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Thoughts for the Road

ThoughtsForTheRoad

By Kay Peterson #1, Escapees RV Club Co-founder and Director

Most full-time RVers head south when the leaves start turning color. Stragglers getting a late start often find themselves in unexpected snow storms. In an automobile, this can pose a serious problem. We were towing a 30-foot Airsteam with a three-quarter-ton pickup.

It was in prehistoric times, probably 1974, and the beginning of November, when we reached the base of Raton Pass in Colorado. We had been driving for some time in a light drizzle, but we knew a first-class blizzard was nipping at our heels. We inquired at a service station about the road conditions on the pass, which is very steep.

“The road is clear now, but it’ll be snowed in by morning,” a service station manager told us.

The map showed a rest area at the top of the pass, so we decided to go for it. We would have made it if a semi-trailer a little ahead of us had not jackknifed, bringing all southbound traffic to a complete standstill. At the time, we were about one-third of the way up the hill.

The light drizzle had built itself into a thin layer of ice. Then it began to snow. By the time the traffic was finally able to move, we were stuck. Joe could not move forward, but he was able to back up enough to get further over into the outside lane. Other traffic in the outside lane appeared stuck also. Snowplows were trying to keep the passing lane open, causing more snow to pile up around us.

We turned the engine off and, struggling through snow, made it to the trailer. It was warm and cozy because we had left the propane furnace on. I heated up a stew, and we were eating supper when a knock came at the door.

It was a red-faced policeman who peered in and growled, “What are you doing?”

“Having supper,” Joe said. “Would you like to join us?”

Maybe if we had been shivering and standing knee-deep in snow, like he was, his reaction would have been different. Our being neither uncomfortable nor hysterical seemed to upset him. “You can’t stay here!” he shouted.

“We’re stuck. I don’t think we have any choice,” Joe said calmly. “What do you suggest we do?”

“I’ll call a tow truck!” he said. It sounded like a threat.

“That’s a good idea,” Joe relied. “We were trying to make it to the roadside rest area at the top of the pass. Do you think we could get a tow that far?”

I handed the officer a cup of hot coffee, which he accepted in a sort of daze. He was shaking his head as he headed to his police car.

After a while, we got our tow, and a snowplow even cleared a path for us into the roadside rest where we spent a comfortable night while a blizzard raged around us.

I wonder, after the police officer had time to think about it, if he realized what a great lifestyle RVing is. Maybe the memory of us caused him to become an RVer after he retired.

Today, many of the adventures we had in our early RV pioneering days are solved with cell phones and advance weather warnings. Like the good old days when families gathered at Grandma’s house for the holidays, sometimes—just sometimes—I miss those days before Grandma started RVing, too.

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