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Morning road closures make going to the snow tough, still customers flock to Julian

Posted at 7:44 PM, Feb 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-23 23:22:30-05

JULIAN, Calif. (KGTV)-- This was the first weekend San Diegans were able to enjoy the snow-packed mountains. But morning road closures made traveling uphill from San Diego difficult. By early afternoon, most road restrictions were lifted, and thousands of people made their way to the tourist towns.

To Teak Nichols, Julian is just home. But he knows it is a special place.

"It's been really magical the last few days. So I can understand why people would want to be a part of that," Nichols said.

With its old-world charm and snow-packed roofs, Julian is an escape from the daily grind.

"We wanted to get away from the city," San Diegan Sandra Aguiar said. She brought her husband's family from Tijuana to experience the allure of the small town. But she said it was not an easy ride.

"It took about an hour and 45 minutes," Aguiar said. "Then two miles from here, it was bumper to bumper."

Until 1 p.m. Saturday, California Highway Patrol officers slowed down drivers to enforce chain controls along State Route 79 at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Many parts of Sunrise Highway were also shut down due to icy conditions.

"In some parts, it was kind of scary. We were sliding a little bit," Aguiar said.

Even after they finally made it into town, the waiting continued. Aguilar's main reason for coming up the hill was to get a bite of Nichol's mother's famous dessert at Mom's Pies.

"I've tried Julian pies before, but these are the best," Aguiar said.

Nichols said it is a recipe that has been kept a secret since 1984. It is a seasonal favorite that sells out, every time it snows.

"It's gotten busier as the day has gone on," Nichols said. "Apparently, the road opened up, so we got a little bit busier after that."

Snow days may slow down traffic and clog up parking, but customers said it is all worthwhile.

"It's homemade, and it makes it better because we're with family," Aguiar said. "The ice cream was also delicious with it. I mean, it's well worth it!"

By mid-afternoon, CHP opened up SR-79 with no restrictions.