Ratha (papertygre) wrote,

The drive down.

Finished the drive from Seattle to Santa Barbara today. We planned it over 5 days with stops at 2 ski resorts. Damien drove the whole way because I'm inexperienced at driving manual, and he thought I might forget to clutch when braking on the highway. We packed his little coupe with 3 bags for each of us (suitcase, backpack, and ski clothes), ski boots, skis and poles, tire chains, some food, our desktop computers (sealed in XXL ziploc bags and concealed under a blanket), and a bundle of cat supplies (bed, food, litter, catnip). Damien didn't think we could fit it all but I unleashed my mad tetris skillz. On the drive, I used the cell modem on my laptop to navigate in real time, research and book accommodations, etc.

Day 1, Seattle to Timberline Lodge, OR. Should have been 227 miles (4 hours) but since I-5 was closed between Seattle and Portland due to flooding last Monday, we had to detour through Yakima, adding 3 hours. Got in after midnight.

Day 2, Thursday, skiing at Timberline. Overcast and snowing lightly; although limited lifts and runs were open because of early season, it was not crowded and the conditions for skiing were great. We stayed at the Lodge the night before and after, which is an awesome place and only a little expensive. The resort as a whole seemed very pleasant and well-run - I wish it were easier to get there.

Day 3, Friday, driving from Timberline to Lake Tahoe, 11 hours. Left at 9:30 AM, arrived at 8:30 PM (not bad time, given that this included driving breaks). Google Maps sent us along some pretty gnarly back roads, which was probably more direct but also slower and more uncertain of cell signal.

Day 4, Saturday, skiing at Heavenly. I picked this resort out of the large number of options there because it appeared to be the largest one. We stayed at the Blue Lake Inn, which was cheap and close to the gondola, but pretty eh in quality. On the mountain, it was foggy and snowing. Visibility was OK but got steadily worse over time. This is apparently unusual; the standard for Tahoe area skiing is "bluebird days," we were told. Not many trails or lifts were open since there wasn't a lot of coverage yet. And it was COLD! But the snow was silky soft under our skis. The slopes were also really crowded, since it was, coincidentally, the first day of the season to have fresh natural snow. The people we met were friendly - on the lifts we talked to folks from as close as the north side of the lake, to as far away as Bordeaux, France. We got a late start, getting off the gondola around 11:30, but by 3:00 (almost closing time) we had skied all the runs multiple times and were losing feeling in our fingers and toes, so we were ready to quit.

Day 5, Sunday, drive from Tahoe to Santa Barbara. 8 hours, 10 AM to 6:30 PM. We stopped at a little coffee shop on the way in Avila Beach - "Joe Mama" - because I was curious to try coffee from a Clover machine (not bad).

Rather than drive with our cat, we checked him in to the Airpet Hotel on our way out, and booked him on the Monday morning non-stop flight from Seattle to SBA through Alaska Airlines Animal Express (the Airpet Hotel people said they could drive him over for the flight). I thought this would be the least traumatic way for him to travel, and considering (a) how full the car was, (b) how pressed for time we were to get all the driving and skiing done, and (c) the uncertainty of lodging when you are traveling with a pet, driving with him would probably have been traumatic for us as well.

It was a crazy idea to combine skiing and moving, but we managed to do it, which is satisfying. And now we are only a little tired and a little achy/bruised.
Tags: skiing, travel
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