Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

February 28th, 2009:

The Great Tumbleweed Migration

aerosnoozingI worried needlessly. By the time we got on the road at 10 AM, the sun had dried out I-80 completely, and we did the 410 miles to Des Moines without incident, though the temps did not get above 20F. We’re now kicking back and taking it easy; less than 350 miles remain, and at this point I could do that standing on my head.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was the Great Tumbleweed Migration on I-76 in the northeast corner of Colorado. We had a strong wind out of the north, and for a 20-mile stretch past Julesburg, the weeds were rolling across the Interstate by the hundreds like some weird animals, in many sizes and shapes. Carol tried to get a video, but it’s not as impressive as I’d hoped, and certainly not good enough to post. When we hit a rest stop in Nebraska I found pieces of tumbleweed stuck in my bumpers and there’s probably plenty more elsewhere under the chassis.

And of course, we left Colorado just in time for the temps there to start creeping up into the 70s. Not bad for February, and apparently our best-kept secret. (This is nothing new.)  Golf at Christmas. Ski at Easter. And vice versa.  I rarely appreciate it until I leave.

Heat of Fusion

moonvenus022709Well, we’re off to Chicago again, driving that familiar I-80 corridor, and yesterday got as far as North Platte, Nebraska. The target was Kearney, or at least Lexington, but winter threw us a curve: As we left Colorado on I-76, the temperature started to drop, and the quick dusting of snow that had passed over the area an hour or so earlier was freezing on the pavement, making the left lane a first-order approximation of glass. In fifteen miles we passed two rollover accidents, and speed was down in the 45 MPH range. Driving that stuff in the light of an overcast sky was bad enough. Driving it at night was right out. So we stopped at a nice Holiday Inn at North Platte. The free broadband is about dialup speed, but at least it’s there.

As we took the puppies out for a walk last night in 15° temps, I tried to get a shot of the conjunction of the Moon and Venus on a dark, unplowed road behind the hotel. The shot above isn’t bad, considering it was a snapshot from a handheld camera (my new Canon G10) that I still don’t know how to use in any detail.

We’re about to load the car and get back on the frozen roads, wishing that the heat of fusion of water was a little lower, so that the Sun would clear the ice a little sooner. It’s +4° right now, and it may be a slow haul to Des Moines. We’ll soon see.