Friday, February 08, 2008

Us vs. the Snow

I haven't written a blog entry in a while, and I wanted to write a post about Xobni stuff and how we're moving the company into 3rd gear. We're still working really hard on adding new cool stuff and fixing bugs, but that doesn't feel like news. Instead, here's a photo story about how we got snowed in two weekends ago.

We started driving to Tahoe pretty late on a Friday night, and thus got stuck in traffic and rain on the Bay Bridge. It rained so hard that on the lower floor of the bridge, rain was coming in sideways and traffic came slowed to a crawl. The car was a rented Zipcar Honda Element, packed full with snowboards, skis, Tyler, the L, the M, and myself.

By the time we got to Folsom, we were feeling pretty good about our progress and decided to stop by the local Applebee's for a hearty meal. Tyler and L are pictured with cheap Margaritas below.

It's always useful to chat up the locals at these places and I told a woman that we're driving to South Lake Tahoe. She screamed "You need to have snowchains! If you don't have them, they won't let you go past Placerville. If you don't have chains, you're gonna die!"

It was 10:45 pm. The Walmart in Folsom, we're told, closes at 11:00 pm. Ignoring every speed limit, we raced to the store, and arrived there with 5 minutes left to go. The sales associate found snowchains that would almost fit, and proposed we should also buy bungie cords to make sure they don't fall off. Sketchy, but our only option. We felt well prepared.

One and a half hours later, we arrive in South Lake Tahoe. The road was barely even icy. No snowchains needed! What a waste, we think. We meet up with my Swiss friends from Google: Markus, Sandra, Robin, and Marius. We sleep.

The next day of snowboarding is awesome! Great weather and good views. Here's the lake and Tyler with his disintegrating parka (It was 10 years old and was continually shedding little pieces of itself during the entire trip):

And this is the rest of the team – unorganized:

And organized:

At the end of the day, Markus decides to jump in the lake! But at first we can't find the way there. Robin almost falls into the covered pool, though.

And here he is. Markus and the lake. Brrrr.

The next morning, we wake up and everything is covered in snow!

Little did we know that the snow wasn't kidding. By 2 pm that day, there's a snowstorm on the mountain, Heavenly is closing lifts, and we're stuck on the wrong side of the mountain where Tyler has to pick us up.

Suddenly, our Walmart adventure 2 days earlier doesn't seem that stupid after all. The snowchain mounting operation begins.

Instead of trying to climb up 50, we decide to drive up to I-80, where we have a better chance of getting home the same day. But a few miles outside of Kings Beach, the police shuts down 267, and we wait 2 hours for it to reopen. While we're waiting, the Honda's battery dies, but a friendly overprepared Russian gives us a jump. I-80 is closed as well due to zero visibility, so M books us a place at the Best Western. I negotiate the price down by $20 (I tried hard!).

The morning after: 3 more feet (1m) of snow! Here's M wiping the snow off the hood.

Four hours and more sliding later, we arrive in San Francisco, half a day of vacation poorer, but one adventure richer!

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