We packed up the soaked tent in the rain and left Yosemite. Stopped at the gate on the way out and asked the ranger the best route to Tahoe. He directed us to the campground office where we were told that the Tioga Pass as well as the Sonora Pass were closed so our rt would be 120 to 49 to 88 to 89 to 50. I wrote it down carefully, questioning time involved with each leg. Good enough, let's get out of this rain. It was gone by the time we got out of the park. It was a great ride through some cute little gold rush towns. We traveled through Calaveras County, passing the sign to Mark Twain's cabin where he must of wrote his "The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County". And sure enough, further on up in the town of Angels Camp there was a festival coming up. No school on the 14th and 15th, the banner said it was Frog Day recess. Further along we came into Bonanza country! That's right! And my residing expert tells me that the Cartwrights spoke of Silver city, Virginia City and Carson City, all of which were close by. And don't you know, I may have seen Hoss and Little Joe riding up over that little hill amongst the scrubb oaks! It was really like you were on the set for a filming of the show! It was all lovely. Then we got to Jefferson which was about where you turned onto 88 from 49. The ranger had given me an 800 number to call and make sure 88 and 89 were still open. The recording said it was so we headed on down 88. Perhaps the first wave of alarm crossed my mind at the large flashing amber sign reading "Caution. Drive slowly. Carry Chains." We did start to see flurries shortly after that and the snow on the sides of the road and trees got thicker. It was pretty but evening was coming on. We went over the crest and there they were! Two gigantic snowplows and a Highway Patrol, lights flashing, all parked on the side of the road like they were having a pow-wow. We pulled up and asked if we could get through. The snowplow guy replied, "Yeah, but go slow". I think at that point we had 11 miles to go to 89 which was close to civilization. It got worse before it got better. My husband reassured me though, telling me this wasn't Donner Pass and we did have plenty of food in the back! Sick puppy. We stopped at a vista (with a bathroom thank goodness) and conferred with a guy towing a trailer as we both eyeballed the downward sloping road ahead through a veil of falling snow. I told Jeff that surely this was the worst of it or they would have closed the road for sure! Driving in low gear we inched down and around. No guardrail to protect you off to the right, we saw a spot where somebody had slid off the road but was able to get back on after a bit of a struggle. Things let up shortly and soon stopped. Yes. From sunny California to a snowstorm in the high sierras, we're all into the contrasts!