It started out with Jon finding us a killer deal on a Bigfoot RV.  I had heard of bigfoot campers and knew they were top of the line, but I'd never heard of the bigfoot RVs.  The reason we drove all the way to Reno was for the bigfoot quality, E450 chassis, and the 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel.

We left on December 16th 2010 with a rental car (Kia Borrego Suv, <- nice car!) to head up to Reno.  We had some rain up to the riverside area, but the 395 was sunny and beautiful!  Baby Shelley was taking a nice nap in the first picture and that is Lake Topaz (north of mammoth) in the second picture.


We made it to Reno in about 10 hours and we checked out the RV and then spend the night in it while in the guys driveway.  We knew the storm was coming so we wanted to get on the road ASAP.  When I woke up at 7am there was an inch of snow on the ground.  We went for coffee, and there was a car in the ditch.  On the way back from coffee there was a different car in that same ditch.  Just because you have 4wd doesn't mean you can stop and turn!  We planned on driving up the tracks we made in the guys driveway, but in the 30 minutes we were gone, they were gone too with another inch of snow!  Damn.  We shoveled the snow off the rest of the driveway, but it was a lost cause.


The bank we needed to go to was about 15 miles away.  It took us over 2 hours to drive there and back.  The freeway (80) was covered in snow!  All the big rigs had chains on 3 axles!  We bought some chains for the rental car ($90! but they fit the vic now:), and brought the chains I had from the truck camper because the tires were the same size.  Good thing I didn't cheap out and buy some weak chains for a rig this big!  I got the double dually chains with welded cross links.  They weigh 80 lbs.  We put the chains on in the guys driveway while he snow blowed the rest of the driveway for us (about 6" deep now).  My first test drive was 30 miles over Donner Pass with chains on!  This is the 80E



The plan was to make it to Santa Barbara and stay with my aunt and uncle (Anderson's), but we didn't make it that far.  We stopped for dinner at Texas Roadhouse Grill (good stuff!) and after about 8+ hours on the road we found a walmart and crashed out.

We were still at least 6 hours from Santa Barbara, but I think it took us 8 hours with all the rain.  It was dumping like crazy! There was about 1" of water on the road and the rain was dumping buckets. Had to slow down to 40mph when it was really pouring and blowing. We hit a couple 6"+ deep puddles and shot water everywhere!  I love when people cut me off with 0.5" of water on the road! 


We made it to the Anderson's awesome house and had a great time hanging out with the family!  How can you beat cool people, great food, and keg beer?

After we left we had a windshield wiper fly off.  We stopped to remove the wiper arm and continue our trip, but Jon noticed a flat on the inside dually.  We pulled off the freeway and change the tire in the rain.  Good thing I had my tyvec suit (for putting chains on) and the awning was on the right side! (I still got soaked and ruined the suit so I picked up a heavy duty vinyl suit for this stuff in the future)

As we rolled into San Diego we had our first drive on dry pavement!! It wasn't totally dry, but the tire tracks were dry.  This was getting onto 805S and then it started raining again!  As we got onto the 805 Jon called us from the chase vehicle to let us know the hatch was open.  It had torn out the screws (bad design on this one hatch) but we rigged it up with a shoelace.

The trip totals were

 ~$500 in gas / diesel
~1400 miles on the rental car
~750 miles on the RV
~28 hrs total driving time

Here are some quotes I stole off the internet.

For the period from Friday through midday on Monday, Bakersfield had accumulated 3.79” of rain. That is 5 times the normal amount for an entire December and represents 58% of a normal year’s rainfall. In fact, for the water year which runs from July 1st through June 30th our total now sits at 5.59” which is a staggering 86% of the average annual rainfall. Normally by this date we would have seen only 24% of the average yearly total.


Truly, this has been one for the record books, a once in a hundred years event. Sunday was the 4th heaviest daily rainfall of all time. Records go back 121 years to 1889. We have witnessed the most rainfall ever to have fallen in the month of December. Flooding has touched many lives in Kern County. While the Meadows Field rainfall numbers are quite impressive, central California from the San Joaquin Valley to the mountains have generally received between 4 and 13 inches of rain. In the mountains up to 9 new feet of snow has fallen. Just as the big valley snow of late January 1999 was in the minds of many years later, this wet storm system will be remembered and told to our grandchildren for decades to come.


Mammoth Mountain has the Most Snow in the world!!

Tahoe is close behind!


Since Friday, the storm total has hit up to 15 feet, and Mammoth got about 32 inches of snow in the past  24 hours. It’s expected to get 1-2 feet more today. The base is up to 16 feet.

Locally, Snow Summit is closed again Tuesday, but Bear Mountain is open. The front roads are closed, so take the back way on Highway 38.  Mountain High also closed again today, but it’s expected to open tomorrow. All local resorts reporting new snowfall.

Here’s a list of places with the most snow around the world on

Top                   Base
1. USA: Mammoth                                                   488 cm             325 cm
2. Italy: Ghiacciaio Presena – Adamello Ski                420 cm            320 cm
3. USA Alpine Meadows  (Tahoe)                              368 cm            198 cm
4. Italy Pejo                                                               360 cm             80 cm
5. USA Squaw Valley USA   (Tahoe)                         325 cm             325 cm

6. USA Northstar at Tahoe                                        320 cm             201 cm

7. USA Homewood   (Tahoe)                                               318 cm              203 cm
8. USA Sierra at Tahoe                                              307 cm               119 cm
9. USA Donner Ski Ranch                                         305 cm               122 cm

10. Italy Arabba Marmolada                                      300 cm                 40 cm


When we got back into San Diego there was flooding everywhere!  Some say it was a 100yr storm.