Snowing on June 23rd!!


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North America » United States » Nebraska » Ogallala
June 23rd 2019
Published: July 3rd 2019
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Summit near Laramie WyomingSummit near Laramie WyomingSummit near Laramie Wyoming

Highest point on I-80
June 23
Oh wow what a morning, I was woke up by David rustling around in his rain jacket waking the dogs. My first thought was what the heck is going on. David then said he wanted to get the dogs out and then get sewer and water disconnected before it started raining again. Our son’s camper was next door and I could see he was up and disconnecting too. Everyone leaves today, us, our son, and my brother but 7:30???? Begrudgingly both Dottie and I got out of bed and she went to David for a quick trip out. I got dressed and noticed how bad the weather outside was and how damn cold it was in the trailer. I beelined for the furnace to turn it on and the electric fireplace too! It was 36 out on June 23rd. Then I noticed it was actually snowing!! OMG! Our stay here has been wind and cool temperatures requiring my sweat shirt most of the time. This last week has been wet with tornado warnings and wind so bad I gave up and put the satellite dish down a week ago. We almost put the slides in as they tended to shutter so bad. I have wondered for the last 19 days how I ever lived in Laramie for 31 years. I think a case of just not knowing any better.

David was back with the dogs who were cold to the point of shivering. My son was busy closing up his camper and I started shutting ours down by closing the bedroom slides after getting everything ready to go. David finished up and came in and I started making breakfast for us and our sons family. As I handed David a cup of hot coffee, I said I’m not leaving in the snow!!! Heading east meant driving over the mountain pass we call the summit which is alway treacherous in the winter. It is the highest pass on I-80, 8640 ft. I just made it clear if it didn’t warm and dry up I wasn’t taking this trailer from this spot. You know David readily agreed! LOL. Our son was going south, mountains but not near that high. My brother would be going through Wheatland canyon and not so high.

I fixed breakfast burritos for all of us and we enjoyed a warm breakfast. The trailer was warm but the men were still hugging their coffee cups from being so wet and cold outside. David enjoyed a second cup of coffee and I sat teary eyed drinking my tea. It was so hard to see my son leave, and his family. I’ve really enjoyed the two weekends with them but they went fast and we were busy the whole time. My boys will always be my babies, and they are so very special to me. Grandkids are great, but always something special about our boys! We are blessed for sure. So it’s hard to say goodbye each time because there is never enough time to hug and kiss the two wonderful men they’ve become. So with tears in my eyes we gave everyone a hug and watched their camper pull out. The snow and rain had stopped now, it was 10:30 am. I started getting the dishes all cleaned up when Karen showed up at the door. I was surprised that her and my brother hadn’t left yet, he’s the kind that’s up and gone really early. Karen was most distressed about the weather and in addition they’d had an issue with their slide in their RV. I guess they got it in but she said it was another thing of a long list of things that just seem to be getting broken in the RV. They were quite anxious about the weather too. I told her that David and I had agreed we wouldn’t leave until about noon giving the summit a chance to warm up and dry off. A few minutes later my brother showed up, in a completely soaked jacket saying is Karen here, I’m leaving! They both gave us quick hugs and headed out the door. I finished cleaning up and David finished unhooking and getting ready to hitch up the truck. As they say we got loaded and connected, without a hitch! Meaning without a problem and by noon we were pulling out. David was raving about being tired of this god forsaken country with the wind and rain. I must admit I was feeling the same way.

