In a perfect world, even a slightly tattered one, my May 29th would have proceeded without racking up any more incidents. Not May 29th of 2011.
Back on highway 260, through Heber, with some stops to photograph the cemetery of a forest nine years after Arizona’s largest wildfire. (Pix and story soon to be posted).
The wind continued to punch me, sliding us across half a lane. Pounding, AWOOM, AWOOM, like brontosaurus farts.
Then a new sound–the sound of my door slamming. A quick look over my shoulder at the door which appeared to be properly secured. I pulled off to the side of the road and checked the door which seemed tight. I inspected the contents of my fridge and food lockers for any great shifts. Nothing amiss.
I drove on but the slam-bang hit again. Again I pulled over and opened the door. The wind took it from me with the strength of a gorilla. I walked around the coach testing my awning supports, my basement lockers, my bicycles secured to their rack—and saw nothing out of the ordinary.
I drove on, securing and locking the door. Every minute or two the demon that invaded the JS thumped. I stopped twice more for a complete walkaround without finding anything to secure. I proceeded down the highway slowing to 30-35 miles an hour.
Then a big bang. In the side view mirror I saw my 14-foot awning behind me, half off the road, flailing at the wind like a gale-shredded mainsail. Behind it, a pickup truck had stopped before running over it. The driver helped me toss it into a ditch.
I pulled off the road and spent the next hour dismantling struts and braces that were now hanging free. Then with a light foot on the pedal drove my wounded Jolly Swag on into Show Low. There to a McDonald’s for free Wi-Fi, a soda, and my first Micky D burger in a decade.
Here, while writing up my day’s adventures, I watch the wind outside flailing at the trees, whacking at the windows. I think it is still after me. If I were at sea, the sails would be down and I’d be hove to, riding out it until the gale abated.
With the manager’s permission, I park for the night in Micky D’s back lot, glad to have found a safe haven. Tomorrow I will deal with the repair project. I imagine I will be in Show Low for several days where I can learn more about the card game for which the town is named and whatever other local lore I can sleuth out.