East Coast Snow to West Coast Snow!
Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
10Trip End Mar 05, 2010
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So we spent the time cooking and eating.... recipe swaps! Zuffri drove Mahani and I around to show us the rest of Washington in the snow - cars buries deep in drifts of snow outside houses.
People shovelling snow from outside their homes, and TV warnings about heart attacks from too much shovelling. And the muffled silence that descends over a busy city buried under a thick blanket of snow. There just weren't enough snow ploughs to clear minor roads.
I managed to get the last seat, right at the back of the plane, on the last flight out of Washington to San Francisco. And very lucky that one of the Embassy drivers could get out of his snow-bound house to get me to the airport.
I was met by friends Gail and Ausaf at the airport in San Francisco. Gail and I met up two years ago in Singapore, but I hadn't seen Ausaf for 20 years - and it all seemed like yesterday. They took me back to their home in Fremont , south of San Francisco and we got online to book a train ticket to Truckee where my son Kenji could pick me up. He's living and working as a snowboard instructor at Lake Tahoe. Three hours time difference between Washington and California - so got off to bed ready for an early start.
American trains are impressive in size and noise. They plough across the country like stately ocean liners.... but they don't go far! My train was bound for Sacramento, but only after about an hour we disembarked at Suisan and were bussed to Sacramento, and then boarded anther bus to Truckee. Work on the line - just like our trains in the UK on a Sunday.
The bus climbed higher and higher into the mountains, and the pine trees alongside the road grew thicker and thicker.Suddenly there was snow, and gondolas swaying up the mountains on either side. Six hours after leaving the train station at Fremont ,Kenji was waiting for me in Truckee in his battered old Jeep- looking very healthy and tanned after a winter working at North Star resort.
We went back to the house he shared with three other snow sport instructors. The inside was totally woody - floor to ceiling - felt like living in a log cabin! The outside looked like wooden clapboarding - but closer inspection revealed it was some sort of plastic fake wood boarding. Even expensive houses in Washington seemed to be made of prefabricated material! But they feel so solid and cosy.From Kenji's house there were views of the Lake from the front and views up the snowy mountain behind.Beware of bears when you put out your rubbish!
Kenji was able to take a couple of days off while I was there so we breakfasted in a diner
( delicious blueberry pancake for me!) and drove around the lake.
The road narrowed and crept along the steep side of the mountain - we could have been in Switzerland. Kenji knows I have an aversion to hurtling downhill out of control - so he didn't make me go uphill with a snowboard!
There were snow ploughs all over the place and the roads were all clear - they could have done with some of those in Washington!
The next day we drove back to Fremont - it took 3 1/2 hours. Ausaf had cooked some wonderful curries , and the first two re-union friends had arrived. Kath from London and Kathy from Singapore. Still waiting for Jane from Australia and Gill from Switzerland.Kenji hung around for the seafood lunch at Half Moon Bay the next day - but then had to get back to Tahoe as this is Presidents' Week and a big holiday so he'll be working everyday - so time off!