The snow from the first storm had melted, but the weather forecast was for a major snowstorm preceded by hurricane force winds. While Janie had stored some alfalfa hay, she wanted to get another load before these storms hit. The high wind forecast was to hit central New Mexico around noon, and Janie figured they could drive to San Antonio on the Rio Grande River and be headed back home before the worst of the winds came. There was some wind as they drove west and entered the mountains before the descent into the desert near the White Sands Missile Range, home of the first Atomic Bomb blast. These winds were only about 35 mph which is a normal speed for New Mexico. With the big heavy GMC pickup those winds were hardly felt.
At the farm where Janie bought hay, you have to load your own truck. This hay is stacked about 20 feet high and you have to use a long heavy pole to knock down the top bales. The bales while two string, are also a heavy 65 pounds. Janie and Bill weren’t getting any younger and loading that truck took all the strength they had. By the time 36 bales were on the truck, the wind was gusting. Bill put an extra strap across that load to hold it securely because it looked as if the trip back to White Oaks was going to be in gale winds. There was one spot, a long level stretch by the White Sands Missile Range that was especially windy on good days, and today it was going to be really windy.
Now driving across the desert with a full load of hay with the wind gusting at 75 mph is an experience. It is an experience that Janie just as soon not have, but there was no turning back now, so forward they went. That good GMC diesel just pulled along as if nothing was amiss and soon they were back in the mountains where the wind was lessened somewhat. After a slow and careful trip through the mountains they were over the worst of the journey. Angel would have another load of hay safely stored to last through the next storm, but Janie decided that the next time hurricane winds were forecast, she would not choose that day to haul hay.
Blizzard conditions cause a “white out” on the ranch.