The slow-to-rise morning pastoral scene was crushed by a flock of guineas in our “front yard”. They stared at our windows.
Buck-wheat! Buck-wheat! Buck-wheat! We know y’all got wolves. We watching y’all.
Hey, we weren’t hiding indoors with out dogs. The cold and wind was keeping us in the warmth. So much for trying to outrun the wind. At 3 a.m. an elephant bumped into the side of the RV. Okay, maybe it wasn’t an elephant. Maybe it was the first gusts. For hours we felt like surfers on a super-sized surfboard. We whispered, “I hope my seasick pill is still working”. Our motto this morning is “Suck it up, Buttercup and get going.” Today we would start in New Mexico, pass through the Panhandle of Texas, and inch into Oklahoma.
You know that fabulous foam bed I was looking forward to? It didn’t live up to my expectations. I once thought the foam mattress was a revelation; Last was more a revolution. My body melted a divot the depth of the Bermuda Triangle. I had to crawl out to turn over. And I was never really, truly, happily warm.
The big quilt my Momma made me doesn’t help. Double-knit. Y’all remember that back in the ’70’s? It seems that when you lay double-knit on top of a smooth RV bedspread the two slip across each other like an ice cube on a hot plate. All night the wind kept the heavy blanket in motion. Off that side of the bed, off this side of the bed, down to our knees. If we can’t fix this, I’m pretty certain this beautiful, flawed blanket will find its way to a thrift store.
We looked rough in the morning. Now I’ve got to stay awake to keep Margo awake. Lookit all that grass. Lookit those trees. Lookit those stock tanks. Coming from a desert, we hunger to see those things. Oklahoma is awesome. Judging from how many cattle we see we wonder if Oklahoma rivals Texas in beef on the hoof.
The wind doesn’t let up. It speeds up. The perpendicular blasts spin scores of tumbleweeds in our path. It took a lot of mental energy to not calculate their trajectory and dodge them. We crushed many. When hit broadside it was like someone threw a softball against the door. Got big scratches in the finish I’ll have to buff out. Reeee-diculous.
We stopped at a convenience store and went in through a door that wouldn’t knock us down. As we turned the corner a syringe rolled across the parking lot. Da-um. You Okies are tough here. Shoot up in the middle of a storm that can knock you off your feet. I look at the drivers getting into their vehicles and silently asked myself, “Was it you who shoot up and dropped your syringe in the parking lot? Are you going to drive now?” It’s unsettling.
Speaking of driving. Margo did all the driving. I’m not ready yet to pull a 31′ 5er. Just between you and me I may never be. She’s got the traveling in a straight line down very well. It’s those big turns into gas stations that need a little practice. We also need to figure out which truck stops are good to stop at. We can preview them on our truck app, but darn it, most don’t have an RV fueling station. They have lots of slots for the passenger vehicles and lots more slots for diesel engines. Our truck uses gasoline. The only pumps we get to use are the two outside pumps and the 5er sticks out in parking lot traffic until we can pull away. Margo has had to do some fine driving to not get us stuck.
We saw many, many, many wind turbines going into Oklahoma City. I’m talking hundreds and hundreds over many acres of land. Nearly all of them were rotating. Could be we’ve seen these blades before. Very often, specially designed 18-wheeler with sling beds carry the blades through Tularosa. They must cross two lanes of Highway 70 and those truckers do some fancy steering to get it across without taking out everything around it.
We were so happy to pull into a campground in Elk City, Oklahoma. We wanted a long walk, a nice shower, and a good meal. It was all crushed under a stubborn hitch. There’s a reason why the hitch is painted the color it is.
Here’s the story. We pulled into our campground site and couldn’t disconnect. We tried different heights of levelers. We drove forward. We drove back. We hammered on parts. Thinking we needed brute strength, two older RVing gentlemen gave it their all. Didn’t move. We jiggled and jerked on the hitch handle until our shoulder’s screamed. After we exhausted ourselves, Margo spoke to the manager and she called her husband to come over. He had Margo back the truck quite forcefully until a big click and with a couple of mighty heaves, the handle slid out. We’ve learned an important lesson: Don’t baby the hitch when unhitching.
Our hero would take no money, so I bought a pizza to help out the business attached to the KOA. We really wanted a dozen beers and to run screaming naked through the countryside.
Finally, sleep. This time I was going to try something new. I put on my silk base layer and thick wool socks. Maybe if I can retain some of my body heat, I won’t sink like a stone.