I have been on the road for three days.So far I have seen dust, wind and a great deal of Interstate 40. I decided that when I left I would not spend time in the desert. The weather is cool but incredibly dry and windy. In the northern part of both Arizona and New Mexico, all open fires are banned, and the people live up in the hills say the have never seen it this dry.
The wind became stronger around Flagstaff, AZ and continued all that day. The first travel day was long simply because there was little to do on a day that windy. The temperatures are cool and very dry, so night time lows are still in the high 30's. Chilly getting the van moving in the morning but otherwise quite pleasant.
Driving with a straight steering wheel has been all but impossible except at the slowest of speeds. The second leg was from just west of Albuquerque to Tucumcari. They closed I-40 for about three hours at mid-day because of the blowing dust. Had lunch in a rest area and caught a nap and then wrestled the wheel the rest of the way. This morning dawned bright and clear and calm. As we headed north and east on U.S. 54 through the rest of New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma the wind rose to a sustained 40 and a gusty 60. It is a road I have driven often. It is not a pretty place. There are feed lots where thousand of cows stand with their backs to the wind looking miserable. The horses, whose fate may be more kind, look no happier. There are many plowed fields on very flat land. When the wind is up as it was today, it is a risky place. The speeds are high, the truckers don't slow and we in our high profile vehicles without much experience at this, grit our teeth and try to keep up.Happily, we reached Meade State Park before the gusts got any higher and as the evening moves to night, the wind is dying. We will stay here until Sunday as tomorrow is to be pleasant NOAA tells us and then we will move on hoping that another line of tornadoes has not been spawned and the howling wind will have stopped.
The pictures here are the four or so I have managed to take in this part of the"drive until you drop" leg of the trip. We will proceed more slowly now, weather permitting and hope to do more than drive and hook up the electricity and then eat and sleep.
Things will get better. Jim told me just this evening.