Wednesday, May 15, 2013

a snow story

I want to tell you a story...

It seems Nathan and I have a thing for unexpected adventures, and I was reminded of one that I thought you might enjoy.

When Raiden was born, Nathan was still in the Coast Guard and we were living in Astoria, Oregon (if you've never been there, you should visit. I would love to go back some day!). We had gone back to Arkansas so she would be born there, though, so when she was about 2 or 3 weeks old we headed back across country in the Santa Fe--two brand new parents who had no idea what they were doing, one tiny baby girl who didn't know to be scared, and two giant dogs, one of whom was not cut out for travel.

My mom thinks you can never be too prepared, so before we headed out she made sure we had about a million baby blankets in the car with us. She wanted to send a candle because she had seen a show that talked about a family getting stuck in their car in a blizzard and apparently a single candle is enough to keep you warm in that situation. I laughed it off and hugged my parents bye, promising to call each night when we stopped.

We were quite a sight, I imagine:
Here's one of the giants, Thor. He spent the majority of the trip right there next to Raiden's car seat, usually with his chin resting on the side so he could look at her. Drizzt, the other giant, is in the very back of this picture. If you look hard enough you can get a glimpse of hips--he was the nervous traveler. Below is a picture of him with Raiden a few months later, just to give you an idea of the size of this puppy.

When I say nervous, I don't just mean that he was whimpering a little bit or anything like that. No, apparently car travel made him sick to his stomach. Yup, we had a Great Dane with diarrhea riding in the vehicle with us all the way from Arkansas to the Oregon coast.

Just about as fun as it sounds.

Still, even with all the chaos this suggests, we couldn't just take the shortest, most direct route. We're travelers and we wanted to take the back roads, to see the sites! We had driven straight through on our way down because for that trip I was 9 months pregnant and the dogs were in crates in the back of my pickup.

There were amazing things along the way, though our stop in Vegas made me incredibly nervous. I'm not one for big cities with lots of people, and Las Vegas was insanely full of people! I waited in the car in a parking garage while Nathan went into a couple of the casinos to get some playing cards just to show we'd been there, and I called my mom because the parking garage scared me...

We got to see places like this:



And it was pretty incredible. We weren't satisfied with that, though, and when we reached the Sierra Nevada mountains we decided to take a tiny little road that went up over the top.

Right after Christmas. In winter.
On a road clearly marked as a snowmobile route--that just happened to have not gotten closed off that year for some reason.

It was a beautiful road on the way up the mountain. But then we hit the top, and just as we reached the point where we would start back down the other side, we hit the snow.

LOTS of snow.

We were stuck, two new parents, one tiny baby girl, and two giant dogs.

Nobody lived on the road (probably due to the fact that they would have gotten stuck each winter), so there wasn't a house close by. And of course there was no cell phone reception there, so we had no way to call for help. Nathan decided to walk down to find help. I didn't want him going alone, so he said he would take one of the dogs. The Dane was all legs at the time and incredibly clumsy, so I could just see both of them tumbling down the mountain. Besides, if he was going to be walking at night--yes, it was already nearing sunset at the time--I wanted to know he had some sort of protection, so he took the Rottweiler. I was left with the newborn and the dog with the nervous stomach, sitting in a Santa Fe stuck in the snow on top of the mountain.

He was gone for hours, and it was cold and getting colder. I pulled Raiden up into the front with me, but I had to tuck her in and get out with the dog periodically so he could go to the bathroom. I just knew she was going to be too cold, so I piled a bunch of the blankets on top of us. When Raiden started fussing a little while later, I checked on her and the poor baby was sweating!

It was dark by the time Nathan got back to the car. He had waked down the mountain and found a man who came back to help, but they got stuck on their way back to the Santa Fe.

Yeah.

We ended up spending the night on the mountain, but the next morning finally got pulled out. On our way back down we checked the distance from where we had been stuck to where Nathan had walked--13 miles.

As soon as we got back into cell range my phone started beeping, telling me I had missed calls and voicemails. My mom had worried about us all night when she hadn't gotten a call saying we had stopped for the night. When I called her back that next morning, you can be sure she mentioned to me how good it had been for her to make us put all those blankets in the car!

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~Mandy