Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The new extreme sport: Roadtripping with infant twins

Having just returned from a 2000 mile roundtrip roadtrip to California with the twins, I think I might have found a new extreme sport: Roadtripping with infant twins. We survived, it wasn't pretty but we made it work. All told, we spent roughly 36 hours in the car with our two 14 month old twin girls.

We had many people question our sanity prior to our departure. And as our launch neared, I won't lie I too was having second thoughts. Should we have bought those plane tickets? Too late buddy you are locked in. So we prepared and then we prepared. The packing process alone was a major logistical production. You would have thought we were driving to Tierra del Fuego or some shit. No conveniences were spared and the list was checked twice. You can never have too many snacks or distractions for 14 month old kids. A dvd was plugged in center stage in the back seat. Bags of toys overflowed on the floorboards. Sunshades dressed the windows. And we even had a emergency bottle of Benedryl if the shit really got out of hand.

We shot out of Missoula like a rocket across Western Montana. The roads proved to be in good condition once we got to Butte. Hitting the gas heavy, we entered Idaho over Monida pass and decended on upon the wastelands of southern Idaho. Runs of 2 to 3 hours were common before having to pull over to fuel up and change diapers. This is where extreme baby roadtripping really hit home. Not wanting to risk a run in with a grizzly trucker mama at the Truck stops we opted to do our dirty work in the Highlander. Diapers were changed in the vehicle. It went something like this: Pull in to the gas pump, I get out and drop the fossil fuel in the tank. Meanwhile T tries to pacify the babies as they freak out. Once fueled, we park and began the process. She removes one infant from the carseat and changes her in the front seat. I go inside and replentish the hotwater in the thermos for the bottles and grab a few RedBulls. As I get back into the car T passes one of the babies to me. The baby then gets some mock driving lessons at the wheel. T grabs the second twin and changes her diaper. After completed, twin #2 gets some drive time at the wheel. Followed by some general tomfoolery in the front seats as they turn on every light and switch in the car. Hasty bottles of whole milk are made up and the babies are strapped back in.

As we rolled down the highway, T was often required to perform extreme acrobatic manuevers to quiet the babies. Frequent reaches to the backseat to shove snacks into their face, pick up dropped/huck toys, change the DVD from Care Bears to Baby Einstein and delivering more Cheerios (which usually ended up in a pile near the carseat). As T did this I often practiced my Zen-blockouteverything attitude. Screams of terror rolled off my back like water off a duck. Okay, maybe I had to turn up the XM a few times to drown out the magnified shrills of delight.

Once we landed in California things settled down and we had a great time with the family. We chilled by the fire and watched our 4 kids (all under the age of 3) run amuck. We had a great day at Sugar Bowl, enjoying 14" of some cold Cali blower snow.

On the return trip, things didn't go as smoothly road condition wise. Halfway across Nevada we ran into snow and continued to drive in blizzard like conditions for the next 5 hours. The forementioned "screams of delight" did not help matters as I tried to navigate the skating rink of a road. Upon reaching Elko, NV at 10 pm, snow was coming down heavy. Little P had been crying off and on for the last hour. A debate ensued between the driver and navigator about stopping there. The driver argued that he felt fresh and if we could just quiet the wee one in the back we could push on for a few more hour and get in front of the storm, eliminating a few more hours from tomorrow's drive. A steamy bottle was delivered and all was quiet.

It was gambling time, I checked road conditions and hotel vacancies in Jackpot, NV, it was a go. I had a 50/50 chance of winning this hand. If I lost it meant listening to a screaming baby or possibly 2 for the next 2 hours as we delicately drove at 50 in a snowstorm. We gingerly pulled out of Elko and headed out on Hwy. 93. At the end of the night I won this major hand and cashed out with a good nights rest at Cacus Petes casino in Jackpot.

The final day: We awoke to huge flakes falling and 4 new inches out on the road. Like roadie veterans we loaded and went. A few gas station lattes and we were off toward Idaho. Snow quickly turned to sleet as we pulled into Twin Falls. A greasy breakfast at Perkins meant some break time for the twins. Food was thrown about and we hit the interstate. This is when things got interesting. Soon we were entering a full on ground blizzard. Drifting snow encroached on the highway like an advancing desert. Sustained winds of 40-50 mph pushed snow across the road and slowed our travel to 10 mph and visiblity to 50 feet. Luckily that only lasted for about an hour. But during that time we saw at least 30 cars and trucks off the road. Many of them had rolled and gone into the median. All the while, the Highlander with its new beefy snowtires did not slip once.

The last leg of the journey went well and we were relieved as we pulled into Missoula. We even busted out the emergency lollipops that we had forgot about.

***DISCLAIMER: Some of this is embelished and exagerated, but not all of it. It was a great trip but I might wait a few months before I'd do it again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hunting season 2008

Freezer's are full with lots of good meat. Here are a few pics from some of the animals that buddies scored this year. If you want to the whole album, click here for the Gallery. Until next year, now we can focus on the white stuff.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Well BELOW ZERO in Missoula

Just as forecasted, the Arctic beast rolled into western Montana Friday night. Saturday morning I peeked out the window to find white stuff in the front yard and its about time. It came in quick & dumped most of the snow (in the valley anyway) in the wee hours of the night. I think we probably got 3-4 inches here at the house, but with a ton of wind.

Snowbowl announced on Saturday that they were shooting for a nooner opening with 10 new inches up top. Reports varied from good to too damn cold. At any rate the base sounds like its building up top, with only Lavelle running. But the good news is apparently Paradise is passable. No skiing for me yesterday, I was stuck at work.

The top of Point Six is posting up some brutally cold numbers and when I say brutal I mean it. This stuff makes me shiver. From the Point Six weather station it shows that it has got down to 28 BELOW Zero sometime last night around 1030pm.

Currently its sitting at -25F with an average of 35 mph. If you are wondering just how cold that might feel to your precious little skin take a look at this Wind Chill chart. With that current wind and temp you would feeling like it was MINUS 65F. That means bare skin would have frostbite 5 minutes.

The snow should be sticking around for awhile. Temps are looking at -12 tonight, 0F on Monday, 8F on Tuesday and 10F on Wednesday. Wooot. Woot. We'll definitely have to remember this storm in the backcountry for a while as I'm sure the slabs and loading are setting up something fierce.