Friday, January 08, 2010

Day 10 – Monday, Dec 7th

Monday morning after breakfast we packed up the truck and headed over to Cabela’s to do some shopping before we left Fort Worth. It seems strange that there are no major outfitters in Oregon. The nearest Outdoor World or Cabela’s is in Idaho.

We stopped at a UPS store to ship some things back home, and then hit the road toward New Mexico. As night fell, the temperatures dropped further – it had already been pretty cold in Dallas when we left, and we kept hearing news stories of a cold snap approaching. I was driving, and had the windshield wipers going because it was kind of misty out, not raining. The wipers started making scraping sounds against the windshield, and I knew the mist was freezing before the wipers could work. As I drove us onto a bridge I recalled about a hundred signs we had seen on the way that say bridges freeze first. These thoughts were going through my head when we hit ice and the tires lost contact with the ground, just for a second, but enough to scare the bejeezus out of me. DH told me I did a good job keeping control of the car, and that we’d have to slow down to less than 40mph, which felt so strange to me since we were on the freeway. I slowed down and was glad to come up behind someone who was going only 20mph. I let that guy be the pace car, and I followed. There were 2 lanes of traffic going our direction. Twice, another vehicle tried to pass us and then obviously changed their minds and fell back behind us. Several times we were passed by faster cars, only to have me pass them again later as they were in the median facing the wrong direction, or something like that. As time passed it seemed all we were doing was weaving our way through car wrecks.

We stopped once for pizza, then pushed on about 30 more miles to a truck stop town where a La Quinta Inn had just opened up a month before. It was a nice, brand new building. As we waited to check in, I noted that 2 guests before me and a third one on the phone were complaining about their rooms – key not working, heater not working, things like that. DH and I are frequent enough travelers, and after the incident in Denver, we had made a rule that we now check the room before we bring up our luggage. After I saw all those complaints I made sure to do that. We took the key upstairs and entered a dark room – I saw towels on the floor and I knew the room had not been cleaned, but then I saw takeout containers on the counter and for the 2nd time that night had the bejeezus scared out of me because I assumed the room was occupied! I whispered a quick “sorry!” and backed out fast! New hotel rule – always use the interior lock when you’re in the room! We went back downstairs and reported the problem – perhaps the room was not occupied, as I don’t remember seeing luggage, but I didn’t walk in far enough to find out. For our trouble, the clerk upgraded our room to a king suite, which was very nice. We did laundry the next morning in their “laundry room” which was merely a single washer and dryer in a room that had not been cleaned since the place opened, evidently. There was no chair or trash can or any amenities to speak of. It was a strange hotel.

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