the road to colorado: part 3: a very long day

My alarm went off at 2:30 AM. I walked inside the truck stop ladies room and splashed my face, made coffee, and grabbed a snack and got back on the road by 2:49AM.

I finally made it to Gallup, New Mexico at 5:45 AM with great prices at $3.49/gallon!

I happily munched on the Panera bagels that had been shared at church the day before.

Sunrise and bug splatter windows, sorry! 

I was SO happy when the Sun began to rise! The hardest part was over! I had made it through the night!

or so I thought.

Night may have been over, but the hardest part was not over. Just the second hardest. I now had to stay awake, and a major detour lay ahead of me, getting in the way of my schedule and causing my arrival time to be much much later.

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I was in Albuquerque, NM just before 8:00 AM and I attempted to locate a credit union, as I had one check that needed to be deposited. I was unsuccessful in locating a co-op credit union even though I waited til 9 AM for one branch to open, only to discover it was not a co-op, so I gave up and continued on. (I did however take advantage of the 15 minutes I waited to walk around the parking lot about 20 times.)

I started seeing odd signs about a freeway closure, but they had very little information so I continued to drive on. Because of the little sleep I had, I had to stop more frequently and get up and stretch or drink ice tea. At one rest area, I sat down on the sidewalk and did a bunch of yogalates-like stretches (not actual yoga).  Not far from that stop, I pulled up to a no facilities rest area and parked in the shade and napped for 15 minutes. The longer I went, the more tired I got.

I continued on and finally found a gas station after a long stretch of nothing. I stopped in Wagon Mound, NM at 12:15 PM where the cashier told me more information about the freeway closure and the fire at the border. I asked her what she recommended I do and she showed me on the map and assured me I would be able to make it through on the bypass/detour.  I began listening to a local radio station after that, which may or may not have been a bad idea. I started getting concerned and worrying. I still had 5 hours and 40 minutes to go, at 345 miles, and I was supposed to arrive by 5:30 PM. Worry worry worry.

The closer I got to Raton, NM, the bigger the smoke directly in front of me got. I was getting uncomfortable with how close I was getting to the smoke, and pulled off the fwy to look for a bathroom. Oddly enough, I pulled up to the NRA Whittington Center.  As I drove into the Center ranch style entrance, I was startled by a deer on the side of the road. Yes, it was alive!

(The deer was resting as I left, but had been standing in the same spot when I drove up)

I paused to pray and whispered for God’s help and guidance in the decisions I made as my plans had gone up in smoke.  I ran in to use the bathroom and then talked to the front desk girl for quite some time about what she thought I should do, what would be best and what the detour was like, if it was hilly or steep.  They were recommending the East bound detour, and my gut was feeling the Westbound detour, but after I looked at the difference in elevation and listened to the local experts, I decided to follow their advice instead of my uninformed gut, which was basically just afraid of the smoke.

closer.

and closer.

thankfully the detour was not much farther past this smoke, and took me eastbound and away from the fire, instead of northbound on the 25 interstate as it appeared. What should have taken an hour and a half to get from Wagon Mound to Trinidad, CO just north of the Colorado border, took a 130 mile detour at 2+ hours,  putting my total trip at 1300 miles instead of 1200.

I was getting really worried about gas, and if I had enough to make it to Northern Colorado. I think that God extended my “oil”, like he did with Elijah and the Widow in the Old Testament. I don’t have any hard proof of course, but the needle hardly moved for much of the detour.

The detour was long, winding and slow, as it was a narrow farm road, but thankfully the traffic did not stop.  By the end of the detour I was so relieved to be back on the interstate 25 and finally in Colorado. Who knows…maybe that detour was needed so that I would stay awake and alert. God’s ways are higher and incomprehensible oftentimes.

I sent a message to my Worship Team coordinator to let him know about the detour and delay and my expected arrival time almost 3 hours later than I had hoped and he assured me not to worry and gave me the address of where I was to come to meet everyone.

I stopped in Pueblo, CO at 5:30 PM for dinner and to change out of my 24 hour clothes. I freshened up with wet-wipes. I am convinced the cashier girl thought that I was homeless and did her best not to touch me when I handed her the money for my kids meal at Wendy’s. haha. or maybe she was just rude and forgot to put on her customer service people skills on that evening. lol. I didn’t smell that bad! haha

I ate in the car and gassed up for the last time with just over 3 hours and 181 miles to go. I couldn’t wait to be done. My right heel started hurting from the pressure of driving for so long. I drove through Colorado Springs and Denver, CO and was so excited to be almost done with my journey.

I finally pulled up to the school just before 8:30 PM and appeared that they were just getting started. Huge sigh of relief. I was so glad that I made it, and I could not wait to get into bed and take a shower.

1365 miles later, my journey was over, and just beginning.

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