Should We Go or Should We Stay?

April 12th

The weather forecast does not look good. A snow storm, Xanto, is making its way across the high plains bringing blizzards, cold temperatures, and high winds with it. If we travel today we will be heading right into its path.

Jeff calls ahead to the place in Salt Lake City where we plan to spend the night. The blizzard is hitting there right now. And the winds in Rawlins are already shaking the parked RV.

We decide to stay put for one more day and hunker down for a cold night.

Meanwhile Jeff waits in between wind gusts to climb onto the roof of the RV and cut off the raveled awning over the slide-out. While up there he discovers a broken bracket. We don’t plan on replacing the awning any time soon.


April 13th

We wake up to a dusting of snow covering the ground and vehicles. The water in the hose is frozen and the water pump is not working properly. Outside the temperature is only in the mid 20s. It is Friday the 13th, after all.

But we need to continue west on Interstate 80 to Salt Lake City.

Five minutes after joining the traffic on the interstate the clouds explode.

But less than 10 minutes later the weather has tamed back down again.

So for the next few hours we take it slow and steady, one mile at a time, rolling on the highway toward the border of Utah.

But as we approach the state line…

…The weather can’t make up its mind what it wants to do.

This is what greets us in Salt Lake City:

Then we arrive at our destination…

And all is beautiful again.

High Winds

Heading Out of Denver, Colorado

Today’s destination is Rawlins, Wyoming about 250 miles away. We plan to take Interstate 25 North into Wyoming where we will catch Interstate 80 West.

As we leave Denver, the winds pick up and continue to increase as Jeff white knuckles the steering wheel. Then we hear an all too familiar flapping and thudding. The awning over the main slide- out is twisted and unraveling AGAIN.  Jeff can see it billowing out like a parachute with each gust of wind. (This happened in April of 2016 traveling west on Interstate 90 in Minnesota. We were forced to stop at an RV dealership in South Dakota to cut the canvas awning off from the roller. And then we later replaced it.)

We pass under high wind warning signs the closer we get to Fort Collins.

And then we are warned that Interstate 25 is closed to high profile vehicles across the border into Wyoming. That would be us and that is exactly where we are headed. We need to take I-25 for only 9 miles across the state line to connect with I-80 West.

Fortunately there is an alternative route that will take us to Interstate 80 via Laramie, Wyoming.

But we don’t see the warning sign again and we are a little over 50 miles from the border. We have to make a decision soon because the alternate route, U. S. Highway 287 is approaching too.

We get lucky a second time. There is a rest area and Colorado information center near Fort Collins. The dogs and I make a pit stop and Jeff talks to the person inside the information center. According to the weather service the ban of high profile vehicles is still in effect. This area of the high plains is infamous for high wind gusts that blow vehicles over and/or off the road. U.S. 287 will offer more protection with its surrounding hills. (We hope!)

So the decision is made. But it still isn’t easy navigating the wind on this 2 lane highway. Every time a truck passes by in the opposite direction our RV gets pushed sideways. Jeff does an amazing job keeping our vehicle upright and on the road.

Meanwhile I capture the scenery as we leave the state of Colorado.

It certainly doesn’t look windy or dangerous in these pictures, but inside the RV we feel each gust and hear the flapping from the twisted awning outside.

We cross into Wyoming.

Laramie and the junction to I-80 is 24 miles away. But as we merge onto the Interstate and head toward Rawlins, where we plan to spend the night, we pass under another warning sign.

Tomorrow’s forecast is not very encouraging. And the dark clouds are rolling in.

We arrive safely guided by our loveable totem pothead, hehe 😉

at the Red Desert Rose Campground in Rawlins, Wyoming.

Tomorrow is a new day with new decisions on the horizon. Today we learned 3 big lessons:

  1. Heading east before May is not a good idea.
  2. The high plains are always vulnerable to high winds.
  3. Replace the awning over an RV slide if, AND ONLY IF, traveling across the high plains is avoided.

The Oregon Trail… Westward Ho’

image 2,000 miles to go…

From Saturday through Friday we travel from Minneapolis to Remote, Oregon.

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We encounter rain, snow, sleet, and warm sun-filled days, ever- changing landscapes, and 2 misadventures.

Our first misadventure happens on Saturday before we cross over to South Dakota. We hear banging noises of shifting storage contents coming from somewhere. I inspect all of the cabinets and closets. Jeff suspects his guitar is banging against his closet door, but that does not seem to be the case. Fellow RV drivers pass us and start pointing up to the roof so we pull into a rest area and Jeff climbs up onto the roof to inspect it. The only thing he notices is the awning over the main slide is crumpled and loose. We continue on our way but the banging and warnings from truckers and RVers continues. I look for the nearest RV service along our route, and that happens to be in Sioux Falls, SD. Unfortunately the  Service Department is closed. Fortunately the General Manager is available. The only solution is to cut off the awning material that unrolls with the slide to protect its roof. The GM informs us that the awning is unnecessary, especially with high winds. And we have experienced many a day and night with high winds! We are forever grateful to Spader’s RV Center!!!!!

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We continue to Plankinton, South Dakota to spend the night, wondering what happened to the beautiful weather in Minneapolis.

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And baby, it’s cold outside! The next day we enter Wyoming and slush accumulates on the windshield.

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And then the skies slowly blossom into blue…

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The next day, however, brings more icy Wyoming weather…

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until blue skies start peeking through the clouds in Montana.

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We wake up in Bozeman and the scenery just keeps getting better…

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all the way into and almost through northern Idaho!

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