Sunday, December 14, 2008

What A Ride!

OMG! What a ride. Forecasts for high winds made us reconsider whether to cross the desert again, backtracking to Las Cruces in order to proceed to Silver City. The northern route forecast was for snow- and I'm just not into driving mountain roads in a motorcoach hauling a van behind it. A girl we met yesterday had warned that today would be high winds, remarking that she had seen tractor trailers blown over sideways in winds like those forecast. But the morning broke with high, but manageable winds, so rather than wait around for even worse conditions - we booked it back across the White Sands. Clear, but steady winds blew 25 to 35 with gusts to 50. Think that's not scary? That is time to hold onto the wheel for all you're worth even with the tag axle that makes it steadier as she goes. Trucks flipped over. It happened right in front of us as we crossed the San Andres Mountains. Tractor down over the bank. Trailer ass end up in the air, belly of the bed hinged on the shoulder like a giant closed in see-saw. That will make you slow down even more. But it was also a Tiny Tim kinda day (God Bless Us Every One) as the wind direction changed 180 degrees three times on the crossing, and in each case blowing the giant sand cloud away from us and not into us. The passage is on the edge of the White Sands Desert, not through it, so wind blowing from the road onto the desert is infinitely more manageable than one that blows off the desert and onto the road. We had a few minutes of the sand blasting- sounded like driving through a heavy sleet storm to me. But short lived. I thought I should have grabbed a picture of that flipped truck, but thought the better of it for whatever reason. The picture of it, however, is mine forever- camera or no....

In addition to the weather conditions, we hit three more check points for border patrol and customs. This time they made us laugh. Our friend had responded to the recent post about our checkpoint experience and advised that here and in Arizona it would happen with some regularity. She relayed the experience of the guards bringing out the dogs one time to check out "three old ladies with binoculars." But she has passed this way before, and often, and in her words "rolls with the punches." She, by the way, is not old by any standards that I would ever apply - but she does have binoculars. Oh, yes, so do we! You think that's what makes them pull us over ???

As we dashed away, dashed away, dashed away all, I called out my window to the patrol: "Think you guys could turn back the wind machine a bit for me?"

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