Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the drive

We finished up our last two days in Tucson this past weekend with a bunch of time in the dirt....luckily we hooked up with a high school buddy, Jason Massey and his dad Dennis(former soccer coach) for a good ride on Saturday. I also hooked up with Kevin Clegg for a sweet ride earlier in the morning that same day. On Sunday Andrea and I squeezed in one final ride on the Sweetwater trails before loading up the car and heading back home. video

30+ hours and 2,000 + miles.....it's always tougher heading back to the Midwest rather than heading out west. And little did we know.....

8 hours into the drive we cruised through Albuquerque NM. It was 8 pm and I was ready for another 2 hours of driving before finding our first dive of a motel. Unfortunately things were about to take a turn for the worse...

As we were leaving Albuquerque we saw a highway sign that read 'Winter Driving Conditions Ahead'. Being from WI it didn't really phase us....an hour later we were slowed to 10mph by the worst road conditions I had ever seen. 3 inches of snow = 2 inches of choppy ice on the HWY.....the snow removal techniques in WI are far superior than NM.

We pushed on for another hour at 10mph until we saw the brake lights. 2 or 3 cars in the ditch and 2 jackknifed semis on the West bound side of I-40. Then traffic came to a halt. We were at a stop for a good 45 minutes. Once they finally cleared the truck on the East bound side we tried to get off the road in Moriarity NM. Every hotel was full, every parking spot taken. It's now 11:30 and we pull back on to the HWY....another 20 minutes of driving at 10mph with semi's shredding the hwy at 60+ mph almost blowing us off the road. These guys must have been watching Ice Truckers on the History channel, but clearly didn't have the skills. By midnight we were stopped again....by 1:00am we turned off the car and tried to sleep. Freezing temps and 30mph winds kept the car rocking back and forth and kept Andrea from going outside to pee. She used her resources and turned to the dog dish. At about 3:30am an officer knocked on the window and we fired up the car. Another 10 minutes down the road we arrived in Clives Corners.....along with 200 other vehicles we battled for 100 parking spots and finally settled in for the night.

So there we were....4 bikes, Andrea, Rosco and myself crammed into the 2 door Hyundai Accent w/ 4 weeks worth of gear and 3 bags full of groceries. Luckily we also had a full tank of gas to keep us warm. It continued to snow and by 6:30am we were awaken by the sound of rumbling trucks and honking horns.

By 8:00am my inner WI lumberjack had arrived and one by one had to start pushing cars singlehandedly out of the parking lot, just so we could make an attempt ourselves. After I cleared out 2 or 3 cars, Andrea had a go at it with the green machine....great success. I wanted to hit the road, but stranded women and children were still stuck. Another 2 or 3 cars clear and we were down the road. I was soaked, cold and wet......one lady was in a puddle of water 6 inches deep, and the other lady really wanted to be heavy on the gas and managed to spin herself 2 inches deep in the ice...in the process soaking me and my clothes with wet snow.

Mind you I had just left from Tucson and was wearing shorts and t-shirt.....you know how men and women have distinct body temp differences....well Andrea likes to wear her jeans in the car along with a sweatshirt and down jacket even though it is 80 degrees in Tucson and I am getting blasted by the sun sweating like crazy....thankfully she let me borrow her jacket that cold morning. I had no way of getting to my clothes or camera as they were buried in the back of the car.....yep...no photos to document the epic night...just memories.

That day on the hill in Clives Corners will go down in history....

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