Yesterday, I drove through a snowstorm all the way from El Paso, TX, to Santa Rosa, NM, only to get there and find the I-40 eastbound onramp shut down. I was trying to get to Amarillo, TX, to do a job, and I had even already booked a hotel for the night in Amarillo.
I decided to try to take an alternative route (famous last words) and found myself travelling alone on a lonesome highway in the middle of nowhere. At first things were going pretty well, but then I kept running into some very deep patches of snow and snow drifts. My Hyundai Sonata 4-cylinder car was miraculously able to keep going through all the snowy roads, but I just wasn't sure how long this would last. My cellphone and GPS still had signal so at least I was able to make sure that I wasn't getting super-far from the interstate or civilization.
After about 35 miles I noticed a ranch house by the side of the road with the lights on, so I pressed reset on the odometer trip counter so that if I got stuck I would know how far back it was. The road seemed to be getting better, and I was cruising right along, but then all of the sudden I came plowing into some really deep snow on an uphill incline and got completely stuck right in the middle of the road. It was 9:00pm.
I spent about 40 minutes trying to dig myself out, so that I could at least reverse back the way I came and get to the ranch house, but there was no use. I finally realized that it wasn't going to work, and that it was only getting later, colder, and windier the longer I waited. I switched into survival-mode and layered on every piece of clothing that I had with me in the car. I hadn't even planned on spending a night out of town when I left the house, but thankfully I still had some extra clothes with me in the car (having a messy car sometimes pays off because you always have what you need for survuval). I then packed my laptop, cellphone, and GPS into my backpack and set out.
I abandoned the car and set out for the ranch house which my odometer told me was 1 and 1/2 miles away (had I not known exactly where I was going it would have been safer to stay with the car until morning). The house was very well lit so I hoped that I wasn't waking anyone up when I knocked on their door after 10 o'clock at night.
A young couple came to the door and were a little bit shocked to see ANYONE out in the middle of nowhere where they lived in this kind of weather! The young man called his dad who lived 8 miles away to bring over his 4-wheel drive to come and pull my car out. It took us a little while, but we finally were able to pull the car out. I then drove it about 10 miles to the rancher's house where I was put up in a nice guest house for the night.
And that's where I am right now as I write this post!
In a few hours the rancher is going to have the worst part of the road back to Santa Rosa (the way I came in last night) somewhat cleared because his son is also heading that way later to go to a rodeo somewhere near Albuquerque. Then I can get on the I-40 westbound in Santa Rosa and head back to Phoenix (east is still closed).
I'm just going to have to do my job in Amarillo on another trip. In the words of the rancher who I'm staying with, I'm like the mouse who no longer wants the cheese, I just want out of the trap!