January 2nd started well enough. I slept in at my son’s house up in Alameda and then enjoyed a tasty Mexican style brunch at La Penca Azul (formerly La Piñata). We hit the road for Los Angeles at 11:30 am. I knew there was a chance the Grapevine would be closed, but in all the years I’ve made the trip, I’ve never had it close on me. My luck ran out yesterday. The Highway Patrol closed the Grapevine because of snow sometime after I left Santa Nella. The I-5 grew more and more congested as we drove south. I cut over to the 101 via the 198 in driving rain and then took some crazy washed-out mountain road over the coastal mountains only to find the 101 a parking lot for next 150 miles. We finally arrived home at 9:30 pm.
We did not have the worst of it. The northbound lanes of the 101 were bumper-to-bumper for 175 miles starting in Ventura. I’m surprised somebody did not go postal. I spoke with one man at a gas station in Lompoc. He said he was 12 hours into what should be a 4 hour trip and still had a good 4 hours to go. He looked tired and confused.
I was aided by my GPS for most of the way, but I wanted to chuck it out the window at one point as it was stuck displaying “4 hours to destination” for at least three hours. At least we were entertained by the audio book Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry, so the slow trip was not a complete loss.