Blessings in disguise?

In retrospect, driving to Wyoming at the end of November probably wasn’t the smartest of ideas.

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The trip started off innocuous enough. We hadn’t gone anywhere for vacation over the summer, so we thought we’d get out of town for Thanksgiving week. Our school district gives the kids the full week off for Fall break so that’s an entire week plus both weekends. (Score!)

We decided to visit family because that’s what you do at Thanksgiving. Since we hadn’t seen my husband’s older brother in the longest time, we thought “Why not drive to Wyoming?” (We live in Houston.)

We could stop in Santa Fe and see my brother for a couple of days on the way. Which we did.

Day 1: Driving to Santa Fe. Would have made it to our destination by 11:30 pm after driving all day but a major accident on I-40 had the freeway closed down near Tucumcari for 2 hours. Two hours of sitting and wanting so badly to go to bed.

Looking on the bright side: (1) Thank goodness no one needed to use the bathroom. (2) Thank goodness we weren’t in the accident. (3) We made it safely.

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Cottonwood on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. See my little bitty family members next to it?

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I love sculpture gardens. Here is a chain dragon at a store on Canyon Road.

Day 5: First night in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Did you know it gets really cold in Cheyenne? So cold that you have heat up the car and scrape the windows before you can drive anywhere. New to us: if you own a Toyota 4Runner and you turn your rear window defrost on when it’s really cold, it shatters your back window. Who knew? Design flaw? I would say so.

Fortunately, we were at my brother-in-law’s house so we were able to park our SUV in his garage and he lent us one of his to get back to the hotel. Can you imagine if it had broken once we got to the hotel? It snowed 3 inches during the night. That’s a lot of snow for the inside of your vehicle, don’t you think?

When the air is dry, snow looks like glitter when it falls.

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This is NOT Houston.

Day 7: Trying to get the rear window fixed. Day 6 was Thanksgiving, so we started calling first thing on Black Friday to find a rear window. My husband read on the Toyota forum that the rear window debacle is a fairly common thing and costs around $650 to replace. According to the Toyota dealer, the closest rear window for our vehicle was in Chatanooga Tennessee. They couldn’t have it replaced on Wednesday. (That would be Day 12, and we needed to be home by Day 9!)

Happily, a local auto glass place was able to get the window in and replaced the same day for $234. So we saved $400 and 4 days. Thank you, Safelite Autoglass!

Added bonus, an extra day with family we don’t see often.

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Great opportunity to trampoline.

Day 8: Traveling home in an ice storm.

First day traveling home was snowy. Once it got dark, the overpasses started turning a bit icy. Despite warnings in Amarillo to not travel, we continued on for another hundred miles. (No overpasses). The roads were fine. The problem was that we were getting low on gas. We planned to stop at a little town called Memphis, TX to refill but when we got there, the whole town was dark. At first we thought everything had closed early, but then we realized the whole town had no power. No power = no gas. We had 34 miles left and were 36 miles away from the next town. Yikes!

For the next 36 miles, everything we passed was dark. The power in the Texas panhandle had been obliterated by an ice storm. Thankfully, we rolled into the next town with 3 miles left on the gas gauge and the town had power.

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Truck in the hotel parking lot. No wonder the power was down.

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Trees in the Panhandle were heavy with ice. If we had seen this, we probably would have stayed in Amarillo!

The moral: Visit Wyoming in the summer. 🙂

True moral: Inconvenient and/or bad things happen to us all the time. The fact these things happen isn’t the blessing. When we realize we were spared worse circumstances, we see God’s grace and provision. THAT is the blessing in disguise.

NOW YOU: Any interesting Thanksgiving travel stories? Where did you go for Thanksgiving?

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7 thoughts on “Blessings in disguise?

  1. Wow – I never heard of the rear window shattering before. But since I live in that area-ish, I imagine the auto dealers fixed all the 4Runners for sale here? Maybe? 😉 How was the wind while you were there? That’s what Cheyenne is really known for around here. Aside from the snow, there’s not much to see in WY in the winter – especially in Cheyenne. Summers are a much better time to visit for sure.

    My first trip to Wyoming was over Christmas. We drove from Florida to Waco (stayed for a few days visiting Hubby’s dad) to Cheyenne (visiting Hubby’s grandmother and extended family) to Casper (where he grew up and his parents were still living at the time). Ended up with an unexpected overnight in Oklahoma City due to an ice storm and made it to Cheyenne late the following night. And then, just before New Years, we hit black ice and totaled Hubby’s truck in Lusk, WY. We had two days to scramble to find a replacement vehicle and head back again.

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    • OK, you win! Were you happy with the new vehicle you got? I can’t imagine having to purchase a completely new car in two days in a rush.

      And yes, Cheyenne was windy, but the windiest part of the trip was leaving Texas. We had a luggage carrier on top of the SUV so we were really catching cross winds.

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      • It was a used Chevy Cavalier Z64 – and it was purple. (It doesn’t get better than purple in my Hubby’s world – he’s an unusual guy.) We drove that thing until it was literally worn out – across the country more than once, with a baby in the carrier in the backseat, through 5 north-Wyoming winters – by the end it had no trade-in value and was beyond saving. We ended up giving it to the tow guy if he would just take it away. 😉 I learned to drive stick in that thing, too. It was a nice car and I don’t recall ever hating it, even when popping the seat forward to struggle in & out with munchkin’s carrier. Course, it was the first car we got together so that’s probably coloring my recollection. 😉

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  2. You got a small taste of what my winters are like, but my rear window has never shattered. My family lived in Cheyenne when I was two, I think you got off pretty light all things considered. I’m glad you and your family are safe.

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  3. What an unforgettable family adventure! Your kids will talk about it the rest of their lives, so you gave them a gift that will keep on giving. I loved Santa Fe in July. (It was a dry heat.) I hope to see Wyoming someday.

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