And the road goes on forever...

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Running From the Storm

Updating our exit from the west, Marc had to fly back to work when we returned from the coast, so I stayed another week with my family. On my mom’s 91st birthday, a Monday, I took off with much sadness early, headed for Jerome, ID. Marc was leaving at the same time from Yuma, driving his big Dodge and a utility trailer which had been parked on our lot. We planned to meet up the next evening in Rock Springs, WY. My first night’s stay is highly recommended—the fairgrounds in Jerome, ID, $10/night for water, electric and paved parking all overseen by the 24-hour staffed National Guard office! I felt entirely safe staying there by myself!
I chose what I call the back route into WY, going through Pocatello and on into WY via Hwy. 30 which means you bypass the mess around Salt Lake City entirely. Much of it is extremely remote with few small towns. The portion in WY now carries fairly heavy truck traffic due to all the gas wells in the area but it’s still a breeze in comparison. I arrived at the Walmart in Rock Springs around 3:30 and was joined by Marc about 5, so not bad timing match-up given the distance. We could feel the wind building that night.
Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated drastically the following day with even nastier winds. By noon we were stuck in a Laramie truck stop with howling winds rocking and rolling my little trailer. I-80 was closed to light, high-profile vehicles and even though it calmed some (from 60 mph to 35 mph) by 4 p.m. we choose to just stay put. The weather forecast was looking dire: a blizzard was on its way. So, we danced our way across the rest of WY, NE, and IA barely staying one step ahead. We fought fierce winds the entire time, which was a struggle. Our final night was spent at the Iowa 80 truck stop, famous as being the world’s largest, even with its own truckers museum, on I-80 about a hundred miles from where it intersects I-39, our northward highway into WI. Wind was still bad our last morning and snow was called for, we only hoped it would hold off till evening when we would be in.
Alas, that wasn’t to be. We did make it through Madison with just rain and about a hundred miles from home before the temps started dropping and snow piled up along the freeway, then on the freeway. We only spotted one snowplow working the highway and it was clearing the fast lane. I jumped into that lane, but it was still a packed, slushy mess and there was too much traffic to stay there. Even though the Chevy has four wheel drive the tires are not the best for snow driving and with no chains for the trailer I was feeling every slide in the four inches coating the road. After a white-knuckle hour, I pulled off at a gas station on our connecting highway and told Marc I’d had enough. He unhitched the trailer which we left parked there and I drove the Chevy solo home. He turned around and went back with the Chevy to haul the RV in for me. Overall, this blizzard was record-setting for our area, dumping 28 inches of snow with heavy winds. We sat out the next two days unwinding and marveling at the April winter wonderland. This first picture caught Marc just arriving back with the trailer a total mucky road mess just before the blizzard really hits here. Even after a week we have about 4-5 inches on the ground.
The cats were elated to be home, as were we. Marc said how nice it felt to be here. Given the depth of the snow there wasn’t really a lot he could do this past week even though we are now enjoying sunny and mild days in the 50’s. He did get tired of trying to repair our old lawn mower so went out and bought us a new riding Troy Bilt. Cha-ching!
So, another summer in WI is about to start. Lots of projects (painting, refinishing furniture, yard work, building sunroom) and some entertainment as well. I will once again be in charge of organizing and arranging the humane society rummage sale in July and our daughter will be coming out mid-August, so we can go camping and exploring the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior. Marc will visit every six weeks instead of every four but will get more time when he is here. It’s good to be back and after the harrowing drive here I wish I never had to do it again. One of these days I swear I will say “That’s it. Been there, done that, not going back.” There is no reason to really; I love it where we are!