May 27, 2012
Our motorhome is parked in the Cottonwood Campground at Canyon de Chelly (d’SHAY) at Chinle in northeast Arizona. We thought the day before yesterday was pretty bad with wind and dust…but yesterday was something else!
Yesterday morning Mary and I took our towed Ford Bronco II for a day trip along the south rim of Canyon de Chelly. After about 30 minutes, the wind and dust were so bad we decided to abort our trip and return to the motorhome. At this time winds were estimated to be a constant 60+ miles per hour…and it got worse during the midafternoon when I guess-timated at 70 to 80 miles an hour. Mary guess-timated one gust at 100 miles per hour!
In my 17 years as a full-time RVer, I’ve been in my share of high wind and dust storms…but this one ranks as the worst.
The below photos were taken around 10:00 AM and the video at noon. By around 2:00 PM it was really howling! Our motorhome was struck by a couple of smaller tree branches…apparently no damage resulted.
As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…
This next photo was taken on the way back to the motorhome. Note the black on the lower left and upper right…because of the dust my protective lens shutter did not fully open. I had to give my camera a good cleaning once we got back to the motorhome…
A 180 degree panorama of the campground taken at the front of our motorhome…
This group of trees are about 250 feet from our motorhome…
Here’s the link to my 40 second video…
Like I said earlier…by mid-afternoon it got worse…it was really howling.
Fortunately…this is a rare happening. 99% of the time I’m in delightful weather! Today is supposed to be 69 degrees, sunny with a gentle breeze.
In other news…
In my last two Blog entries I mentioned having problems uploading photos to my Picasa Web Albums. We’ll I’m finally caught up.
Just in case you care and desire to see the photos that you missed because of my Internet signal problems for the last two days…
This link will bring you to my 126 photos taken at the Hubbell Trading Post…
and this link will bring you to my 64 photos taken on the north rim of Canyon de Chelly…
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
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March 8, 2011
I got up this morning and opened the door of the motor home only to have the wind whip it out of hand and slam it against the side. Whew! Headed for the spa, and came home feeling like I was about to be blown over. We did the wash before we left Soledad Canyon and the washroom doors kept blowing open and slamming closed in the wind. Once on the road, in the distance we could see sand blowing everywhere.
It was loud and bumpy and we knew we were hearing noises we’d never heard before. A woman frantically waved at us, then a second person right behind that vehicle was trying to tell us something. Jim stopped and did a walk around and the back spare wheel attachment with the bike rack was blowing open and slamming closed. Jim fixed it and on we went.
The wind was fierce and the dirt in the air got worse along with it. As we approached Mojave, there was a detour; several overpasses were closed down. We still didn’t connect it to the wind, wicked as it was. The next thing you know, a horrendous sound gave us to know something unwelcome had happened. It was the awning.
It blew open. Against the pressure of the wind, Jim struggled to get both sides even, the lock un-engaged and the awning rolled back in place.He got some rope pieces and tied the support bars. It was up, and I continually watched it from the window and watched the wind passing through two inch gaps between he layers of the rolled awning. The raising strap kept beating a tattoo against he side, then the roof and back to the side.Then we saw our first 18 wheeler over on its side about 200 feet behind us.
In less than a quarter mile, we passed two more 18 wheelers over. We began to understand that this storm was nothing to fool around with. Jim slowed from 45 to 40 miles per hour.
People headed for off ramps or an overpass were blocked and parked on the side of the road. The CHP had closed several of them in the area hit hardest by the wind. Probably after this guy went over.
I could see that his airbag had deployed. He was on an overpass.
Jim slowed to 35 miles per hour.
As we approached Tehachapi, pass there were caution signs for campers and high trucks. At every pull out were motor homes, and campers, and trucks and cars stopped, waiting out the storm.
We debated about stopping, but at a low rate of speed, we crawled along.
People who felt they were unwieldy with trailers, motorcycles, and odd loads pulled out to wait. We couldn’t find a place to pull over, after debating, without obstructing the road, so we soldiered on.
Finally, down on the other side of Tehachapi, a huge storm cloud looked about to dump some rain, but didn’t.