Monday, March 31, 2008

March goes out like a lion!

Lion-like is the best way to describe the March weather on my travels the past several days. I had been invited to preach at the Pacific UU Fellowship in Astoria, Oregon, one of my favorite extra gigs, on March 30 and expected the weekend to be mild and springy, but no such luck!

Instead, I left the island Thursday in a stormy gale, traveled to Portland to stay with friends through squally stormlets down I-5, scraped snow off my windshield to do errands and visit my aunt on Friday, and watched the weather reports with trepidation on Saturday, the day I was to cross the Coast Range to Manzanita, where other friends lived. Sunday I would be going north to Astoria in the morning to preach and then heading home via I-5 again.

The Coast Range is one of those deceptively low sets of mountains which are treacherous when the temperature is at freezing, whether there's snow in the air or not. Moisture in the pavement rises to the surface at night and freezes, forming black ice. And if there is snow falling, it can create a skating rink of packed-down slushy ice.

There are two or three routes to the North Coast from Portland, all of them treacherous in bad weather, but I chose the least-ominous sounding route (US 30) even though it was miles farther to Manzanita that way, and drove through intermittent squalls and snow showers but missed any terrible slick spots, and got to Manzanita at mid-afternoon Saturday.

It snowed again Saturday night and I crept north to Astoria on US 101 to get to PUUF in time to preach, with no mishaps. Coming home after the service I had to drive through several blinding rain and hailstorms. But traffic was fairly light and I was home before dark.

I love preaching at other churches! I enjoy finding out what they're doing, how they organize their worship, their social hour, the bulletins on their walls, their projects, all that stuff. And I love seeing the familiar faces when I return again and again. I think I've preached at PUUF seven or eight times over the years, so their leadership is familiar to me, I enjoy seeing their maturation and optimism, and since they don't currently have a minister, I fill that role for a few hours.

But this weather! I've heard that global warming causes chaotic weather, not just a rise in temperature. And it's a La Nina year, I think, as well. We'll surely be glad when it settles down.


michiganme said...

I'm from Michigan, but in the late 70's I moved to Oregon and stayed about 10 years. I love the Northwest. When you mentioned Manzanita, it brought back so many memories of driving over to the coast and stopping at Nehalem & Manzanita. I used to walk the beaches there and collect whole sand dollars - the beauty just took my breath away. I enjoy your blog very much. - ME

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, ME. It is truly a lovely part of the world. I hope I can live there someday. And thanks for your kind words.

Mile High Pixie said...

Glad you got to get out and see the world a bit. I've been watching "Ax Men" on History Channel about the loggers near Astoria, OR, and I think about you (yes, I know you're in Washington, but it's close, right?). The storms they seem to have on that show look brutal, what with the rain, lightning, and wind.

And blessings on you for fighting through such awful driving conditions. One thing I like about Denver's weather is that we rarely get the black ice. It snowed here on Saturday night and sleeted on us yesterday evening. March in Denver goes out like a madman. It's 70! It's 30! It's sunny! It's snowing! Pass the Prozac!

ms. kitty said...

Nice to hear from you, Pixie! I saw a little of Axe Men too and was struck by the similarity of the weather conditions we were all fighting!

Denver's weather is crazy sometimes. I remember that every warm winter day was always followed by a good snowstorm. We learned to batten down the hatches when a chinook came through!