We rarely post while in Texas in the winter and this year was no exception. If we did post, it would look something like this: "Worked, visited friends and family, worked." Now you are caught up on the last four months of our lives (mostly.) While home we mostly keep the camera in it's case and we just enjoy being in the moment when not working.
It was a great winter and we always love getting caught up with close friends and loved ones. As the time to leave draws near, it is sometimes more difficult to leave Central Texas than others and this year was one of those years. We are, however thankful for modern communication and rely on various modes of keeping in touch through out the year. Still, there is no substitute for being there.
The weekend we were to leave there was an event in Buda that was fascinating to watch: The Capital of Texas Police Motorcycle Chute Out. We left before the main competition, but we were able to see some practice runs. It would have been cool to see the real thing.
We needed to be in Phoenix by Monday, so we quickly left Austin as soon as Susan's job was finished (and before the wildflowers bloomed). Many folks complain about the West Texas landscape, but we find it beautiful. The towns are spaced far apart and the scenery gets dryer and dryer as you travel west. It is a long drive to get out of Texas, but we enjoy it.
Because of tired brains and a late start our first day, we only traveled a few hours to Junction, TX.
The next day we saw that another HDT couple was traveling east on I-10 near the same section of road we were driving. We estimated the time we would pass and got the camera ready. We caught a picture coming towards us and flashed our lights at each other.
It is always fun seeing those we know on the road, even if there is no time to stop and visit.
We stayed the next night in Lordsburg, NM.
We parked in another truck stop for the night and got a semi-good night's sleep. Since Arby's has a mean breakfast burrito and it was just across the street, we decided to eat there for breakfast. Normally out meal stops aren't a big deal, but we arrived just after the police hauled away an angry inebriated man who threw a large rock through the restaurant window.
It was a beautiful sunrise beyond the shattered glass, don't you think? The clerk was still a bit shaken. The rock (about 7-8 inches in diameter) didn't hit anyone, but it did fly all the way across the inside of the seating area. It was pretty think glass and that man must have had a pretty good arm to break the window in his drunken state. I wanted to get a picture of the rock, but they picked it up before Susan thought to get her camera out. (She must get better about these things!)
Once we hit the road, we saw some pretty cool cloud formations.
The interstate in Arizona had been closed recently due to dust storms, so we make sure we drove past that area in the morning before winds had a chance to pick up. It was dusty-looking and we could see how wind could pick up the soil in dry conditions. Fortunately, all the soil remained on the ground during our trip!
New Mexico and Arizona were beautiful drives and we continued to enjoy the changing landscape as we drove.
We arrived south of Phoenix on Monday as planned and began to experience what we would experience all week: dust. Dust was everywhere. We were dry-camping at an RV event on a dirt and gravel parking lot with thousands of RVs moving in over the next few days. Dust was everywhere: in the ground, in the air, on our clothes, on our skin, (and in our beings). This was life in the desert. The event lasted for several days and we remained very busy all week long. Still on Central Time, we were in bed by 9 PM and up by 4 AM each day. The cool mornings were nice, but the afternoons were getting hotter each day. By the end of the event, we were in the 90's with no clouds and a hot Arizona sun.
Friday and Saturday were weighing days and we were weighing RVs all day. Friday we worked on our own, but we hired four guys to help us on Saturday because we had scheduled so many. We must admit, we worried a bit about how the day would go, but it could not have been better. The guys did a wonderful job and we got everyone in and out with little waiting.
It was often a tough week for both of us. We arrived at this even exhausted from the previous weeks of work in Austin and the preparations to leave quickly afterward. We knew it would be a long week and we needed to rely on God's grace to speak and live as we should.
Working with people is great and most RVers are wonderful, accommodating folks. But as in all of life, there are some who seem to take pleasure in making life less enjoyable for others. We seemed to meet some of those folks this week. We were reminded multiple times that we are but dust and we needed to turn to God for the grace to respond properly. Just about the time we recovered from one difficult encounter, we were hit by another. Man was created of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2.7, 3.19, 18.27, and others) and we certainly felt like dust when our desire to respond in kind surfaced in the face of difficult people. But God is gracious! As we turned to him through each frustration, He provided what we needed to refrain from sharp words towards those who provoked us (most of the time). Seeing this constant provision encouraged our weary souls and reminded us of the necessity to constantly abide in His grace.
It was not a perfect week by any means. We both made our share of mistakes. But to see provision given and our failures forgiven each time we asked was an amazing reminder of God's incredible mercy to men of dust.
As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.