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.
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.