|2005/12/21 Kirkwood, I missed you|
π 2005-12-21 22:46 by Merlin in Snow
Well, last weekend, I was a bit busy :) and this week wasn't looking much better, but when I saw that bad weather, I was just hitching too much so I decided to drive my own sorry butt there (I usually never drive, I really hate that drive :) ). While I didn't really have the time to go, Wednesday looked like the best bet, so I got up at 05:15 (ouch), and headed out around 06:10 after refueling my car.
I did great time there (2H40) considering the school buses on the road, trucks, and other people who didn't feel like driving twice the speed limit :)
Note too self: there are too many cops on this road, even in the morning.
It did get interesting when I got closer to Kirkwood, the temperature dropped to 2 degrees C, and I had to worry about black ice. First, my car started going sideways when I was passing a truck in a straight line and a passing zone (apparently the back left wheel hit some ice). It took for some quick countersteering and dynamic stability control (i.e. fancy traction control) to kick in for the car to go straight again.
Later, I was able to use my sideways driving skills (i.e. mild powerslides) in the turns before I got to kirkwood: the road was mildly icy, and my "do not use in snow" race tires aren't really designed for this. It was a good exercise :)
I got to Kirkwood at 08:50, 10mn before opening time, so by the time I was ready, it was not too long after the first lifts were sent up. Yay!
The ski conditions were ok. The snow wasn't great (definitely not powder), but it wasn't icy either.
I stopped around lunchtime, and met my good friend but now distant coworker, N, who happened to be at kirkwood for a few days, so I took a well needed break to chat with her.
By the time I got back outside (13:00-ish), everyone was there before the lifts had just been shut down due to lightening that had just hit the mountain.
Unfortunately, they only got turned back on by 14:45, leaving for another 1H15 of snowboarding, but I made the best of it, especially as most people had bailed by then. I also used the time waiting, to work on my laptop in my car.
The drive back wasn't as fun. Not only was it pouring rain, I narrowly avoided two other cops, and then my car started saying that I had a tire failing (although it wasn't nice enough to tell me which one). Since I had hit a pothole at kirkwood, I was a bit worried. I pulled over under the rain to visually check the tires, but they looked ok.
When I started driving again, I was wondering what the odds were that my tire sensor was wrong. I knew that in my car it used the ABS sensors to measure how many rotations each tire was doing, and would detect a slow deflation since the decrease in diameter would cause that tire to turn quicker.
When I finally hit a covered gas station, I checked the pressure in each tire, but they were all good, so I just continued the drive home, and got there almost 3H40 later. This reminded me how much I don't like driving to Tahoe: 6H20 on the road for 4H of snowboarding... (and I can't even complain, a 6H20 round trip to Tahoe is not actually that bad)
But in the end, it was still worth it, at least I got to see some snow before february :)
Oh, on the way back, I found a very decorated house close to Hwy 88 and Hwy 99. This reminded me of John Steward saying "What part of god bless the USA did you not understand!!!" after the terrorist attacks...
The rest of the pictures are here