Those Darn New Mexico Winds!

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!

A Near Disaster

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.

our broken awning

Our awning - in the field as it landed

our broken awning

We loaded up the crumpled awning and took it to a landfill/recyling center.

our broken awning

Nothing left here but a row of screw holes and some dirt

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.....

Now We Deserve Pie!

Pie-o-neer Cafe

After that incident, we deserve pie. And the world-famous Pie-o-neer Cafe happened to be on route.

Pie-o-neer Cafe

Pie Town was named for Kathy's pies. At least two RVing couples we met recently told us not to miss it. And we were salivating!

Pie-o-neer Cafe

Unfortunately, it's Windsday and a sign announced that the café is only open on weekends at this time of year. Boo hoo!

A Very Large and Very Amazing Array

Very Large Array

A few miles east of Pie Town, we see some strange shapes in the distance. Maybe you recognize these from the movie, Contact?

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.

Very Large Array

Close-up tour of the VLA - Absolutely facinating!

And for the Remainder of the Week...

Hiking New Mexico

A bit of hiking

Hiking New Mexico

Some scenic boondocking

Bosque del Apache

A stop at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (pretending we're birders)

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.

Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Elephant Butte Lake

The campsites have cabanas - I'm sure it's to protect us from those darn New Mexico winds.

Days on the road on current trip: 91
Total camping costs to date: $132.00

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