November 22, 2011

First Snow

The front windshield was completely fogged, except for a pillow sized opening in the middle of the dash.  A wipe of my forearm exposed the winding gravel road for ten seconds before closing up.   Leaning forward, I peered through the gap in the fog.  Luckily,  the road was deserted and I steered the Syncro down middle of the road.  Thick snow flakes stuck to the window, melting after a few seconds.  I turned up the wipers.

“The defroster on this thing is a real gem.” my brother said, cracking his window with the manual crank.

“Yahh yahhh, the fan nob is broken.  I gotta get it fixed.”

As we marched up the mountain in second gear,  the snow dried out and the flakes shrunk.   Narrowly avoiding  the blunt nose of my Vanagon, they flew over and out of sight in some feat of aerodynamics known to a select few in Pasadena and Cambridge.  After seven miles on the gravel road,  we pulled over on the side of the road.

“This looks like the place.”

“Have you ever been here before?”

“No but this is what it looked like on Google maps.”


We bundled up and headed out into the open field.

More so than any other weather event,  the arrival of snow  each year establishes the change of season.  Falling asleep one night in late fall , I woke up  the next morning squarely in winter to  a few inches of wet snow.  Loading into the Syncro that morning,  we headed up to the hills behind Mosier, Oregon in search of deeper snow and eager to enjoy the season’s first snow.


A dirt trail up the hill and into the clouds.

Lucy, my mom’s trusted companion. Full bred Irish Terrier, half breed pain in the ass.

Stopping to take a photo,  my mom and brother unsuspectingly walked ahead.  Four years of constant snow warfare in Maine taught me to always be vigilant.  Scraping snow off the ankle high grass,  I balled it into a lemon sized ball and waited.  I made up some of the distance between my brother and mom.  Sensing that something was wrong,  my mom’s dog spun around and barked.   My brother followed suit, catching a snowball on the nose.

Here are some more links,

Post (Picasa),

Mosier, OR (Out of Reception),

Hood River, OR (Out of Reception),

A Restless Transplant (Facebook).


  • November 22 , 2011

    what a way with words, sweet.

  • November 22 , 2011

    Thanks for the kind words Wesley.

  • November 22 , 2011

    So I barely came upon your blog and I find it totally awesome what your doing. Hopefully one day Ill be able to do the same thing.

    If you are in Arizona come say hello! Serious.

    – james

  • November 22 , 2011

    Its certainly worth doing James. I recomend it to anyone. its a blast.
    i’ll let you know when i head to arizona,

  • November 23 , 2011

    my recent travels to San Francisco has given me the undying temptation to go out and trade my car for a VW Westfalia/bus. Unfortunately, they aren’t practical here in upstate NY. They’re known to have shitty defroster systems (as you know) and my mechanic friends tell me they’re a pain in the ass to repair since the motor is packaged so tightly and out of reach. And they rust quick in this region.

    I’m living vicariously through your blog. I wish I could drop everything and travel West. I’ll be posting a bunch of bus pics to your van life blog soon :)

  • November 23 , 2011

    Depends on which van you get. My water cooled Syncro’s defroster normally kicks ass. In my wisdom, i broke the nob that controls the fan. its worth taking a leap for.


  • Elias
    November 26 , 2011

    Do people comment about the surf board when your driving in snow?

  • November 27 , 2011

    believe it or not its not the rare in this part of the states. people surf year around here. I learned to surf in maine and would run throught the snow to get into the water.