Thursday, October 28, 2010

We'd drive. Then stop, take more pictures, then drive again. Our fuel mileage went to hell. Finally I began to hang out the window, trying to stay steady but fighting a losing battle with a gravel road tossing me about. The sky just kept exploding in color, as we began to lose the light at our elevation.

I'd always gazed at the Ruby Mountains with wonder. Cussing them, loving them, curious how they landed like that in the middle of the desert. On the other side of this ridge runs US Highway 93, north of Vegas, south of Wells. The blizzards that this range creates are mind boggling.

Once upon a lifetime ago, back when I was running produce, I hit an intense snow squall north of Ely. By the time I reached Wells, the entire area seperating the sleeper cab of the Peterbilt from the refer unit was full of powder, and it was so compacted, that turning became difficult.  I didn't throw iron as visibility was zero, and I worried that if I stopped, I'd never get enough traction to get moving again.  I'd seen no southbounders since leaving Ely and I could barely determine where the highway lay.

I'd learn later that  the entire undercarriage of the truck also collected powder, like a wet hand dipped in flour. I figure this must have added thousands of pounds to the weight of the truck---already heavy with Mexican produce.

When I finally hit the Flying J, plowing snow with the bumper, the fuel attendant met me at the pumps. He was amazed. They'd not seen a single vehicle come from the south in several hours. I didn't know it, but the road had been shut down behind me. The troopers couldn't even get to the gates outside of town and so they'd been turning travelers around at the Flying J.
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