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Killing Tumbleweeds

| Updated Apr 5, 2016

It was time to hit the road from Tucson, AZ to Las Cruces, NM. I’d had a wonderful week in the area, which is worth a separate article. But now I was headed to another famous park, Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge, which is famous among birders.

I wanted to stop, again, at the KOA in Las Cruces, which has a fabulous hilltop view of the city and surrounding Organ Mountains. Especially for sunset when the city lights start to sparkle. It might be the cleanest KOA ever, and I also needed to do laundry.IMG_4717

What an exciting drive! I heard they were calling for high winds, but didn’t expect to battle 40-65 MPH the entire way… and even worse, dust storms! I had seen a dozens of highway signs warning of low visibility all over the southwest, but didn’t expect to have to participate. Sheesh- I am a rough weather magnet.

And talk about a bad hair day! Fugedaboudit. Even the dog had a bad fur day.

I was exhausted from gripping my RS Adventurous steering wheel, causing a symptom I refer to as “Popeye Arms”.  It sort of reminded me of my sailing days… I tried to maneuver into broad reach to get better mileage- no dice.  Not to mention, having to hang on to the van door, when I stopped for gas, to keep it from being whipped back on the hinges. It even blew my sunglasses off. Don’t even think about a hat- gone forever.

I was also, an unfortunate witness to London and France, on a gal at the gas station. Travel Tip # 137- please don’t wear a skirt or kilt during a High Wind Advisory.

In addition to the sweeping winds, especially fun when you are passing or being passed by semi trucks, I had to endure the giant, Voldemort, morphing clouds of dirt, sand and grit. Hundreds of feet high. Almost the entire 271 mile drive. I swear I saw giant gaping mouths in the dust- like right out of the movie “Scorpion King”. I had to keep the window sealed, and the air on re-circulate, or I’d still be cleaning.

_MG_3149Now, I should be careful what I say. In my last article, I wrote that I’d only seen one, lonely tumbleweed. This drive, I watched them flying high in the huge dust devils, flung hither and yon. I murdered at least a few dozen as they were hurtled across the highway, and have new scratches on my grille to prove it. The large, skeletal balls exploded into oblivion- instantly. I got home and was still pulling pieces out.

But I have to admit, I was fascinated, watching the dust clouds form and move across the desert, like huge living things. It was a magnificent display of another form of nature’s great power- intimidating and beautiful.

These weren’t even the bad ones- they say it’s just another spring day around here.

All in all, I was fine- if a bit disheveled, and it’s an added notch on my list of Roadtrek adventures.



Mike Wendland

Published on 2016-04-05

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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