The day started off great. The studded tires on the Volvo provided excellent traction going up the mountain to Hoodoo, and though we didn't get first tracks on opening day, the snow was about the best I've ever seen. However, there is too much of a good thing. Deep dry powder is the ultimate, of course, so long as you have enough slope to keep you moving through it. God help you if you slow down and get stuck for whatever reason, that's when you start to wallow in the snow and in your self pity. We had at least 30" of fresh powder off the groomed trails and floating through that stuff at a high rate of speed is like nothing else in the world. There was a secret stash that it seems no one else could find and we shredded it several times before it got mostly tracked up. We met up with old bros and had a grand ol time.
As the day wound down and we headed home, however, is when the bogosity set in. After narrowly making the turnoff for highway 20 (to Lebanon & Corvallis) the car decided to call it quits a little ways from Tombstone Pass. We managed to get the car turned around (without getting t-boned) and coasted back to Lost Prairie Camp. Popping the clutch doesn't work. That's when the great waiting happened. We were fortunate to have one bar on my cell phone so we called for assistance. H, (J's girlfriend) arranged for a tow and we got a call from the truck driver, Mike, saying he'd be there in an hour. So, in high spirits we settled in and tried to stay warm. Sending good thoughts to Mike. 2 1/2 hours later, we're wondering where the hell is this dude. So we finally called and it turns out the road had gotten the better of Mike. He had turned around and given up. At this point we're laughing and joking but feeling a small amount of panic. WTF!! So another round of phone calls (meanwhile of course the phone battery is rapidly dying) and another tow truck (Lloyd) is summoned. and the waiting continues. Meanwhile, it has been snowing continously and passing traffic is getting rather scarce. J pulled out his bag of extra clothes, I try to melt snow in my mug for water and we hunker down for what could be a bad night. Trying to convince ourselves of Lloyd's superior driving skills, we started dozing off.
After about 5 hours (total) of sitting in the cold car waiting and wondering, Lloyd finally made it! hallelujah. We made it to J's by 1:30am and I made it home by 2. and I was so happy and thankful to be home and safe.
Lesson learned: next time you go to the snowy mountains, prepare to get stuck and more than likely you won't. And for heaven's sake, take some extra water, wherever you go, cause beer is no substitute.