Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marathon to Sierra Blanca, TX and our very first dust storm! WITH ADDED INFO!

Today we traveled from Marathon to Sierra Blanca, TX. The last thing that we saw out our picture window before closing the shades to travel was the beautiful range across US-90 from us. We even saw a large white object, blimp?, that we could see across the desert for miles that looked like a whale that had been beached in the middle of the desert. The day was sunny and beautiful and, just after passing Marfa, TX, we pulled into a roadside picnic area for lunch. This was located in the center of a desert plain surrounded by mountains. A motor home pulled in behind us for their lunch, too. Soon we saw a huge brown cloud low to the ground coming from the west slowly blocking our view of the mountains. It was still bright and sunny and the wind was picking up to 30-40 MPH. We decided to wait whatever it was coming out right there, even though we were totally in the open. There was no place to go so we made ourselves comfortable. Sunny had been fed too and so she went to sleep in the rear seat of the truck. The cloud became brown and we started seeing funnel clouds forming in the midst of the brown clouds, kicking up sand before them. Then it was on us with winds that must have been over 60 MPH. This lasted for maybe five minutes and then the winds slowed back to 30-40 and the brown clouds started thinning but not disappearing. As soon as we could see a few hundred feet, we decided to wait even more because we did not wish to be caught in the center of another one of these storms and, being from Michigan, funnel clouds mean tornados to us. Maybe a half hour later, it seemed safe to travel so we left. We were buffeted by 30-40 MPH or so winds most of the way to Sierra Blanca. The dust storms were over, though, as soon as we got on I-10 at Van Horn, TX. We have been blessed to see some of the most raw, gorgeous scenery that we have ever seen. This trip was no exception to that, either! Then it was 30 miles to our present RV park. We set up and got some BBQ from Curley's BBQ, next door to the RV park. Pretty good, too! Hopefully this will be our first and LAST dust storm. Tomorrow we travel to Deming, NM for one night and then to St. David, AZ, east of Tucson, for two weeks.
On edit: We discovered from the Montana Owners Forum that the dust storm we saw was a Haboob, see , and a Dust Devil, see The storm was a Haboob and what we thought was the beginning of a tornado was a Dust Devil.

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