Spring in Albuquerque
Tuesday, March 24
We are working our way across Interstate 40. And I mean WORKING. Poor John has been fighting steady 20 to 30 mile an hour cross winds with a 40 mile an hour blast about every three miles since yesterday around noon. Our trip out of L.A. went well and the drive across from Flagstaff through New Mexico was gorgeous and uneventful. We started out yesterday in Tucumcari, New Mexico after spending the night listening to the wind howl and shake Mary every five minutes. It wasn't a terribly restful night. When we hit the highway yesterday we had a strong tail wind making our morning drive a pleasant one and as an added bonus it upped our mileage by about a half mile per gallon. That gain was wiped out as fast as our retirement fund was when the stock market tanked. He battled to keep Mary on the road into Oklahoma City where we fueled up at Flying J. I haven't been to the grocery store since before we left Scottsdale mostly because I stocked up on a lot of things and while we were in Los Angeles we ate out every night but one. When we stop at KOA's we normally aren't close to a grocery store so by yesterday we had been out of sweet stuff for two days. EEEKKKK! So when we stopped at Flying J I made a run on the convenience store coming back with a bag full of peanut M&M's, wintergreen Live Savers and a small container of vanilla ice cream. The girl at the checkout had a funny smile on her face when I paid for our loot. Binge eater, sugar-holic or pot smoker...I'm not sure what she was thinking but I was happy Kamper (the KOA spelling of the word) as I leaned into the wind on my way back to Mary. I so love the wind. NOT.
We resumed our battle across Oklahoma in the sticky wind. Oklahoma has earned the top spot on my least favorite states list due to the fact that every time we have been through there the wind has been blowing at hurricane speeds, or it has been pouring down rain, or it has been so hot and sticky that you couldn't breathe. It is a pretty state but the weather really sucks.
At one point I touched John's shoulders and they felt like granite. Catching 45,000 pounds of motor coach once a minute was taking its toll. Our original plan was to make two very long days of driving and get home tonight. Ha! By the time we had gone 10 miles outside of Oklahoma City John said, "Please get on the internet and find us a spot to stop as soon as possible. I've had all of this that I want for one day." Well we ended up on Checotah, Oklahoma a fair amount of miles from Oklahoma City. At one point traffic stopped and John started fiddling with the CB radio to figure out what was happening. All he got was static (either it hasn't worked well since we got it or we haven't worked it well since we got it). He hung it up in disgust and said, "Probably a motor coach blown over on it's side." I kept quiet. We sat there for ten minutes giving him a bit of a rest and then traffic moved again. It turned out to be a pickup with a broken axle in the left lane. As we neared Checotah I looked up and saw something in the road. We were on concrete highway and out of traffic so I had a little time to see it before we rolled over it. It looked like a really long (like 3 feet long) strip of something, like trash, that stuck to the road and was being whipped around by the wind. As we passed over it John said, "That was a snake that someone ran over and was flopping around." He was tired and I was too so I resisted telling him that I was fine with my own interpretation of what I saw. Gross.
So we pulled off the road and eased into the Checotah KOA. It was a cool little country KOA and the people who ran it were very creative. Had the wind not been blowing at F-5 speeds I would have gotten some photos of some of the cute things that they did. Breezy and Ransom had been so patient all day but their little motors were wound tight so we tightened up our hats and took the mile long nature walk to the lake and back. At one point Ransom, who I have to keep on the leash because he is a total wild man if I turn him loose and it takes forever to catch him, cut loose with Breezy who was off the leash and they ran full tilt, chasing in a 16 foot circle around me until I was dizzy. They have been their usual wonderful selves during this entire trip. It is challenging for them sometimes because we don't always have the best place to exercise them. They ran and Breezy would pounce on Ransom, they would roll together and Ransom would pop up and run flat out challenging Breezy to catch him. He is faster than she is so it would take a few trips around before she would jig and he would jog and they would roll together in a furry ball and then Ransom would pop up and take off again. We both laughed until we cried. Finally worn down a bit we blew back to the coach for a light dinner and some ice cream!
Wednesday, March 25
I got distracted. Sorry. We are in Kentucky at the moment on the Bluegrass Parkway nearly home! As it turned out our day yesterday was spent being beat around on the highway by the same winds that we had on Monday. We managed to slide between two weather fronts first thing yesterday morning so we avoided rain. Come to think of it with the exception of today we avoided rain for the entire three plus weeks that we were on the road. Today we are testing the new neo-dome over the shower that John and Tim installed while we were in Scottsdale. John spent half of one day on the phone tracking one down. He finally got to the manufacturer of the dome. The nice man Dave said that the factory didn't sell to individuals and gave John some numbers to try. None of them worked. He called back and told Dave that none of them worked. He said, "Dave, please sell me a neo-dome." Dave said okay and shipped one by FedEx overnight. John and Tim got on the roof and spent some sweaty time in the sun securing the dome and we said some prayers for dry weather until the caulk was able to set up. They were answered and Mary is as good as new again! She has been a trooper through some terrible Interstate highways .The only casualties for her are a missing hubcap and another trip to the shop for wheel balancing. Interstate 10 and Interstate 40 and all of the Interstate systems in California are desperate for help so hopefully some of the stimulus money will find its way to our decaying Interstate system. We encountered a ton of truck traffic which seemed to both of us to be a good sign that the economy might be struggling back to life.
We spent our last night on the road in another KOA an hour south of Nashville. It was a little one in the trees by I-65. We had dinner and got to bed early so we could get up and get on the road home. John turned on the air conditioning in the front of Mary to keep us cool but mostly to drown out the truck noise on the Interstate. Today the wind is down and it is raining but we are so happy to be back in Kentucky that we don't care!
I put together a business blog for John that will have lots of photos of our horses once we get home and settled. I'll keep a calendar updated on our travels on it as well. The address is http://www.saddlebredsales.wordpress.com/ if you want to check it out. This blog thing is pretty cool!
Ransom looking in on his winter vacation
That's it for this trip. I think we may head down to the J.D. Massey show next month and John is judging River Ridge so we will be taking the dogs and heading for Columbus at the end of the month.