...


  1. No no no!!! I'm NOT driving in THAT!! Good grief my engine would probably overheat going so slow up that steep hill. People are idiots and I wish the CHP would copy down license plate numbers and send them HUGE tickets. I'm not leaving for another week or so, so hopefully I'll be okay. It IS gorgeous, but not worth the frustration.

    1. I pray and hope that when you need to go over that all this 'stuff' is gone and that you have a wonderful trip. And YES, the CHP could make a mint if they monitored the highways that are in distress better than they do.

  2. We've been stopped completely for Three Hours and traveled slow but not that slow. This Winter weather is affecting everyone's travel.
    Be Safe!

    It's about time.

    1. This was our longest slowdown to date. Just could not believe that it would take so long...and we were one of the first out of this full RV park where many were going over this same pass. I am sure some waited another day.

  3. I'm glad that you didn't get stuck in the snow on the 26th and could stop at Bakersfield. That must have been a real mess when they closed the road.
    We stayed at the Flying J in Tehachapi on our way back to Arizona - cold! Almost as much snow on the wind turbine hill as in your photo but luckily for us no traffic jams.

    1. I thought about stopping in Tehachapie or Mojave, but going on to Barstow was the right thing to do. Had it not been so cold, we would have stayed at the Idle Spurs Steakhouse in Barstow, they have a wonderful lot next to the restaurant which is good to go for any size RV. When we drove by it headed to our RV park along Old Highway 58, the lot was empty despite the restaurant being busy.


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