February 3, 2011

Texas, Before It Froze

I'm sure you've all seen the pictures on the news by now of the massive winter storm that swept the nation. And as I look out my window, I keep thinking to myself about what I see, "and this is just from the southern tip of the storm!"

We are grateful that this is where we are, because it could be a different story for us.

But, I know many of you are tired of winter, so let me tell you about Texas before it froze instead.

Let's go back to the weekend.
We got a load from North Dakota to Houston, TX and on Sunday we reached southern Oklahoma.

We pulled off at a rest area to let the girls out and check the tires and relish the warm air for a few minutes. I know it doesn't look warm, but it was 65 degrees and climbing.

The girls were thrilled, though it was still a little cooler than they like. I knew they were happy though. I can always judge how they feel about the weather by how long Paris spends snooping. She doesn't tolerate the cold. Miss Skinny finally, after 4 years, has some meat on her bones and I love her little pudge rolls. She has been so much happier since she gained weight. I think the cold is less harsh for her.
Back on the road, across the Red River
and into Texas...land of yummy food, real sweet tea, and southern accents (among many other delights)

By the time we reached Dallas it was 70 degrees. It was a WONDERFUL!
I'm not a big city girl. In fact, I'm not even an small city girl. We've discussed this before! However, I can't help but admire the beauty of the designs of the buildings. Architects are artists in business suits.

We did laugh at ourselves a bit for gawking. Its not like we've not seen Dallas before. We've been through many times, but for some reason this trip through, there was a lot catching our eye! If anyone looked in our truck too closely, they probably thought we were a couple of hillbillies from Montana, the way we were pointing and staring, etc.
One of the fanciest billboards I've ever seen.
The biggest complaint we had was the traffic, even on a Sunday. Having spent the last month cruising back and forth across Montana and North Dakota with minimal traffic and wide open spaces all to ourselves, Dallas felt a little claustrophobic.
South of Dallas, and after we'd stopped for dinner, we ran into some beautiful clouds. It looked like a summertime sky!
I don't usually "see things" in the clouds, but this one was so obvious, even I couldn't miss the duck.
It showed up better in person.

The beautiful clouds turned into thunderstorms by sunset. There was lots of lightening and rain, and after we parked I cracked the window to enjoy the thunder while I waited for sleep to over take me.

Monday morning Malcolm got up early and drove into Houston, arriving right at daylight. We delivered a load of malt to Anheiser Busch on a very foggy morning.

From there we went south to Freeport, TX to the port where we loaded rice bran.

The rice bran wasn't so interesting, and besides I'm not supposed to have the camera out while in the port. BUT...no one said I couldn't take pictures before I got inside the port, and the sections of wind turbines being unloaded were interesting enough for pictures.

and also I enjoyed the novelty of palm trees in their landscaping, but maybe even more so, I enjoyed the very green grass.

Loaded up and headed back north to a town east of Dallas. We had to drive back through Houston, where the fog had lifted, the sun was shining and it was 74 degrees!!!!!!! (I'll stop on the exclamation points, but can you tell how much we enjoyed that!!!!!!!)
We had the windows down, the radio turned up, and the sunglasses on. It was such a treat!
And Houston is huge! Can you see if all spread out up there on the horizon? 
We took 288 right into the heart of town where we picked up I-45 to head north towards Dallas.
On the north side of Houston, I-45 runs through a lot of miles of shopping districts. There was lots to look at as far as citified sight seeing goes.

North of town we passed this large statue of Sam Houston, near the Sam Houston State University. I thought it was a neat way of honoring a very historical character of both Texas and the United States.

As we traveled on north of the city, one of the strangest things that caught our attention were the road signs. You know the ones that light up and they can change the messages that are written on them as to road conditions, amber alerts, etc? Well we knew the weather forecast, but at 74 degrees and with summer like sunshine to bask in, it was hard to absorb the reality of the threat. Until we saw the signs in Houston. But still, with such warm temperatures, the messages seemed somehow like a strange joke being played.

Really? De-icing...with it as warm as it is?

That was Monday. We arrived at the receiver that evening around 10:00 and it was 60 degrees. Tuesday we woke up at 6:00am and it was 23 and sleeting. It was like waking in another world. The roads never got icy where we were unloading. I think the ground was still too warm, thankfully. We went east to Arkansas to reload and were there till midnight, when we were finally loaded and got to head back west.

Malcolm was driving and I woke when we reached north of Dallas, because of the bumpiness of the roads and all the turns he was making. I couldnt' figure out why he was stopping and turning so much. I found out when I got up. We had planned to add some miles to our trip by going around the south side to Lubbock and then cross country to New Mexico, hopefully skipping all the winter roads. But there were so many accidents going that way that the interstate was basically closed. Apparently it wasn't far enough south to get out of the ice. So Malcolm had made an executive decision to go ahead and take the north route, saving us miles, since either route was going to have road issues. The bumpiness that woke me was the ruts and holes in the snow packed roads. It was worse than driving on a corduroy road! For about 100 miles from Dallas to Witchita Falls the roads were horrible and there were trucks and cars off in the ditch all over the place, trailers snapped in half from wrecks, loads scattered in the ditch, it was a mess!!!

But past Witchita Falls, the roads cleaned up and dried up and the rest of our trip was smooth sailing.

I started this post on Wednesday morning as we were driving those icy roads, but it was SO bumpy I gave up and quit. I couldn't type or even see what I was doing on the screen. As I finish this on Thursday morning, we're just crossed into California. Its 42 degrees and climbing. The girls are happy again, or getting there. I think they thought I was playing a cruel joke on them when I told them it would be warm in California. They were VERY upset with me when we took them out to potty in New Mexico and it was 1 degree with snow covered ground.

After we deliver over here in Victorville, we are hanging out till tomorrow. We reload down in Long Beach at the Port of Los Angelas. Then we're headed to Nashville! It will be a nice trip for the weekend, and hopefully (fingers crossed) enough time for Oklahoma to clean up its roads before we get there! That's the only state we will go through that has had major storm problems. So it sounds like a nice trip for the weekend with a destination we love to go to. Hoping for shopping time in Amarillo, and maybe dinner with my sister and her fiance when we get to Nashville. Fingers crossed!


Kris Watson said...

In my job, I frequently sit in my bedroom at a 3' square table, working on the computer from sunrise to sometimes midnight. The posts you make are a joy to me. Thank you so much.

Muffy's Marks said...

Thanks for letting me come along!

Dreaming said...

We drove around Dallas to Wichita Falls just over 2 weeks ago. It's hard to believe that you experienced such terrible weather. Glad you made it safely through the gauntlet!
This is one crazy winter all over the world!

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm glad to know you got through that mess safely. I hope the roads are cleared out for you on the trip back. I know lots of Arabian horse people will be making the trip across heading towards Scottsdale for the big show. I sure hope the roads are safe for them as well. Scary times for a lot of people in those states not used to dealing with such driving conditions.

Shirley said...

Ed was shut down for that storm, it must have been bad for truckers across the US. At least you skirted most of the worst of it, bet you are glad you weren't any where near Chicago!
Your little dog butt shot made me laugh.

Janice said...

Sure glad you missed most of that or did you get nailed somewhere else on your travels. I'm hoping you are curled up somewhere safe and warm.This has really been an odd winter especially for you guys across the border. I caught just a bit of some news the other day and they were showing a bunch of fountains in Phoenix that had become ice fountains...now that was a sight.

small farm girl said...

Isn't it nice to know that spring is just around the corner? lol

Jim Fisher said...

Ya'll got out of Texas right in time. Friday San Antonio and Houston were shut down all morning. Ice and more ice.