Shootin' Steel in Yakima (Moxee, really....)
the weather was looking a bit iffy, but it looked like there was a couple of windows of opportunity to get back and forth across Snoqualmie Pass so I could get to the steel match in Moxee, which is about 12 miles east of Yakima. this would also be a very good test for the motor in my Honda Civic. You may remember from a previous post that the last time I went to Yakima for a steel match it ended up taking me over 13 hours to get home due to blown radiator hoses and a blown head gasket in the Honda.
Since that time I have rebuilt the top of the engine including installing a different cylinder head. I had only driven it around locally so this would be the first chance to push the engine really hard and see if it would stand up. before departing, I swapped a set of snow tires and wheels onto the Honda since there was a good likelihood of seeing some snow, ice, slush, or other slippery road conditions, particularly on the way back.
I hit the road Friday morning, and the weather conditions looked good. A little bit foggy, a little bit misty, but otherwise good considering the time of year. the roads were bare and dry all the way across the mountain pass and to Yakima. The little Honda ran beautifully, and I pushed it pretty hard at times just to make sure it was going to stand up.
I met up with Larry at the range on Friday afternoon and gave him a hand getting everything set up for Saturday's match. after setup, Larry and I headed back to Yakima for some dinner, and then back to his place in Selah for a good nights sleep.
during the night we had some periods of fairly heavy rain, and once or twice it was hitting the roof hard enough that it woke me up. The next morning the rain had stopped, mostly, and the sky was gray and cloudy. We drove out to the range, got signed in for the match and picked up our score sheets, sorted out our gear, and headed down to Bay One for the Shooters meeting. by 10 AM the clouds were starting to break up but the wind was starting to come up. The weather forecast was for it to improve until approximately 1 PM, and then the wind was going to start blowing fairly hard. The forecast for Snoqualmie Pass was for the weather to steadily get worse through the afternoon with wind, sleet, and wet snow. Yuck!
The match in itself was lots of fun, with Larry and I battling back-and-forth from stage to stage for the whole day. By the end of the match we knew it was close, but neither one of us had any idea who had the fastest score.
As soon as the match was over, I jumped into the Honda and headed home. The sooner I could get across the mountain pass the better it would be, as the weather was clearly going to be terrible later in the day. As I neared the pass and we gained elevation it started raining and then raining and wet snow began to fall. As I neared the summit weather conditions continued to decline, and the gusty winds were blowing me all over the road. As I got even closer to the summit there was perhaps an inch or so of wet snow on the road and snowplow trucks were busy trying to keep the snow off of the road surface. Being on a slippery surface in a light car with gusty winds blowing you around can be interesting, to say the least! Just past the summit I saw one car that had spun out on the slippery road and had gone backwards into the guardrail. The amount of damage to the car did not appear to be major so I don't think there were any injuries, thank goodness!
10 or 15 miles west of the summit and at a much lower elevation the weather changed from snow to rain and then to no rain at all with dry roads. The rest of the drive home was gusty and windy but dry. When I got back onto Whidbey Island I could see that a fairly significant windstorm had hit the area, as there were trees, tree limbs, and pine and for needles all over the sides of the roads. On the Southern-most part of the island the electricity was still off due to trees blowing over and knocking out the power lines.
I was definitely happy to reach home, and I certainly am glad that I did not try to come across Snoqualmie Pass any later in the day than I did.
It had been a fun weekend, had a good time at the steel match, got a chance to bug Larry as often as possible (!), and got home without any major difficulties. The little Honda had run well all weekend too, so that was a good thing also!