Day 4 begins with an early morning awakening at 4 am. We know that we will be traveling through the edge of the winter storm and decide to check the weather conditions. Linda notices that there is a window between 4 & 8 am with zero precipitation and suggests that we get on our way. Kathy is hesitant to drive on the remote and darkened highway in freezing temperatures, but a mutual agreement is made and we decide to go for it. Linda starts out driving since Kathy is uncomfortable and not as confident driving in the dark and rainy conditions.
We seek refuge from the winter storm.
For several hours the trip is manageable and we encounter brief periods of light drizzle and some foggy patches. By mid-morning the rain changes to a heavy damp snow and begins sticking to the road. Finally we are able to pull into a rest stop to get a break from the weather. There are several other motorists doing the same thing. We turn on our generator and crank up the heat and enjoy a hot bowl of clam chowder soup while waiting out the storm. An hour later, the storm stops and the sky looks clear and we are back on the road again. There is about 1 inch of heavy wet snow on the ground.
I-40 interstate through New Mexico is very remote. We observe frosted white prairie grasslands that stretch as far as the eye can see. There are few trees, if any at all. As we continue westbound, large rock formations appear. They seem out of place as they rise above the barren flat lands.
Our gut feeling tells us to move on.
Our destination today is Gallup, NM. As we approach Gallup we notice there are several run down houses with junk and clutter in the yards. Many houses appear abandoned. When we stop there for gas the entire front of the building is barred like a prison. The town looks rough. We scope out two places where we were going to stay for the night, but don’t feel comfortable. So we continue on I-40 even though we have driven almost 500 miles.
We make it to Arizona!
We end up staying at the first rest stop in Arizona and it was a good decision. The rest stop is lovely and surrounded by large red rock formations. We walk around to exercise our legs and unwind before turning in for a much needed rest.
Our total mileage today is 507 miles, 13 hours on the road. Linda ended up driving the entire trip! Murphy jinxed us because we declared yesterday to be the worst driving day ever. We both agree that today was the worst driving day thus far and we’re hoping that it’s “smooth sailing” for the rest of the trip.