1/18/2013, I-5 near Merced, CA: Chelan Traveler is traveling again! We’re two days out of home and stopped for the night at a modest conglomeration of gas stations, restaurants and a motel along Interstate 5 in California’s Central Valley.

The big news to us is that it’s warm down here. We were freezing in Washington and Oregon the last two days. The temperature in Ephrata when we left Thursday morning was 23F. It stayed below freezing all the way to Portland where it briefly rose into the low 40s and then dropped again into the low 30s and we drove south.

When we picked up our trailer from storage in Entiat it had a foot of compacted snow on the roof. I say snow but it had thawed and re-frozen several times and was closer to ice than snow. That made for about 150 cubic feet of ice on the roof of the trailer which I estimate weighed over 1000 lbs. Mary and I guessed it would melt away by central Oregon. We were off by about 500 miles. There was still about two inches of slush on the roof when we got to Redding, CA this morning although the temperature had risen quickly when we descended from the Siskiyou Pass and had reached the low 60s at Redding.

My fear was that the iceberg up there would start “calving” as we roared down the highway and a sizable chunk would take out a Honda Civic or Geo Metro bringing up the rear. I don’t think that happened but how would I know since I can’t see behind the trailer that well.

We stopped at Redding for refueling but the sunshine and warmth felt so good we pulled into a vacant lot for lunch and lounged awhile. Across the way a hippie couple in a motorhome were trying top scrounge gas money from passing motorists. In a motorhome! I couldn’t decide whether to yell out the window as we drove by “Get a job!” or “Get a Geo Metro!”

We expect to make Death Valley tomorrow afternoon. The plan is to do some hiking and biking. Here’s hoping for warm weather and sunshine.

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