Blizzard of '17

posted Mar 28, 2017, 5:19 PM by David Hakan   [ updated Mar 30, 2017, 7:46 PM ]
Blizzard of '17
I had a good show at the Taos Inn in New Mexico Friday, March 24. I had one dinner customer fall in love with my song, Are You Going My Way, and he bought a CD with that on it. 
Then it started snowing. I thought it was just that we were up in the mountains. I packed up and got ready to drive to the KOA campground in Raton, NM about two hours away. 

But I found out that about half my route was in the mountains, two-lane, no shoulder, 20 mph curves, no guardrails, and more snow. I pulled into my KAO cabin just as it got dark. Still snowing.

For some reason, I got up at 5:30 am. I decided I should get an early start. This was my longest leg of the trip, a seven and a half hour drive to WaKeeney, KS by Hays, KS. I showered at the KAO, and the lights went out and then back on once. I thought, that would be bad. It would have been really hard to shower and dress in the dark. By the time I got back to my cabin, the power went out to the whole campground, including my little space heater. I decided I might as well pack up and go since it was 61 degrees in my cabin. 3 miles north of Raton, there was a big pile up on Interstate 25 and they CLOSED I-25. So I went back to my exit to the gas station. Then realized the WHOLE town had lost power. Luckily, the power came back on in the gas station and I could fill up my tank and use the restroom. I let the car idle and ran the heat and waited there till 10:30, then tried to go north again. I-25 was Still Closed. So I came back to the gas station to wait. About 12:30 I realized that the staff had closed the gas station and gone home. I also saw some cars turned around by the wreck coming into Raton With No Snow On Them. Hummm? The highway to the east was closed, I couldn't stay in Raton overnight because they still had no power. So I headed south (The opposite way I needed to go.) on I-25. In 20 minutes the roads were DRY. The only open highway going east was 412. It was 40 miles south out of my way, at Springer, NM. 

It was by then about 1:30 pm. The woman at the gas station in Springer said, "You better fill up your tank if you are going east on 412, because there is nothing out there for a long way."
She was right. There was Nothing, no towns, no farms, no stores, no cows or horses, sometimes no fences. Just the two-lane. Backroads USA. 
So I just kept driving, trying to make it to Dodge City, KS by nightfall. In Boise City, OK there was one convenience store open. The line at the bathroom was 5 deep. (Yes I filled up, just in case.)
The towns on this route were mainly at the big grain elevators or big cattle feedlots. I mean Big. I have never seen so many cows in one day. Thousands. Cattle Empire. (It really is called that.)

I made it to Dodge City, KS just as it was getting dark, to the Love's Truckstop. (One of my favorites.)
I fought a 60 mph wind from the north most of the way east from the storm that hit I-24 in NM and CO. But I had "A Hard Rain's A'Gonna Fall" on the stereo and lots of road food munchies.
Then I had to drive the 90 minutes north on two-lane at night. I was toast when I got to WaKeeney. I had been in the car since 7:30 am until about 9:30 pm, with just a couple of 15 breaks. 
I knew this long day on two-lane would be a long hard drive, but I had NO idea what a challenge it would be. I couldn't have done it without my Subaru.