Former roommate, then neighbor, Bev extended a general invitation to the world to come on down to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where she’s making her new home, and she DID find a house! YEAAAAA! And Susan has moved to Arizona, just 4 hours away, and whatever happened to Donna in Las Cruces? And I do so miss driving, though I do acknowledge that now it’s purely recreational — I can’t drive a truck 24/7 anymore. But get me out on the road!!

Soooooooooo… off I went, and went down to Elephant Butte State Park, the South Monticello campground, and got set up.

It was pretty late, and soon dark, but thanks to a helpful neighbor, enough put together to get inside for the night.

First night was a late partial set up, and it got REALLY cold, I couldn’t find my electrical cords and didn’t want to go out and dig around for the heater, but it was so cold Sadie wanted to be my footwarmer.

Caught the sunrise, thanks to Sadie. The view from site 19 can’t be beat!

Sadie may be an old grrrrrrl, but she still LOVES camping, and she knows the routine — circle round a few times and lay down and snore. Despite the look, she’ll jump up and dance around at the prospect of a trek around the loop, trotting like a young pup.

Elephant Butte is a reservoir, the dam built in 1910, with a 28MW capacity, not much, about the same as Red Wing’s former coal plant, current garbage burner.

Anyway, the third day, in the afternoon, it got windy. I was sitting in the vestibule, enjoying morning coffee, and the tent suddenly tipped, and I got up and jumped into the main part, it was at a 45 degree angle and I had to push on the wall of the tent to keep it upright. In a couple seconds it was over, calm again, and I got out and looked around — took a few deep breaths. The camp host had been working on the site next door and talking with someone on the loop, and he said it was a dust devil, came out of nowhere, but he saw it hit my tent! AAAAAACK! Yeah, that shook me up!

When I got back “home” that afternoon, it was uniformly VERY windy:

AAAAAAACK! Although I’d put out all the guy wires, the ground was cement, and it might have been better if I’d been able to stake it down more, but I doubt it, the wind was beyond anything I’d ever experienced. I bailed, and with the help of 3 neighbors, we were able to get the tent down, but it was 3 Stooges, at one point, while we were trying to roll it up, it started flapping so bad we were struggling to hang on, and one of the women dove down and laid on the tent, spread-eagled, and, well, it worked, we were able to bundle it up enough to get it into the car. That was the fastest and most exhausting tear down ever. I made it as far as Albuquerque and crashed.

The wind was unreal the next day, the trip up 54 was treacherous, and at times visibility non-existent.

When I got to Wichita, I found Baymont, and the room was so calming that I stayed an extra night to get a real night’s sleep, and Sadie loved it too. I really needed to recover from an exhausting few days. It was warm, birds were chirping, there were trees just outside the window in bloom, delightful.

And then back to it, heading home. All was well until a few miles before Bevington, when I heard tapping, and saw a pull off, and heading up a slight incline the tap turned into serious KNOCKS.

Oil was pouring out in the middle of the engine, not drips, but flowing out… poured all the oil I had in and limped to Bevington. I got there, but then water, water, everywhere, COLD water?!?!?!

From there, a tow to Subaru in Des Moines, a terminal diagnosis, and after 6 years, my dear Subaru is off to the junkyard…

OH DOES THAT SUCK. But the timing was… well… it could have been a lot worse. Suffice it to say, I got almost ZERO work done!

Out with the old… in with the new! Monday, Monday…

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