Friday, March 08, 2013
With a mindful eye on the weather forecase, we decided to leave a day early in order to avoid a predicted snowfall in Flagstaff. That part of our plan worked perfectly.
As we headed toward Flagstaff we began to pick up some snow but most of it was in the higher elevations.
We made the junction to I 40 with ease and soon the mountains were in the rear view mirror.
New Mexico's high plains red rocks were now etched on the horizon.
We stopped that evening just past Albuquerque with the thought that we were out front of the weather. At Tucumcari we headed off on the diagonal cut-off that goes through a little piece of Texas and the Oklahoma panhandle into Kansas. At that point the world started to turn whiter. The wind picked up, the clouds closed in, and soon we were struggling to see the road in a nasty mix of swirly snow and freezing rain. We crept into Meade, KS about 2:30 in the afternoon. The Moon Mist Motel appeared out of the fog and we decided that we had lost the race with the storm. It wasn't fancy but the heat, the TV, and the WI FI worked. So we hunkered down. As the day wore on even the truck traffic dwindled to a few ice covered bravehearts. When the behemoths get off the road, it's time for the mere mortals to give up as well. That evening we found out that the restaurant in the truck stop across the road had closed because their evening shift couldn't get into town. More proof that we had made the wise decision. That left the Pizza Hut as the only restaurant open in town, but it could have been a whole lot worse. We spent a pleasant hour and a half there and had a nice chat with a local guy who was a WWII vet and had been a school bus driver for 22 years after he retired from ranching. Even he said it was bad out there.
So there we were for the next two days.
On Friday morning we scraped off the car and headed east once more.
The snow wasn't really deep but the freezing rain had made for slippery going along with the bad visibility. It put a glitsy patina on the trees,
but I'm sure the guys who were using the morning to get their jackknifed rigs out of the ditches weren't too much into the beauty.
To make a long story short, the sun burned through the haze quickly and the temperature shot above freezing. Soon it was a clear crisp day with plowed dry roads and gorgeous vistas.
We sailed all the way to Topeka and enjoyed a lovely dinner and evening with Sue H, her husband Dave, and a crazy cadre of cats--some shy and one so bold that she wanted to jump up on the table and look you in the eye whenever she had the chance.
Blueberry pancakes courtesy of Dave fueled our breakfast on Saturday morning and we set off on the last leg of our return. When we headed out on Feb. 6th, we had no snow in Monmouth and didn't see a lick of it until we hit the mountains of AZ Our return was white almost all the way and winter was clearly still with us when we turned into our driveway on Saturday afternoon.
4000 miles and ready for a rest.
Thanks again to all of our hosts. You made the trip well worth the effort.