Grapevine reopens after snow, ice close road

CASTAIC, Calif. The California Highway Patrol began escorting motorists through the Grapevine at about 9:15 a.m. Between 500 to 800 vehicles were being escorted at a time.

The closure was put in place at about 5:30 p.m. Monday. For people who were forced to spend a cold, long night in Castaic waiting, they were happy just to be moving again.

Most motorists said they knew Southern California was going to be hit with its first big winter storm, but they didn't think conditions would be so bad that the Grapevine would have to be closed.

"We kind of expected it. We knew what the weather was doing when we were coming down," said Lodi resident Chene Mogler.

Some motorists slept, while others cleaned, like truck driver Terry Durnil.

"What else are you going to do? It doesn't do any use to cry about. You're stuck here. You just might as well enjoy it, and do what you got to do," Durnil said. "It's like the old Army saying, 'It's not a job, it's an adventure.'"

Brook Lloyd of San Diego was dressed in shorts in the chilly weather, caught off-guard by the Grapevine closure.

"The weather wasn't as cold as it is up here. Didn't think I'd be stranded on the side of the road," Lloyd said.

Ruth Oporta, on the other hand, said she was loving the cold weather.

"I'm from Miami, and I love the cold and the snow, and it's beautiful," she said.

The population of Castaic exploded as truckers and others had to park it for the night.

"I got here right when they shut it down last night," said trucker Darryl Sasek. "I was only a couple miles down the road when they shut it down."

"I've been sitting here since 6:30 last night," said stranded driver Marcus Irving. "So has everybody else in this parking lot. We're all becoming friends now."

By sunrise, the line of vehicles waiting to head north stretched for miles. On surrounding surface streets, commuters familiar with an iced-over Grapevine knew all they could do was wait it out.

"You live in Castaic, you get used to it, a couple times a year, you just deal with it," said motorist Lori Whikler. "I already called the school, I already called my work, so it's no problem."

By daybreak, there was very little movement as people just waited, making the necessary calls to let others know they're running late.

"Well, I waited. I was supposed to go to work at 7:30 this morning, but I waited a little bit because I had to make sure the roads coming down Lake Hughes wasn't bad," said motorist Patty Robitaille. "So they expect me to be late."

Early Tuesday afternoon, traffic was flowing smoothly in both directions of Interstate 5.

California Highway Patrol reported no problems were anticipated for when temperatures drop again Tuesday night.

The snow-capped peaks made for spectacular scenery from Gorman to Frazier Park Tuesday.

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