Thursday, June 21, 2012
Over Donner Pass to California
We left Sparks, NV and headed over I-80 toward San Francisco. To get there, we have to cross Donner Pass, famous for the Donner Party that was stranded in the winter of 1846 causing almost half the 81 people to perish. Fortunately, the weather was great when we crossed and the Cummins 400hp Diesel made the climb with ease.
The first "super highway" over these mountains was built by the Central Pacific Railroad who finally crossed the mountain in 1868. Heavy snow was a huge problem and constantly blocked the rail line, so the railroad built a series of snowsheds, which are essentially wooden tunnels for the trains to run through. Much to Rick's joy, there are still a number of the sheds in use, which can be seen in the distance on the side of the mountain.