It's still fall, but in the mountain passes, it's already winter



Posted on November 21, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 21 at 6:41 PM

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. - This is looking like one of the earliest seasons on Snoqualmie Pass in more than 15 years, and people are already on the road for Thanksgiving.

Bob Leitz is a trucker from Sequim.  He was really hoping to beat the traffic with an earlier start Monday morning. He's got a big with a load of insulation to drop off.

“I’ve got two drops in Yakima, one in Kennewick, one in Richland, one in College Town, one in Hermiston, one in Ontario and three in Boise,” he said.

There are lot of loads stuck in a big backup.

He's hoping to get back to Sequim by Thanksgiving.

What makes this trip tolerable.? Mimi, his dog.   But if the weather stays like it has been, Leitz and Mimi will be sharing a turkey sandwich.

Also stuck in the backup was the Shelton Family from Dallas, Texas.  They're on the road for Thanksgiving.

“We are on our way for Grand Coulee, to visit her aunt. My wife is from this area,” said Frank Shelton.

But this trip had a little foreshadowing. On the plane they watched National Lampoons Christmas vacation.

“And there's a scene where he flies off the road into the snow while getting their Christmas tree, this is exactly what it looked like. We don't want to re-enact that,” said Frank.

The Department of Transportation was expecting 8 new inches Monday, that brings the snow total for this early season up to three feet.

The Sheltons are back driving a relative's car across the pass, planning to make lots of visits for a holiday season that's proving to be memorable.

“We now know why Lewis and Clark went back home,” said Frank.

Monday night IS the first official night of avalanche season.  DOT avalanche control teams will head out in the wee hours of Tuesday morning to start clearing avalanche chutes over the highway.