Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another Long Ride Home

The weather the entire time we were in Arizona during spring break of 2003 was anything but unseasonably warm. It is the Wisconsin Curse we carry with us wherever we go – it will be cold and if there is precipitation it will most likely be snow. Doesn’t matter if it is spring, summer or fall, the weather will more closely represent winter than any other season.

My daughter Val and I did brave the outdoor pool one day. The sun was at least shining, though the temperature was probably hovering just under 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the trip home, however, once again we were dogging snow showers.

We stopped at the Petrified Forest in Eastern Arizona and took a quick detour through the Painted Desert just north of there. The clouds hung menacingly thick and low in the atmosphere. We shivered in our spring jackets and tried to be the tough Wisconsin natives which we are. But it stinks to be cold when you are on Spring Break in the Southwest.

The weather, and our spirits, only got worse. By the time we started looking for a motel for the night, snow was falling thick and fast, in donut-size flakes. The first two hotels we stopped at in Las Vegas, New Mexico, were already full. Two cars pulled in behind us, their weary passengers also looking for a room.

I got back in the car, dejected. “No room in the inn,” I told my mom, my co-pilot.

She pointed to the two other cars. “They are looking for a room too. You better spin out of here if we are going to beat them to the next motel.”

Not words my mom usually uses. But we got the last room at the next place we stopped, the Palomino Motel.

And made it safely home two days later.

The picture has nothing to do with Arizona. It is of Lake Superior in May of 2003. But it does somehow remind me of the night we arrived at the Palomino Motel.

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