Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

The Weather Reminder

Yesterday was both neat and wearing. Driving southwest down route 35 across Kansas just happened to take place while a cold weather front was moving in. A 25+ MPH wind shifted from south to north-northwest and all points in between during the course of the day before it finally weakened over the last couple of hours in New Mexico. But that still left plenty of nudging the steering wheel while cutting across the Oklahoma Panhandle and Texas. Calculated mileage spent much of its time at 9.0 MPG in the direct headwind, while only in New Mexico did the day’s average limp up to 10.5, all while holding a steady 65 MPH. I didn’t really need the onboard calculator to tell me I’d need to keep an eye on the fuel gauge, since the turbo boost gauge was into hill-climbing readings just to hold speed on the flats. It was a reminder to me that for all our technology, we’re still very much subject to forces much greater than our own.

The part of Kansas I was in was dormant farmland, and tumbleweeds were flopping across the pavement everywhere. What I thought was interesting was that when the wind shifted and increased, the highway was suddenly inundated with them. For about a minute, they resembled a vast herd of jackrabbits crossing the road ahead of me, right to left, half-obscuring the pavement. The speed limit was generally 65 MPH, though that bumped to 75 in Texas even though the pavement was in poorer shape.

I wound up in Moriarty, New Mexico, which is actually a sizable town. The Sunset Motel, built in 1959, has become my haven of rest while I’m here. You’d think it would be in disrepair, but it’s in impeccable shape. It’s kind of odd to find an old motel where money has been poured back into it. This one has that New Mexico standard of tan stucco with brown trim, the roof completely done over in a kind of pastel light green metal. The only reminder of its 1950s origins is what seems to be a bent plywood chair in my room. All other furniture, wall and floor surfaces have been updated as needed by wear.

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Today, I face a bit of the unknown. The area around Flagstaff, Arizona has had a snowstorm move through, with more snow and lower temperatures than if I cut across the right angle and head for Payson. The route to Payson shows plenty of wiggles, suggesting that it’s working its way through mountains. I’ll make a start of it once I get to that highway, and see what the maintenance crews have done to get to pavement.

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8 thoughts on “The Weather Reminder

  1. Everyone I know in AZ is saying sit tight for another day because it’s an unholy mess.

  2. We ventured out yesterday from Yuma to Joshua Tree, CA. We got buffeted around pretty well. But the wind was nothing compared to the hour and half we spent in an I-10 traffic jamb. Fortunately we eventually got to our exit but the jamb went on for as far as the eye could see. Then due to the delay it was mountain driving after dark. But we made it and and I’d do it all again to get out of a city campground infested with massive condos on wheels. Plenty chilly though, 35 at night. I had to pry open the wallet and splurge on a portable propane heater. It was either that or head south this morning and I really want to get a good dose of high desert.

  3. Love the roaming herds of tumble weed, memorable image. Depending upon several variables, we might cross paths later in the week. If not then, possibly in a month or two, when I circle back around. Happy trails, best of luck.

    • Thank you, Dawn. Assuming the roads where I am clear of snow/ice, I should hit my RV park in Wellton tomorrow and then survey the wreckage that is the Defiant. I’ll email you my number so you have the option to call on a flyby.

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