Transition up down and north

We were high enough and north enough getting up in Winnemucca that we had heavy frost on the vehicle. Fortunately, the sun fast-melted it.

Out of town northbound the road was dry (and it was all day—yay!), although we could see relatively fresh snow above, and sometimes melt-rotted snow nearer the road.

Whoops! What’s this? A hand-made sign: 5mph. Ah, and cattle. I’m calling it transhumance. I think the shepherd was trying to get the cattle to cross the road.

I think the humans were off to the right trying to relocate the herd to a pasture across the road. It didn’t help that the gates were not totally opposite, so they had “sweetened the pot” by putting little piles of alfalfa along the desired route. I think it probably worked well after we were gone.

Driver Spouse eased along and finally parted the herd. Most of them moved back to the right. I stared them down. Oooooh.

Miles later, the which peak is it game began. We knew the order: the Three Sisters, Mt Hood, then across the Columbia, Mt Adams, and somewhere between Mt St Helens. We weren’t sure we could see that, however.

Note the sign…chain removal area. Yeah, we had to carry chains or have what I think are studded tires in order to pass through some stretches of road today. No one was out there checking, but we didn’t know if they would be, so this morning before we left Winnemucca we became the proud owners of a set of tire chains. They’re expensive! We’re very much hoping we can take them back to a different store, unopened, and get a refund. Fingers crossed.

The kindly (?!) DOT had anticipated the which-peak problem, and installed labeled arrows. Of this pair, Hood is left and Adams is right. You can see a slice of Adams and nothing of Hood at this time/angle.

We continued north and had to loop several hairpin turns down to cross the Deschutes. The Deschutes is a lovely river, and the town of Maupin seems busy, with an active railway and even a grain elevator.

As with the previous photo, note how green the slopes are, now that we’ve descended oh so far.

Crappy moving photo, but, look, there’s the Columbia!

Ah, yes, a darned big river…Lewis and Clark and their fellow travelers passed by here.

And the meta-message of the moment is: we made it north to the Columbia before the storm hit. There will be snow on higher elevations on roads to the coast south of us, not just in California, but also in Oregon. The snow has already started, but many elevations are getting “just” rain. By the time we head to the coast in two days, we should be just fine. Yay. We could have been hosed getting to the coast, but our friends we’re going to see on the coast warned us in time, and we made a bee-line north from Pahrump, staying far enough east of the mountains that we could sneak through. Rain is coming tonight, as well as frozen stuff some places that we came through. That’s why I noted above: we had all dry roads today.

Great Basin tales

Here’s a cheerful bit of embodied history embellishing the courtyard outside our room this morning.

Our first major stop was Zabriskie Point. It’s likely you’ve seen it in fashion shoots or a movie. I was there.

I liked this formation the best. I call it Black Cap.

Art by MotherNachur took a different turn as we proceeded northward in the Great Basin. When a cloud is touching the ground, it means (usually) precipitation. If it’s cold enough, well, you get my drift.

Oh, let me interject a photo of mountains not created by MotherNachur. According to my info, this is from an adjacent big hole in the ground made by a gold-mining company.

Austin Pass on US-50. We were so happy the roads were wet and not snowy or icy. Full speed ahead!

And we were even happier to see snow on the summits far above us, and pleasant temps in the valley where we are now. This has been quite a day for zooming through the Great Basin; it’s endorheic, and has no natural drainage outlets. And it’s huge. And relatively unpeopled.

I’m not sure how to read this in any detail, but those blobs over northern California are what we are avoiding by swinging inland and north, to, ultimately, access the Oregon coast from the north. Those blobs mean heavy precip, and at elevations it means snow, and that area has many relatively high passes on the roads out to the coast. Our Nevada legs have worked perfectly (despite a bit of graupel and a few wet flakes); we hope our luck continues in Oregon.

Graupel (not a Texas town)

We found a scenic vista view spot in central…well, base of the panhandle of Texas. Afterward, we drove and drove on plateau flattishness.

We didn’t intend to visit the stockyards in Clovis, New Mexico, but all of a sudden we were there. Fortunately, there were no sales today, and no hustle bustle, and no bawling and 💩

I took this shot out the side window toward the north, after we had left the flat flat flat and were approaching the pass that would take us through to Albuquerque in the Río Grande valley.

This is the snow we could see ahead of us…although this is further along where it was densest. Temps were above freezing, so no worries; the pavement was too warm to become icy.

Stepping out of a Tex-Mex (more or less) family restaurant after we ate, we could see the Sandia Crest (just north of the gap the interstate that we arrived on came through), with snow on the ground and snow clouds above.

The weather reports this evening featured many discussions of locations receiving graupel (we caught some graupel on the windshield at times). Tomorrow should be…interesting.

Big Muddy

Great River

The south-flowing Great River of south-central North America in all its springtime glory. At least it looks like it may be swollen by seasonal runoff.

So far

Looks like the azaleas might make it through the cold snap(s). More below freezing temps coming in the wee hours tonight (too). This is sunset, today. [A local meteorologist suggested that March may be colder on average than February this year…yikes.]

Rhodo relative, in white

Weather watch post again…our primary azalea display is on the cusp of full-on extravaganza, yet we are expecting six hours of below-freezing temps just before sun-warmth arrives tomorrow. Fingers crossed endurance triumphs.

Our trees are all upright

We waited and waited for today’s excitement. Wind blasted us before the front came through with rain, wind and more wind. This was the height of it at 5:22pm. We are glad the excitement has left us with merely regular Friday evening delights. [Probably the fifth White Lotus of season one.]

Change over time

Today. No precip, and no skyscraper tops.

In contrast: this was yesterday. The long view….

And, back to Monday, here’s another clue as to the bench removal from another bench in the same park. This suggests that the wooden slats are failing (rotten), and that’s why benches were removed. However, why not take this bench, too? Was the truck full? Were they out of replacement slots? The mystery continues.

Is it still winter? Here, I mean

The weather’s split today. We have warm, and the north (my former home and summer home) has vicious cold and wind and snow snow snow and snow and ice.

BTW, this is one of the few palms (or palm-like plants) I’ve seen that didn’t get zapped to total brown by our three-days-below-freezing bout earlier this winter.


I saw the pre-dawn light was…nice…special…and snapped this. Later in the morning, the light…dimmed, with grey cloud-cover…followed by…rain. By late afternoon, light returned. Yay!