Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tumbleweed territory

Oakley, KS – We’re in a new state and a new time zone tonight, in the heart of cowboy country. Strong winds whistled across the wide plains that we drove through today, scooping up balls of tumbleweed and sending them bouncing across the highway.

We had a couple of delays in getting out today. One was a cute little bunny rabbit that sat quietly in front of the RV twitching its little nose, even after Val started the engine!  He had to get out and encourage the little puff ball to move along before he could get moving.

We had been waiting for the RV park office to open, which during its winter hours is not until 10 am, so that we could get the propane tank filled before setting out.  When you have to run the furnace all night in these cool times, the contents of the LP gas tank get used up. Finally, at 10 o’clock, the office opened, and that’s when we learned that the guy who’s trained to pump LP gas didn’t come on till three in the afternoon!

The feed store in town had an LP filling station, we were told, so we drove in only to find out they only filled portable tanks, not the ones built in to the RV.  Besides, there was no space to pull up to the tank anyway. So, we headed out to the interstate with an eye out for a place where we could fill up before reaching our destination.

Val had to keep a strong hold on the steer-ing wheel on I-70 because of the gust-ing wind.  Every time we went through an underpass, the wind sucked us to the right and pushed us left again when we exited.  On those huge, wide-open plains, there’s just nothing around that can slow the wind down.

People planted windbreaks of evergreen trees around their farmhouses as a bit of a barrier, and along the few rivers along our route there were clumps of cottonwood trees, but other than that, the land was unbroken save for the yellowed stubble of last year’s corn crops. Some of the fields were sprouting green, especially the ones supported by irrigation equipment.

We spotted a few pump jacks, but the main output of the land appears to be crops. Huge silos and piles of cylindrical hay bales were a common sight.

We found a truck stop before our turnoff where we could fill up the propane tank, so we’ll be cosy all night tonight – although we’re told it won’t be as cold as it has been at higher elevations the last few nights. That means we won’t have to disconnect the water hose.

Here in Oakley, there is a museum of dinosaur bones and fossils which we thought we’d visit tomorrow, but it is closed on Sundays.  There’s also a monument to Buffalo Bill, which we’ll see on our way out of town.

No comments: