Sunday, February 20, 2022

Happy Trails Thru Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas

 Well we made it through Iowa in a sleeting slippery mess on the roads. Thinking we were finally on clear dry roads in Kansas we were able to pick up the speeds to 55-60 mph.Only to be knocked around by 20-30 mph winds blowing us sideways down the road. All the way through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas we were blown around like a red and white bobber on a Minnesota lake fishing. For the driver it was exhausting gripping the wheel and fighting the winds. For this passenger it was holding my breath at times and closing my eyes. It was really scary.

Many people often times describe Kansas as a boring state to go through. And I partially have to agree, it did seem like we were in Kansas forever. There are a lot of windmills sprawled out over the prairie and many grain elevators in each small town we passed through. But driving endless miles through the state I began to see so much more. There were so many vacated small houses, or shacks dotted all over the countryside. Most looked like they were built in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s and at some point whoever lived there just walked away and left their homestead as it was back then. As I watched the empty homesteads pass by us,one after another, I began to wonder what the story was behind each place we passed. 

I began to imagine a young family coming out West to start a ranch or farming, only to be defeated by blowing winds eroding their soil, or illness happening, or some other tragedy in life. Or as my Best Half reasoned, “Maybe the couple farmed it for many years and grew old and the kids promised to keep the farm going and walked away, leaving it to weather away. Together we drove down the roads and talked about some of the houses we saw, imagining the stories behind them.

After a blow out on one of the new trailer tires we wound up stranded in Kansas waiting to get help getting the spare tire on. Our jack couldn’t get the trailer up high enough to put the spare on.So AAA was called as it was getting late and dark and cold and we didn’t have anywhere planned to stay the night. We had planned on getting a bit farther South before stopping. But once we got the tire on and started down the road it was late and dark so we spent the first night at a rest area. Having no electricity hook-up, we had no heat. The temp got down to 19 overnight. Luckily I had packed the winter sleeping bags that are good down to zero. We both jumped into our bags and covered our heads with just the tips of our noses open for air. Zoe, our yellow Lab, managed to make a “den” with the blankets that draped over the end of the bed. Max didn’t have quite the fortune of the heat Zoe discovered. By morning, when I woke up, I started to snuggle up to my Best Half because I was cold, and realized it was Max, the Labradoodle. He broke all rules and had jumped up between us and burrowed in to get warm. 

The next morning we hopped in Big Eddie and down the road we went to get to a warmer spot. By afternoon we hit temps in the 50’s…a 75 degree difference than when we had left home! It actually was beginning to feel hot. We got the stares from the local people when we were in our shirtsleeves and me in my flip flops and the locals in winter gear. Many asked if we were from Minnesota after talking with us. Not sure if it was the Minnesota accent or the fact we weren’t all decked out in winter attire that gave us away.

Our last night before getting to El Paso, we stayed in Roswell, New Mexico. We woke up the next morning having not been abducted by aliens, so we decided to go into the town of Roswell and go to the UFO Museum. This was a great place to learn the history of the alien visit to Roswell and other alien encounters around the world. Whether you believe it or not it was really interesting to see. The other really great thing about the Museum was it was very dog friendly so Max and Zoe walked through with us and had their own opinions on aliens after seeing the life-like figures. 

After Roswell, we followed the GPS. As we were leaving Roswell, we were going to stop for gas, but thought we would stop on the outskirts of Roswell before heading for the mountain pass and down into El Paso. So we turned onto Sagebrush road and that was the last person, building or animal we saw for the next 34 miles. Pretty soon the gas gauge on Big Eddie was warning us we had 50 miles left in the tank. There was absolutely nothing in sight and the nearest town was 30 miles away. We didn’t know if they had a gas station there. Talk about waiting for the last possible gallon. We came into a little resort town of MayHill New Mexico and found the one and only gas station, with the price to match it not having any competition. After filling the tank at almost $100, we were back on the road, a little wiser at the distance between towns.

Up and over the mountains we went into White Sands National Park to take a peak at what that was all about. It was an area covered with white sand for miles and miles while everywhere out is dessert. As we drove through I had a sense of being back in snow covered Minnesota. They plow the blowing white sand and it looks just like after a Minnesota blizzard. Only it was 65 degrees. But it got me feeling like we were heading the wrong way, so we did a quick drive through and headed down to El Paso to meet up with the son and family. What fun it has been hanging with the 6 grandkids and their parents. The RV park where they have been staying since last September was so nice and accommodating. I want to give a big shout out to Mission RV park in El Paso. It is in the Eastern part of El Paso, I think. If ever in El Paso and needing a place to stay, Mission RV Park is great. They gave us the site right behind the kids! We are neighbors once again with them. It has been fun with the grandkids seeing our camper door open and jogging over to have breakfast or sit and visit. Oh how I have missed them since they left last September, but the next week or so I will be living my best days ever, here in the warm sunshine and blue skies of El Paso with some of the family. Until We are back on the road again, take care.

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