Driving to and from Bakersfield, CA across the “Grapevine” portion of Interstate 5 to teach at DeVry University presents unique challenges I might not otherwise encounter on a more urban commute. It’s not your typical drive, but it is reasonably painless and free of traffic.
However, there is one factor about commuting over the “Grapevine” that has the most impact on my ability to get and return home from work: weather. It is by far more extreme than weather even just a few miles north or south. I suppose being at an elevation of 4,000 feet might have something to do with that! Weather makes or breaks my commute — often without warning.
I’ve already driven through snow once this season (and drove through it three times last year on January 23, 2008, January 24, 2008 and February 4, 2008 — each time without chains). I’ve also driven through rain, sleet, wind and ever-changing combination of these and other phenomena.
For some strange reason I don’t mind the wild weather, though that might change if I ever find myself stuck for a few days in a snow drift!
On the morning of Tuesday, January 6, 2009 I drove through some outrageously thick fog while heading north to the DeVry University center at which I teach. I often drive with my camera at the ready (either the one in my Palm Centro or my woefully inadequate but somehow trustworthy Canon PowerShot A410) and that day was no exception.
I captured the photos and video below as I made my way to work roughly between Gorman and Lebec, CA.
Notably, I also encountered a similarly thick level of fog while coming home from work the afternoon of Thursday, January 8, 2009 — heading south and heading north — so I am unsure what the rest of this winter season has in store: