She done bucked us!

Cold SunriseI think of our planned new year’s eve in Vedauwoo as an easy test run to prepare us for more challenging winter outings in the camper. Maybe part of being born in Wyoming is an eternal willful ignorance of her reaction to such assumptions. We’re beggin’ to be whupped like flapjack butter.

I see the first night as a victory rather than a warning. We find a nice pullout away from the freeway, and sleep reasonably well through a low of 5°F and 20mph winds. The truck is a little slow to start in the morning, as are we, but eventually all systems fire up and we embark on our snowshoe outing for the day.

Abe weathers the stormAfter that the whuppin’ starts. Temps and snow keep falling, and the wind gets attitude. Still, we delight in our ability to whip up a hot meal in our heated camper while we watch the snow race past the windows. Visibility is not so good when we leave. On the highway, it’s worse. Falling snow combines with ground blizzards for a visibility between fifty feet and zero. We make it to the rest stop without hitting anyone, but have to creep around it twice to figure out what constitutes a parking spot. I seriously regret not getting some video of the whipping whiteness, but we’re all wrapped up in it. Once parked, we dig in for a nap. On waking, we find a very quiet rest stop, except for a couple of folks who have broken down and are taking shelter in the indoor area. They inform us that the road is closed.

Our battery hasn’t had much sun to charge it during the day. If we lose that, we lose the furnace that requires a fan to run. The wind rocks the camper like a dingy, and disables our water heater. The three of us (T-rex wouldn’t have missed all this for the world!) spend a restless night of compromise between required body warmth and sleeping comfort. We turn the heat low enough to get the battery through the night, but all our water is frozen in the morning. 0°F and 40mph winds have crippled us. The truck won’t start. Our black water tank is nearly full, and frozen. Despite some promise of sun, we cry Uncle, beg a jumpstart, and skeedaddle back to Colorado.

7 responses to “She done bucked us!”

  1. Oh wow. How too bad. Sorry, guys! What a disappointment and a scare, too. Me, I had a great party New Year’s Eve with a lovely quiet snow to walk the two blocks home in at around half an hour nto 2008.

  2. think of how much worse it would’ve been without the camper. of course, without the camper you probably wouldn’t have been out there in the first place…

  3. Good point. There was a father and daughter with a broken-down truck at the rest stop too – they spent an uncomfortable night in the rest stop building, but they were okay in the morning. It would probably have been a pretty unpleasant night in a tent.

  4. Unpleasant in a tent? You couldn’t be thinking of a four-season tent and a -15F sleeping bag. With all that snow the tent gets all igloo-like. Keep me dry in my mummy bag and I’ll hibernate through the whole season. Now if I could just get Olivia to stay huddled in her sleeping bag…
    “stay…STAY! Good dog.”

  5. You’re right – only the time outside the tent is very challenging. Next time you should come show us how it’s done!

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