Monday, February 11, 2008

Vegas Bound

"Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque"
The Partridge Family
"I've Been From Tucson to Tucumcari and I'll Be Willin"
Little Feat by Lowell George
Greetings From Albuquerque, It has been a very long two days of driving. I left Madison sunday morning at 9am. The temperature was -10 and the wind was blowing in the 20-30 mile range but there is no forecast for additional precipitation so I figured I am good to go. I was very wrong. Less than ten minutes into the trip there was a ton of blowing snow, which translated into ice on the road and lots of it. I was heading up a hill thinking damn this road sucks when I noticed 5 or 6 cars off the road at various angles, but the maxima trudged up the hill. I then noticed the people travelling down the road were having a worse go of it. I thought about turning around but that wasn't a real option. About three miles down the road there was a car upside down in the left lane of the divided four lane road heading south like me, problem was he had been heading north. Completely freaked out I crawled along at 20 miles an hour towards Dubuque, Iowa about 90 miles that ended up taking me 3 hours not a good start. But after Dubuque the roads cleared a bit as I headed south for I-8o. I got on I-80 travelling west towards Des Moines hopefully heading towards Denver. This road was good for a while then where the snow had blown onto the road there would be a handful of cars in the snow, off the road. Apparently with the wind blowing from the north the snow was causing big problems on east-west routes. I believe I saw around 100 cars off the road in the 120 miles I travelled towards Des Moines. That was enough for me so at Des Moines I started heading south.
I-35 towards Kansas City was in much better shape. I was a good 4 hours behind where I should have been but happy not to be waiting for a tow truck. 13 hours of driving and I called it a night in Wichita, Kansas, so much for the two day drive to Vegas. Around 3 am I thought I heard thunder but figured no way. It was thunder with the added bonus of freezing rain and sleet. I was hoping to hit the road by 7 am, but one look outside I knew that wasn't happening. Schools closed and delayed in Wichita. I stuck around until 10am saw a little sun and hit the road heading for Oklahoma City. Roads had been treated, not too bad a drive, It was still 15 or so degrees but the thermometer was heading up and I was hopeful. 12 hours later I began the descent into Albuquerque. And by descent I mean serious drop in altitude. I have never been to Albuquerque and was totally unprepared for the last 15 miles of today's driving. It was straight downhill at a pretty decent grade. The truckers were seriously moving. It was dark, windy and I pretty much expected to just be run over at any moment. I didn't pass a soul those last 15 minutes but everyone passed me. It is about 9 hours of driving left tomorrow. I had figured 26 hours from Madison to Vegas, it's going to be more like 34.
Things I learned today: Driving in winter sucks, in fact just plain winter sucks. Madison will break their all time Winter snowfall total tonite. We are approaching 7 feet of snow in the last 10 weeks. It doesn't snow in Vegas :) Oklahoma has a different definition of rest stop than the rest of the world. "Rest stop this exit" meant a small strip of road with a couple trash cans. No bathroom, no port-a-potty. One good thing about being a guy is that'll work for me, one bad thing about being a guy is we stop alot more often to pee. My wife can go 6-8 hours no problem. I'd have to be dead to make it that long. There is some truth to things are bigger in Texas. I saw the "biggest cross in the Western Hemisphere" It wasn't that big, maybe 100 feet tall. They were giving away free 72 oz steaks in Amarillo. I knew this because in the grand tradition of Pedro's South of the Border and Ronjon surf shop they had billboards 300 miles out and every 5 miles or so. You did have to consume the steak in one hour or pay full price. I'm not sure what full price was. Quick math said about 8000 calories or a week of eating at Fitness Ridge, I passed on the free steak.
Oh well congrats to Amy Winehouse - Rehab is for Quitters, Lets hope the good people of my home state and its neighbors keep the momentum going tomorrow in the Potomac Primaries. Terps vs Duke wednesday night Lets Go Terps. Peace and thanks again for all the well wishes. Jim

1 comment:

PoohTerp said...

hmpf.. it didn't let me post my original comment and now i will never be as witty.

in any event, i think i said something along the lines that i hate driving long distance.. that i get sleepy as soon as i hit the highway.. and there's no chance i wouldn't have ended up taking a permanent nap if i attempted to do what you just did.