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Thread: Why we skipped class......

  1. #1

    Why we skipped class......

    Saturday morning the wife and I departed early to drive to Spokane's WoodCraft store for a scroll saw class. While the weather was good here in the valley, once we crested the valley wall, things changed. We elected to go northbound on US-195 as on a normal day and weather, that drive cuts about 30-40 minutes off the trip. 8 miles north, the weather turned horrible. Snow with later reported winds of 35mph and gusts into the 50+mph. Whiteout conditions prevailed.

    North of the farming community of Colton,WA in whiteout conditions we drove into a cutbank where momentarily there was improved visibility. There sat a pickup off the road, off the shoulder, passenger side front wheel suspended over the edge resting on air over a ditch. A school bus had stopped, a truck behind him and the bus driver and the driver of the offroaded pickup were talking. As we left the windbreak of the cutbank, I had a bad feeling and turned on my emergency flashers. The SUV following me did the same. Some 400 yards ahead a southbound caravan of 5 cars and pickups were followed by a semi.

    We drove another 4 miles, discussed the next 95 miles of this and turned around and headed south on US-195 towards our home in Lewiston. Using a cell phone, the wife called WoodCraft and explained we wouldn't be there for the class.We hadn't gone far in the continuing whiteout when in my rearview mirror, I saw an ambulance with emergency lights flashing. I pulled over onto the shoulder while two ambulances and two fire department rescue trucks passed us. A couple miles south just short of the aforementioned cutbank, we were waved off the road and told to wait. There were 5 cars there too. Then another fire dept rescue truck arrived, 3 Washitngton State troopers in cars and a sheriff's department cruiser. This was on the north side of the accident. We don't know what was happening on the south side.

    After 1 1/2 hours, a fireman came back, informed us that we were to follow a rescue truck back north to Pullman, Wa as the highway would be closed for several more hours. He confirmed that the school bus, the trucks and the 5 vehicles were involved in the accident. The semi driver was able to stop without getting involved. An ambulance departed then the rescue truck with lights flashing led us away.

    At Pullman, we turned east and drove to Moscow, Id where we picked up US-95 and drove the 30 miles home.The next day it was reported that though the bus had a driver, a teacher and 12 students on it and was involved in the accident, nobody aboard was hurt. Of the 7 cars and pickups involved, one couple with minor injuries were taken by ambulance to the Pullman hospital, treated and released.If we had been 30-60 seconds later, we could have been involved as the fireman said there were vehicles all over the place in that cutbank area.We skipped class but not because we wanted to do so.

    In 30 years living in Idaho, elk hunting in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho, skiing hard in Washington, Idaho and Montana, this is the first time weather kept us from doing what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. I can handle ice and deep snow. "0" visibility is a different matter, however.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 02-28-2012 at 05:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Glad you all are OK and that there were only minor injuries in what could have been a large scale disaster. There will be time for class later.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Glad to hear you guys had such great timing and that no one was seriously hurt!
    Being from Canada, I know all about white-out conditions, you cannot explain it to someone who has not been in it, in a car your world just ends on the other side of the windshield! I've been in conditions where I could not the the front edge of the hood of my truck! The weather can be very humbling!

    Again, glad you are safe!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    another seasoned snow man, and driving in the stuff always demands being alert, and listening to your instinks can save you.. glad it worked out well for you and the rest involved
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Timing is everything. I'm glad yours was good!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Glad you got thru that one unscathed!

    We had a similar situation near here last Saturday. Near the intersection of I-79 and I-80 in western Pennsylvania (about thirty miles form here) there was a whiteout condition that caused multi-car accidents on both interstates. One involved about 35 vehicles, and the other one, on I-79, involved over fifty vehicles. Three people were killed in that one. Both highways were closed for over twelve hours, and as of yesterday afternoon, there were still smashed up vehicles alongside I-79 waiting to be towed away.

    That particular area is notorious for bad weather, but that's the worst it's been in years. Witnesses said the whiteout happened so suddenly that they were fully involved within it in a matter of seconds, and had no chance to pull off or avoid it.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Glad you escaped with only the loss of time and the class. Whiteout driving in a cutbank put my grandparents in the hospital for weeks.

  8. #8
    BTW....the fine folks at the Spokane WoodCraft refunded our tuition. I will remain a loyal customer of that store!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    I have heard the term, "Class Act." Yours was a, "Classless Act."

    Sorry. I just had to say that.

    Glad you are OK; however probably tired and stressed.


    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim C Bradley View Post
    I have heard the term, "Class Act." Yours was a, "Classless Act."

    Sorry. I just had to say that.

    Glad you are OK; however probably tired and stressed.


    JimB about being humbled........

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