We took a beating from the New Mexico winds this week. In fact, we narrowly avoided a real disaster. While we do like to "blow with the wind" on our travels, this is NOT what we had in mind!
Across the deserts of the southwest, spring brings radiant sunshine, beautiful desert blooms, and strong winds. Yep, spring is the windy season here. And our number one weather-related complaint of the entire trip.
I believe we encounter the windy season every spring in the desert, no matter what state we're touring but Randy insists New Mexico winds are worse than in other states. Like the wind pays attention to state boundaries, right? I've noticed we seem to have one unbearably windy day per week. We can almost track the days of the week by the wind. This year, the worst winds seem be on Wednesdays. By Thursday, the velocity starts to slowly decrease for three days, then picks up slowly again and the pattern repeats.
On Windsdays, we either hunker down with a book or we drive into town to shop, do laundry, and run errands. It appears we made the wrong choice last week!
The wind was from the west at 30 mph with gusts up to 50 but Randy expertly kept the Roadtrek on the right side of the yellow lines as we drove south to Grants. My eyes were on a map, not on the road, when I heard and felt a terrible loud bang. I screamed - sure we had hit something. Perhaps a person or a large animal. I yelled at Randy, "What did you hit?" and while glancing at his strangely calm face, through the back drivers' side window I saw a huge chunk of something silvery white (the color or our rig) flying across the opposing lane of traffic, over a fence, and into the field east of the road.
Randy pulled us over and said, "I think we lost a part of our roof". Really? OMG!!!
I opened the passenger-side door (with great difficulty against the force of the wind) and stepped out. I looked up toward the roof and saw immediately that our awning was missing. In its entirety - the aluminum casing and everything that had attached it to the camper - all gone. What a relief! An awning would be much easier to replace than any body part. Then, in unison, we realized how extremely lucky it was that this happened at a point when there was a break in traffic - both behind us and in the oncoming lane. We could have killed someone or caused a very serious accident.
We reported the loss to our insurer but decided to wait until we get home to deal with replacing it. Awnings are probably the number one insurance claim For RVers but I'm sure not many are lost while fully retracted, properly secured, and driving at full speed down the highway. It's a testament to the special powers of New Mexico winds! Maybe Randy's right!
Awningless, our trip continues.....
The Very Large Array (VLA) is a lineup of telescopes that, combined, form the largest and most powerful radio telescope on earth. It allows astronomers and scientists to see 26,000 light years from earth (that's over 150 quadrillion miles). Unfathomable! The self-guided tour (only $5) begins with a movie that's both entertaining and informative. Even I could understand most of the scinetific concepts depicted in the movie and visitor center displays.
Showers and an RV dump (and a good Internet signal) were enough temptation to have us pay for camping (a whopping $10.00 per night) at Elephant Lake State Park. We filed our income tax online and watched the boat traffic on the lake but, as you may have guessed, those New Mexico winds were picking up again - too strong for our inflatable kayak.
Days on the road on current trip: 91
Total camping costs to date: $132.00
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