It’s exciting to be back on the road but also sad. Our stay with Jesse and family was too short and I really wanted to see Peyton play soccer!
Coaching soccer is both fun and frustrating and truly the most unexpected activity in my life. I hardly kicked a soccer ball until I became a coach ten or so years ago. But it’s like a hot fudge sundae; I want it and it’s good, but halfway through I wonder if it’s such a good idea. And then it is.
But the road calls and I’m looking forward to getting to the great Southwest and finding good camping and testing out the transport chair and perhaps walking along the Grand Canyon with Michelle, maybe, or wherever they had paved paths. I’ll see more and so will she and Mo.
Our first night we head for San Angelo, TX and a park I see on the map next to a lake. It’s a weekday so I don’t bother to make a reservation. We dodge thunder storms all day, getting hit by a couple on the edge and we arrive. San Angelo State Park is unusual. It sits on a rise and it’s dry with cacti that hug the baked earth. I never see the lake.
Michelle is in her typical afternoon state of agitation. And walking isn’t really possible because the storms keep coming. I’m preparing food when a neighbor swaggers over and carrot and sticks me to try to get her to shuddup. “Maybe I should call the Ranger, that doesn’t sound right.” He goes on to tell me his wife is an RN and she sent him over. I look him in the eye, which isn’t easy for him, just calmly look at him. “Tell her I appreciate her concern,” I say. “As an RN she will know all about sundowning.”
He can tell he’s been dismissed but the busybodyness of it does take some of the pleasure out of the intermittent storms that wash over us all night. She settles down for a great night of sleep.
The next morning I meet fellow VW Bus travelers! They are from Texas and arrived late and have parked their baby just a couple of sites over from ours. They come over and one of them is a retired VW mechanic and as he comes up he says, “71, I thought it was a 70 from over there.” We exchange good mornings and handshakes, and they recommend a KOA near Carlsbad as a good destination.
As we drive away the world is fresh washed and I’m sure the cactus flowers will burst forth later in the day.
We head West and arrive in the dusty Southwest. It’s as if someone turned the spigot off, New Mexico is DRY, I mean, really, really dry and fires are raging up north in the state. I hear that huge areas of forest are closed but I don’t think they are closed down south where we are. We head for the Carlsbad, NM area and end up in that KOA out in the middle of nowhere.
I decide on one of the rustic cabins because if Michelle is loud it might disturb the neighbors and I’m just too tired to explain it all. They aren’t expensive and a couple that manages the very nice place out in the dry valley, comes to help me get Michelle in.
There is a strange cloud to the North and the man looks at it and draws it to my attention. “Sand storm,” he says and tells me we should get Mo inside quick. The cloud has an odd edge, soft and tan colored and I notice it’s moving towards us though the distant clouds are moving away, a backdraft?
I do as he says and get Mo up to the porch as the kind man hustles to his truck. It arrives and this is no joke. I have just gotten in the Bus to move it to the parking area a few feet away when the fifty plus mile per hour winds and dense sand hit us. It’s awesome and incredible and frightening, mainly because I’m out here and I have to go through it. The Storm bus lives up to her name.
I wrap a sweatshirt over my entire head and hat and shove the door open. It doesn’t want to open. The wind whisks by making a dry, hateful sound and I wonder if this is what Mars is like.
I make it over okay and get Mo inside just as the brunt of the storm arrives. Hell fire.
It lasts longer than expected and dust seeps in beneath the door. Michelle is calm enough throughout, a blessing I suppose that these things don’t register.
And then it is gone, like a flat tire or a bad meal, just a memory but in this case not really a bad one. An adventure that will make me sneeze the next morning.