Just before arriving at the campground, everything had started to freeze. The road looks nice and clear- but that was thanks to the even glaze of ice that threatened everything with rubber tires.

Steaming North for Colorado- we are bound for our home just 2 weeks before my brother Pete is set to donate his kidney to his son, Tyson. Tysons little kidney hasn’t been doing a very good job since he started out in life just 2 years ago. The least we can do is pitch in our time, since you know, we’re free and easy on this ‘vacation’, right? (The topic of whether this is a vacation has previously been dispelled). Their dual surgery is in early February, and we’re hoping to get home to 7,500 feet in the Front Range Mountains a little early so we can get our business and personal taxes complete and turned into the CPA before moving in with Pete’s family.

But first, we have to get there! The ice is settling in, in Kansas. As we’re driving North on 135 the roads are dry although it’s been getting cooler. Of course we’ve been expecting the cold of our home state, not knowing when it would actually hit. Answer: Newton, Kansas. Around Wichita, the CB chattered to life with more than the standard chit chat about antenna size and home state- and described where the ‘skating rink’ was at. That little CB saved us some real trouble- with ice clad semi trucks rattling Southbound on the jet black asphalt; we knew it was a matter of less than 10 miles before it all turned white. We picked out a Walmart in Newton, and stopped for some winter supplies, including a wired thermometer to tell me instantly how bad it was out there. One of the best features, of full featured cars these days is the outside temp readout. It’s required equipment when driving in Colorado. Even in the dead of winter- when it’s 10 below outside, the brilliant sun is tricky and teases you into believing that it is pleasant outside the house or car windshield- when it’s actually frozen and a real slip hazard. Of all the doodads on Bussie- outside temp wasn’t one- so we added it. As we pulled away from the store and headed 10 miles due West to the Spring Lake RV Resort in Halstead the thermometer validated everything the CB had been forecasting. When we arrived at the RV park the previously muddy roadbed was glassy with ice, and it was hard to walk across. We paid our $14 for a site with hookups and plugged in the heat. Bussie is pretty well insulated, but it’s not R30 insulation, and requires a regular source of heat or cool to stay where you want it. At the start of this day, I had anticipated the cold temps, and had set the electric heaters in place in the basement compartments to protect the water supplies. They each draw 1000 watts when operating, so if we had turned them on, we probably would have been running the electric generator as we traveled. The alternative would be draining the water system before hitting cold- but we so enjoy the flush toilet that we left the system full. The second thermostat I purchased was wireless, and I set it in the forward water compartment that contains the fresh water tank and all of the fresh water plumbing. Being the forward-most bay I thought that by watching its temp I’d have an idea of how the rest were faring. 160 gallons of water holds its heat pretty well, and this compartment stayed above 50 degrees without a heater, despite freezing temps outside.

The campground quickly turned into a winter wasteland. Loose tarps flapping in the icy wind, muddy flats glazed with impassable ice, wispy snowflakes that were almost nonexistent yielding to the astonishing descent if what appeared to be ice droplets. Within minutes of parking the weather moved in full force, and without prejudice coated everything with clear ice. We set up dinner, then watched local news that would reinforce our timely decision to pull off for the night- accidents were plaguing this region with a larger than average number of big rigs toppled or blocking others passage. We pulled out the extra blankets and triple checked our heaters for placement and operation, then called it a day- wondering how long we’d be in this new place.

The day after- with about 3 hours of brilliant sunlight that lessened Mother Nature's grip on our roadshow, releasing us for the trip back to Colorado.