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An Eventful Thanksgiving - Wednesday, December 4, 2019
As usual, Priscilla and I visited LA for the Thanksgiving holiday. But unlike the previous few times when we went down, this time we drove instead of flying. Not having the Southwest Companion Pass this year was part of that decision.

We departed the Bay Area on Thanksgiving Day at 6:30am, hoping to beat most of the traffic. However, we found out halfway down I-5 that the highway was closed at the Grapevine mountain pass due to snow. We were previously made aware that this might happen, but I possibly didn't check traffic conditions the morning of and thought that any snow would've thawed by the time we got down there, and furthermore, Google Maps wasn't reporting the closure. When we saw highway signs indicating the closure, we started looking for detours. I thought that taking SR-58 through Bakersfield was the next best option. Google Maps was reporting that route as closed, but I couldn't find any information from Caltrans online for that route, so I decided that we should chance it and head that way anyway. That turned out to be a mistake, since we shortly after did see a road sign warning of SR-58's closure.

So we headed back to I-5 and hopped on SR-166 going west, hoping to take SR-33 south to get across the mountains. Alas, SR-33 was closed due to snow as well. So we ended up taking SR-166 all the way to the 101, and then the 101 down the rest of the way, encountering traffic jams along the way in Santa Barbara. Altogether, a 5-hour drive turned into 9.5 hours. Had we stayed on the 101 the whole time, the drive would've been closer to 6 hours. Next time if it's raining up in the Bay Area and is expected to be cold around the Grapevine, then we'll play it safe and stay on the 101.

Our time down in LA was eventful as well. We had Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house with them and Aaron and Lauren's family. Priscilla's parents didn't join us, since they didn't want us driving on the highway at night in the rain in order to go pick them up. So instead we saw them the next day, bringing them lots of leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner that my mom packed for us, and stayed at their condo for two nights. The first night at the condo, the ceiling above the kitchen started dripping water. We thought it might be due to the rain, but when the rain stopped, the dripping continued and then got worse. Priscilla's parents got the upstairs neighbors to agree to let us shut off the water (shared by both units) before everybody went to bed, and that stopped the dripping. Fortunately, the condo plumber/handyman was able to come the next day and found the issue to be a leaking fitting on the wall-mounted electric water heater for the upstairs unit. Replacing the fitting fixed the leak, and it looks like there shouldn't be much long-term damage to our unit.

On Sunday, Priscilla and I attended the second service at CCAC. Coincidentally, this was the last service ever at the Northridge location, as CCAC is moving to a new location in Granada Hills. Looks like that site used to be occupied by St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, and the buildings there are a good size. After the service, the pastors for the three congregations prayed, and we all took a church photo in the sanctuary, which was difficult because people were spilling out into the foyer. This was definitely a bittersweet moment for CCAC, but I'm excited to see how they will continue growing.

The rest of our time down in LA was more normal. It was good spending time with family and friends. And the drive back up on Monday took around 6 hours, with some extra time added due to a traffic jam on the 152 caused by a vehicle being on the side of the road. It was pouring rain at that time, of course.

December weather is fun.
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