Driving in a Winter Not-So-Wonderland

Today we had a little more adventure than we’d bargained for.

As the weekend approached, we watched the weather nervously, hoping it wouldn’t interfere with our regular Sunday travel day. Saturday night things things still weren’t looking good, but we hoped we would prevail by preparing the night before and getting an early morning start. Saturday evening we took care of some of our usual Sunday travel-day tasks: dumping, putting away and securing all items, sweeping/vacuuming, setting up the back seat for the cats, etc. Come Sunday morning, we waited for first light, braved temperatures in the teens, and scooted out of Ft. Davis.

At first it looked like it had worked perfectly. There was barely anyone on the road, no sign of precipitation, and we were easily ahead of any Ft. Davis snowfall.

But it was headed our way.

Just 20 miles outside of Van Horn the snow descended upon us. At first it was light and manageable, but gradually the roads began to fill with snow. Brian drove ahead with the RV, clearing a path in the endless white, and I clung to his tire tracks behind him in my Subaru. A great gray wall of whirling mist completely surrounded us, and we agreed we needed to pull off the road. We crawled into the nearest gas station at Van Horn, just before I-10 and decided to wait it out.

As it turned out, we couldn’t proceed anyway. Sections of I-10 westbound were blocked off due to multiple accidents. The six of us (2 cats, 2 dogs, hubby and me) huddled together in my Subaru, periodically checking traffic on Google Maps and the weather on our weather apps, and we contemplated our options.

We could delay a day and stay in Van Horn. This was seeming like a good option, as the snow persistently continued to fall and the highway remained impassible. But we already had our place booked for a week in El Paso, and the thought of packing everything up and taking everything down again in less than 24 hours was a daunting. We’d keep checking until the opportunity had passed to arrive in El Paso before dark.

5 stars for our fur babies who were surprisingly quiet and patient for most of our wait! We made sure to give ourselves and the dogs a couple of bathroom breaks (the cats had their litterbox with them in the back seat tube, and we grabbed some fast food and watched a little SNL and Tiktok inbetween our fretting and traffic-and-weather checking obession.

Finally the snow stopped and the highway cleared, and we cautiously entered I-10. At points the road was dicey, but most of the drive was actually pleasant. The greatest stress came when I was startled by an abrupt slowdown right just as I’d crested a hill. Both our phone and walkie connections had dropped, and I had lost contact with Brian who was trailing me a few miles back in the RV. Fortunately, Brian and I both slowed in time, and we both safely passed the dreadful vehicle graveyard on both sides of the road, the cause of the previous road closure.

We arrived at our RV park in El Paso around 3:30CST (2:30 in our new mountain time!) and practically collapsed into the RV. Our adventure was not quite over, however, as El Paso was also sporting chilly teen temps, and the interior of our RV had gotten down to 31 degrees during our 3-hour-turned-8-hour road trip. We swept up some snow that snuck in with our slides, and after a quick bite and drink, we headed off in search of a 2nd space heater so that we could more comfortably survive the night. 5 stores later — everyone in El Paso must have needed a space heater — we finally triumphantly returned home, space heater in tow.

It is 60 degrees inside as I type this, and we are waterless — the outside water knob is stuck and it’s too cold anyway — and I am ready to wrap up this crazy day. Up until now I’d been tickled pink about how successfully we’d avoided winter this year, but it seems February got the last laugh. . .

To my fellow winter warriors — stay safe and warm! And to all, may you have a wonderful week. 🙂 Much love and many blessings.

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