Snoqualmie Pass & My Experince of Traveling It One Winter
Category : James' Random Travel Stories
Have you ever traveled Snoqualmie Pass in Washington in the winter? Well here is my story of one of my trips over the pass.
I was working in Seattle for a communications company during the winter of 1999 – 2000 time frame and being from Northern Idaho I tried to go home and visit my family often on the weekends.
One Friday after work I decided it was time to jump in the truck and head over to see my parents. As I left work early that day so as to be able to get in early that night I began my trip over the pass. The drive over to Northern Idaho was a breeze as the roads had been bare and dry.
After spending a great weekend with my parents at their house and sitting out in the drive way and enjoying the aurora borealis that visited the region that weekend it was time to head back to Seattle for yet another long work week.
Snoqualmie Pass & The Trip Back Over
I stayed as long as I could on Sunday and obviously a little to long with what was I ended up being faced with later on my trip back over the pass.
As I traveled I-90 the roads had been fairly dry until I reached Ellensburg, Washington. With the temperatures dropping and knowing that I do not like to stop on top of the Snoqualmie Pass for fuel I decided to stop in the small town of Cle elum, Washington to top off the tank.
Winter Driving Conditions
Upon leaving the gas station and getting on the ramp to enter I-90 my began to roll up my driver’s side window. My truck had those crank up style windows not those power push button kind and lo and behold the darn thing came off the track and fell down into the door.
So what was I going to do? I had to pull over and try to get the window back on its track so that I could roll it up. As I attempted to put the window back on its track in extremely cold temperature the window shattered in my hands. Great now what!! With it being 12:30 in the morning and having to be at work at 08:00 and knowing I only hand an hour and a half to go to Seattle I guess I will through on my heavy jacket, stocking cap and insulated gloves and get over the pass as quickly as I can. Thank goodness over the years I have learned to always keep emergency gear and clothes in my vehicle especially during the winter months on long drives.
With my warm clothing on it was now time to make sure my dog was going to be comfortable for the next hour and a half drive. Even thou my dog was a Siberian Husky and he most likely would be OK I still wanted to give him the best comfort I could at the time. I got into the rest of my emergency gear and pulled out two heavy blankets and created a warm bed for him in the back seat. With my dog taken care of now it was time to get back onto the I-90 and head for the top of Snoqualmie Pass.
After about 30 miles traffic began to get unusually heavier for this time of morning. I had to start slowing down and soon was forced to come to a complete stop. After sitting in the middle of the HWY for 30 min and not knowing what was going on I finally found out that they were doing avalanche control and had blown snow over the road way.
After an hour of sitting there I heard over the radio that it could be up to three hours before the road was open back up. With my heater on high and bundled up I was still getting rather cold. Do I try to turn around to Cle elum and find a hotel or not was the next question. But how was I going to get turned around I was stuck between two exits and the snow was piled deep between the east and west bound lanes. Well before I figure out how to turn around I should see if I can even find a hotel room that was available.
Go figure no hotel rooms even available for the next 100 miles back behind me. Well no reason to try to figure out how to turn around now, I guess I am in for a long cold night until they open the roads back up.
It sure is a good thing I topped off the fuel tank before attempting to go over the pass. Now not wanting to hold up traffic if it starts moving I knew I could not doze off and catch some z’s. Heck even if I wanted to it was way to cold out to be even able to get to sleep.
Several hours later now being 07:30 the traffic finally started to move. Cold and tired I traveled as quickly as I could to get off of Snoqualmie Pass.
Now late for work; I had no time to go home first. I pulled into work around 09:00 and reported to my boss. I told him what had happened and confirmed that I was clear to take the day off so that I could tend to my dog and get some sleep.
Wow what a drive…. Just so you know always keep plenty of emergency gear in your vehicles, especially during the winter months. You never know when you might need them. Specially if you ever drive over mountain passes like Snoqualmie Pass.
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