For now I was just focused on the next 50 miles up over the summit to Cheyenne. Forecasts in Nebraska were dry roads for now but I was worried we’d just catch up to this darn storm front again as we headed east. As we approached the summit the roads were wet but the temperature was 39, no snow accumulation and trucks and car traffic were flowing well. We saw warning signs flashing a message of low visibility just as we hit a dense fog bank. I just turned on my flashers and lights and we continued on up and over the summit at about 50 mph and without difficulty. The fog worsened as we got on top and then the roads began to dry and fog disappeared just as we passed the one building town of Buford Wyoming. The rest of our drive, 234 miles total was good, dry roads but the storm front clearly visible before us and dark clouds overhead. As we got near Ogallala Nebraska there were actually some blue sky’s visible to the south of us but the north was very dark and you could smell the rain. At Ogallala we turned north for 8 miles on the worst concrete road I’ve ever been on. It wasn’t pot holes or cracks but a washboard surface that made the the truck and trailer almost chug-a-long to the point you couldn’t speak with out a vibrato voice. Going over 30 was just impossible and now the rain started. Well of course it was almost time to set up David said, it had to start raining now!! He wasn’t real happy either!! 8 miles later we were riding across the Lake McConaughey dam, with the same washboard road conditions. By now my fillings in my teeth were loose. Finally just north of the dam was out turn east to the campground below the dam and small lake, lake Ogallala. No the asphalt road wasn’t much better but only a mile or so left I kept telling myself. We had been here only once before in 2014 in September and it was so beautiful here we wanted to come back. The lake and campground are below the dam which rises 160 feet up. The water comes from the spillway on the south end of the dam and the water is only 51 degrees. The lake contains sport fish: Black Bass, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Channel Catfish, Rainbow Trout and Tiger Trout. All I know is that last timeout was here, I saw the biggest fish jump in that lake I darn near threw my line in without having a license! David had to hold me back, repeatedly saying, that fish isn’t worth going to jail!! This time I’m going to get a license. The lake is small between the two campgrounds on the east and west side. You could easily swim if you could stand the cold temperature. Only very small boats and canoes are seen in the lake. If you venture down towards the southwest end the spillway is a thrilling site as the water gushes out rising to 75 feet or so in the air like a giant fire hose spray, really an amazing sight.

As we arrived the rain was now pretty intense. Our campsite was on the second loop #39 right by the lake. As I maneuvered this 62 ft long train of truck and trailer down the narrow winding road we passed other campers out trying to set up in the rain with their vehicles dangerously close to the road. This campground has put 3 ft high telephone sized posts around the inside of the turns. As we would come through I had to keep the truck as wide throughout the turn so the trailer didn’t cut through and sideswipe the posts. This meant I had to nearly put our front brush bumper in the side or front of all the vehicles parked so close to the road. Let’s just say, I went slowly though the campground, really slow. When we got to our campsite we realized water faucet was no where in sight and we were nearly empty. A camper setting up advised us: “Your not going to like it but you’ve got to go all the way back out to space number one, the camp-host who has a hose and you can fill up and then come back.” OMG I thought again but we needed water. For a brief moment I thought about collecting the rain water off the trailer, it would be faster I thought. As I drive on past our spot at least I was able to size up my options for backing this big trailer in between those two gigantic cottonwoods and thinking, “Oh this will be fun!” David just groaned. As we approached space number 1 a man came driving up in his pickup truck honking. I was worried, had I inadvertently hit something with the trailer? It turned out to be the camphost coming to help us, he thought we were lost. David jumped out and in minutes we were taking on drinking water filling up our tank for our 4 day stay. Based on our experience at Flaming Gorge David was pretty sure how much we needed, about 83 gallons. No showers but we’d make due. The rain continued to the point that David’s rain jacket seemed soaked as he got back in the truck. We had to wind back through loop one, dodging those pesky posts on the turns and cars, trucks and kids bikes in the process before getting back out to the main road and back into our loop. As we got to our spot, David hopped out with his walkie-talkie and I pulled forward to get ready to back in. I’ve pulled and backed a lot of trailers but this 5th wheel is a different animal, so backing is a slow process. David makes it easy though because he guides me by talking into walkie-talkie and keeps an eye out for low hanging branches, both sides and the back of the trailer as well as front and back bumpers of the truck. We have a backup camera on the trailer but it doesn’t help that much, David is more reliable. So one might ask, so what the heck do I do if David’s doing all the watching, not much, just focused on the angle of the trailer turning and trying to line up to the campsight and following David’s direction. Frequently a campground assistant or host wants to tell me what to do, especially seeing I’m a woman. I don’t do anything except what David tells me in this situation, believe me doing what he says seems to only apply to parking the trailer!!! LOL. Within less than two minutes we had the trailer backed in and parked squarely between those two big cottonwoods! Yippie I was so proud of us and in the rain too! This space was supposed to only be 45 ft, which technically I think it is but our backend could extend well beyond the pavement so we do have room to park the truck. David and I agreed due to the rain we would not unhook but just back in plug in electric and call it good until tomorrow morning. David didn’t need to be out in the rain anymore.

We made it in the trailer, after a brief potty stop for the dogs and we got settled, turned on the fireplace to warm up and dry out. Chicken tenders from the freezer on tap for dinner and I finished watching a Bud & Abbout movie with the mummy while David and the dogs slept. Dottie was snuggled in on my lap, Red at David’s feet and all seemed right with the world. By 8:30 the rain had stopped, the sky cleared to reveal a beautiful sunset over the lake with a very large fish heard splashing back into the lake. I’ll get you tomorrow I thought, I’m too tired tonight!

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