Saturday, April 1, 2017

Altoona, IA - Back to Iowa

And, finally our abbreviated winter trip is over and we’re on our way back to Iowa for April and May, only to return to Mesa in late May for the June 1 closing on the park model we bought.

Lots of billboards along I10 in southern AZ advertising for ‘THE THING.’ We’ve seen them many times, have we ever stopped? Nope. Never. Not once. Where’s Lady Bird when we need her? And, boy, does that comment, age me.
We’re more interested in the wonderful views that we see all along the road.
But, then there’s another trading post with its billboards. How many ‘styles’ of t-shirts are there? Do t-shirts have ‘styles?’
But, we’re driving straight through and our next stop is in New Mexico.
Is this the biggest pistachio in the world?
OMG. Look, it’s snow. I didn’t think we had driven this far north. But it was an awesome drive weaving through the rolling hills not knowing what spectacular view awaited us around the next curve and over the next hill.
Beautiful views on every side. Green hills set off by the craggy stone peaks in the background.
Interesting art.
But nature paints its own beauty.
These mountains form the backdrop for Las Cruces, New Mexico. I’ll bet there’s some cool hiking around here.
In Las Cruces we veered northeast, heading towards Kansas City. It’s a shorter route than taking I10 and I20 across New Mexico and south through Texas to I35 (we want to go north, not south) and heading north there. But, when we turned off, most stayed right on I10, even those with Iowa and Minnesota plates. Much of the route we take is 4-lane but we do get onto several 2-lane roads this way. Most of these are good to drive and we don’t meet many others on them. Lots easier to drive than the Interstates.

We cross the panhandle of Texas and stay at a campground in Dalhart, TX.
Texas has lots of windmills, almost as many as Iowa. Well, I don’t know the actual numbers but I’ll bet that Iowa has more.
Lots of agriculture through here. You can see the green irrigated circles but you can also see several brown patches. Guess what those are. Hamburgers and steaks. Ha, ha.
These feed lots are huge and take quite a while to drive by.
Snow yesterday and see the temps today on the weather chart for Dalhart, TX below. 39 degrees and it feels like 33 with the wind. Why, oh, why, are we heading north so soon? Note that Dalhart, where we stayed overnight is expecting rain all day on Tuesday with a temperature low of 30 degrees.

Sounds like snow to me - we’d better be moving on. We had through of staying an extra day here but saw the weather and decided to move on, ahead of the storm that’s moving across the plains.
Next we cross the panhandle of Oklahoma. While rte 54 is 2 lanes in Texas and Kansas, it’s a nice smooth 4-lane divided highway through Oklahoma. I guess they want us tourists to enjoy the ride.
Then into Kansas where we’ll stop for the night north of Wichita.
They use the old Native American technique of burning the prairie grasses every year. Here’s a swath that is still smoldering. Kansas is hazy from the smoke in the early spring. In some places we could actually see flames.
Hmmm, must be lunch time in the rest area. I think we’re not the only ones headed north.
We were passed by this RV along the road. Notice anything wrong? I made a sign on a piece of paper that said in big bold letters: ‘ANTENNA’ so that if we could pass it, we could tell him that he has a problem. He was really moving along and we could never catch up. I hope he doesn't meet a short bridge.
We checked the weather forecast and the radar and knew we’d better get up and on the road early in the morning to avoid this little storm that is going to slide across rte 35 between Kansas City, MO and Wichita, KS. We clipped the northwest corner of Missouri, around Kansas City and headed further north towards Iowa.
If you look closely at the blue dot above Kansas City you can see that we made it through the city but the storm is nipping at our heels as it moves north and we kept on keeping on.
And, then we saw this sign. Oh, wow. Des Moines, we’re almost home.
Lots of flashing red lights, cars backed up. Looks like a traffic jam and some problems on the road.
And this is what we saw as we passed it. The cab door is open and we hope the driver got out.
And, here’s a real welcoming sign.
Only an hour left before we hit Altoona, IA outside of Des Moines and the campsite that is waiting for us.

‘Remember, half the people you meet are below average.’