Tuesday, November 8, 2016

From the Road: Storms

I got kind of bogged down with traveling and went light on the posting. Part of this has to do with the nature of posting from the road. I decided not to try to post using a mobile connection, for various reasons, and so that meant that I needed a wifi connection at night. One night, that was unavailable. Additionally, my chosen destination had me so busy that I didn't hardly touch the computer, even though I had great wifi. While there, I had Other Priorities.
Jumping cholla fruit.
And so, here we are back on the alluvial fan coming southward off the Whipple Mountains, camping under cloudy skies.
The camp is fine, although the vehicle unmodified is an uncomfortable place to sleep. And it was crowded, because when it started raining I had to move most things back into the Jeep. And then ... lightning. At first the flashes were distant, south of the Big Maria Mountains and north of the Whipples. But it rained, and depressions in the desert pavement filled with water, and I worried about the major wash I had crossed: Would it flood?

I tried getting photos of the lightning, and this is as close as I came: a leftover bit of the strike over to the left, hitting behind the darker pointy hills (a light-colored line going straight down, probably easiest to spot if you know where it is).
After awhile, I dozed a little. Then it was suddenly quite bright, the flashes making me think that surely someone was bombing the area, although there was not much sound at first. I sat up and looked around, and it gradually became clear that the blinding flashes were bolts of lightning, this time all around, moving closer, until some thunderous crashes were finally within less than a mile. Would I be hit? Is a plastic topped Jeep as safe as an all metal pickup truck? I still don't really know, but I wasn't hit, and eventually the second downpour stopped. Finally I actually slept.
Turtle Mountains before they were obscured by rain.
Turtle Mountains in the morning.
In the morning, the wash was fine.
The road was its usual rolling self.

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