We started up IH-5 from Bakersfield, hoping to get well north of Sacramento. We wanted to make sure that we were north of the Oroville Dam, as there was concern about the dam collapsing and flooding the downstream area. The first part of the drive was up the San Joaquin Valley, which is the richest agricultural region in California.
While driving conditions were pretty good, we started to notice some flooding in adjacent fields.
We even saw flocks of Snow Geese taking advantage of the wet fields.
As we left the valley we got into beautiful rolling hills.
Before we left we'd heard that a section of IH-5 north of Sacramento was flooded and was causing delays. As we got into Sacramento the radio stations reported up to 10-mile long backups and delays of over an hour. Fun!!
We decided to keep heading north as we were really ready to be out of California!!
Sure enough, as we approached Williams, CA we came to the back of a long line of traffic. I started my stopwatch just to see how long this was going to take. Teri and I were ready for the delay. We had drinks and snacks in the truck, and were hauling our entire home behind us "just in case"!! Slowly and not-so-surely we moved up a little bit, and then sat for a while.
Many folks decided to cross the median and head back the other direction, We saw several nearly get stuck, and later we saw a few that had gotten stuck either in the median or in the soft shoulder. Eventually the traffic was about 75% semi's and RV's.
As we got closer we crossed bridges that looked like this:
THREE HOURS AND FIFTEEN MINUTES later, we arrived at the flooded area.
They were letting both lanes of the northbound traffic (us) cross, but only one lane of southbound.
The water was about 12" deep, and the flooded section was a couple of hundred yards long. I was frankly surprised that they kept it open as it was a little tricky to know where your lane was as you crossed.
We were all making some pretty good waves as we made our way across. We finally emerged onto dry pavement on the other side!
As we headed north we passed about 13 miles of stopped southbound vehicles. They had a few hours of waiting ahead of them.
Once we got rolling again we drove another 30 miles north to Orland, CA where we pulled into a campground after a very long day. It was raining and blowing when we arrived, and would continue to do so for another couple of days...
We'd really hoped to explore northern California on our way to Washington, but the weather just didn't cooperate. With continued storms and flooding forecast we just want to be somewhere else!!