Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tempting the weather fates...

We are in Hawthorne, Nevada (map), in the free RV parking lot of the El Capitan casino here. After consulting the weather forecasts this morning, and doing some quick time-and-distance figuring, we elected to take the more scenic US95 route, rather than slog through Barstow and Bakersfield and blast up I-5, which is not only an Interstate, but one we have done dozens of times in our 20 years of living in California. We know, of course, that there is some chance the pass will be under chain control when we arrive there tomorrow, but we felt it was a small risk to travel our preferred route. Also, we are ahead of schedule, and can wait in Boomtown all the way till Sunday if need be, and the pass is rarely restricted for 48 hours straight, especially in April.

Speaking of ahead of schedule, my route planning had us arriving in Gridley sometime Saturday afternoon. Our training starts Monday morning, so that gave us one full day buffer. Between yesterday and today, we made such good headway that we are now within a day's drive of our final destination. In part, this is due to the way Delorme Street Atlas figures time -- it consistently overestimates our speeds in the east, and underestimates them in the west. Fine with us, though, since an extra day of buffer makes the Donner Pass crap-shoot more palatable.

We've heard the restaurant here is good, so we are heading in to dinner in a few minutes. Tomorrow we will continue north from here on US95. We've already done the stretch of US50 from Fallon to Fernley, so I am thinking of taking US95A instead, through Yerrington.

We have two sets of friends in Reno, but we will be there mid-day, and we want to make the pass before the next storm hits, so we will drive straight through without stopping. We'll have to catch them on our next trip through.

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