Blowin' in the wind...

Trip Start Jan 01, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, October 21, 2007

   Racing the last two nights was great, and we enjoyed having a chance to catch up with JP - unfortunately, the car he was with spun and was wrecked out of the race pretty early on. And our friends Gary and kathy came out to the races last night, so we had a good time with them, as always.
  JP came over this morning and had breakfast with us - he had heard some mention of Santa Ana winds coming in, so we checked it online, and were expecting to be battling some pretty high winds, in both his and our directions.   Well, it turns out our direction is the worst - we're below the Cajon Pass, where it says on the internet the gusts are 85, and the steady winds are probably 35-40, and I believe it!  We've pulled over, as have many of the semis..  It's so scary - we've put down our jacks, but it feels like we could blow over at any minute.  There was a lighted warning sign for high profile vehicles just before the winds hit, but Greg wasn't going to pull off 'til he saw that all the big rigs had done so.  Our living room awning on the driver's side unrolled and rolled back up as we went over a little gullly bridge before we stopped.  Don't know how long we're going to be sitting here, but I wish we had just pulled off the freeway to wait all day, if necessary. Not at all the type of excitement I would call fun.  We've been stopped over an hour now - the awning has unrolled, sailed, and re-rolled 4 more times.  We've got the jacks down, but it still feels like we could roll.  The high wind warning is until 6 pm tonite, so I don't know how long we'll sit here.  Greg's got the race on TV, and I've been trying to stay focused on the computer to keep from the making sharp intakes of breath that really tick him off!  A motorcyclist stopped in front of us for a while, but he must have decided it was harder to stand still and hold his bike up against the wind than it was to ride through it.  The dust is so thick up ahead and behind us that visibility is VERY low.   A California Highway Patrolman came and knocked on our door - wanted to be sure we were ok - told me to stay online, play a game and relax!  Pretty funny!  A semi pulled over 3 up from us had one of those black tarp wraps over the top, about 90% of which is blowing over the right side  -  and the wind is too heavy to get out and try to do anything to problems like that.  I recently read where an awning blew off a motorhome and killed a passing motorist, and I know they can do a bunch of damage to the rig and the stuff on top of the rig, so I'm not anxious to start moving to see how many times it'll roll itself back up!  I've never been in this much wind in my life, at least not that I can remember!  We are rocking so much that the keys hanging on the key hooks up front here are swinging about 20 degrees back and forth!.
  Greg's settled back, got the TV on satellite, and is watching the Nascar Race - which I think is the only reason we're still stopped - he'd just as soon drive through it, I think, but he knows how nervous I am about it.
   MUCH LATER:  We sat there on the side of I-15 Northbound for about five and half or six hours, when it began to feel like maybe the gusts weren't so strong, so we prepared to move on.  I checked the CA DOT website to check out what things looked like up ahead, and discovered that a couple of vehicles had burned, causing some extra tie-ups.  Next thing we knew, we saw the dark smoke that we knew to be caused by burning brush, spreading rapidly along the creek, less than a mile in front of us and threatening nearby homes.  By the time we merged back into the almost-stopped traffic, I read online that the 15 North was closed up ahead because of the fires.  So, when we got up to the next exit, (after passing a blown-over semi tractor and trailer on our side of the road and seeing a burned out semi on the other side) we took it, and made and end-around run to get on I-215, which, by the time we got there, had a sign posted stating that it, too was closed ahead.  We kept driving, however, and discovered that it, and I-15 North had just been opened - timing is everything, I guess!  (Southbound I-15, however, was now closed because the fire had jumped the freeway, and the usually heavy Sunday night "coming back from Vegas" traffic was lined up, four lanes wide, for about 12 miles up the Cajon Pass!)
   From this point on, things flowed smoothly, and we knew that, once again, we had escaped unscathed from another MIS-adventure!  As we've said in the past (with thanks to Will Shakespeare!)  - All's Well That Ends Well!
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