Thursday, April 3, 2014

Back on the road - in a sandstorm

We were on our way to Las Cruces, traveling east on I-10 on a windy day near the AZ-NM border. Just as we got into New Mexico the wind starting gusting and the sand started blowing - a desert sandstorm!

Dust devil ahead - the start of the sandstorm

We heard later from the police that the visibility was zero down the road - a complete brownout - and there was a pile-up involving several tractor-trailers. We were routed off of I-10 to a truck stop to wait it out. 

I-10 is closed

Waiting with the big boys for the wind to die down
(our motorhome looks small next to them)

We waited for about 10 minutes and then I decided to talk to the police about the situation. The state trooper thought it was going to be several hours before the wind subsided, and he gave me some advice about a side route. We gave it a go, heading south to Route 9, then east, then back north to I-10. The wind was fierce and there was one short short stretch where I couldn't see even 5 feet in front of the vehicle. I slowed to 5 miles per hour through that stretch and then it cleared. The motorhome (and towed car) held the road pretty well - thanks in large part to the tax axle. 

Finally we made it to Las Cruces, arriving only an hour late at about 7 pm. I read later that I-10 was closed until 8 pm, so we definitely made the right choice taking the detour. 

We plan to spend a couple of days in Las Cruces and then head east toward Austin TX.

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