Sunday, June 8, 2014

6/8 Dust Storm on Way to Great Sand Dunes Natl Park

There have been scattered storms in the area, but my drive today started out very pleasantly.  Some clouds, but a lot of sun.  Snow-capped mountains are visible in the distance.  I left I-25 in a town called Walsenburg, and headed west on U.S. 160.  

I drove over La Veta Pass over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of south central Colorado. The pass was over 9,000 feet high, but there was no place to pull over at the summit, so no photos.

After the pass, the land was still high but very flat.  It started to look nasty, but I kept driving.  I couldn't tell whether the stuff in the distance was rain or what at this point.
You can see the dust now.  It was more orange than a rain storm.  I pulled over on the wide shoulder for a while to wait it out.  

Really nasty here.  Driving a 12' high vehicle is NOT fun in strong side winds, which this one was.  More than a bit scary.  I could hear panels of some sort rattling from underneath. 

I was afraid someone would hit me from the rear, so I started driving slowly with lights on and four-way flashers going.  There was just no place to pull off the road completely.  Visibility here was about 200' but cars were moving pretty slowly. 
I found a very small town and parked next to the curb next to a building. The wind was blowing from right to left, so I had some protection here.  You can see some branches have fallen from the trees in the distance, so the most of it was over, I thought.

I took a photo out of my driver's side window. 

Still an awful lot of dust in the distance, so I went back to driving slowly with lights on and four-way flashers going.  It is probably the windiest I have driven in with the vehicle shaking and moving to the left.  I had to constantly steer against the wind, even though I was not traveling very fast! 

By the time I got to my campground, there was some light rain to dampen things down and the dust had moved on.  I plugged in my electric, and then put out both slides.  I decided I should damp mop the floor before I put down my hall rug in case some dust had blown in through my vents.  I have maybe only 100 square feet of flooring to wash, but it took three damp mop covers. 

Even though my kitchen vent had opened about an inch, the worst dirt was in the hall area where my rear passenger's side slide is.  A lot had come in under the slide and near the front floor area of that slide.  The seal is obviously not good there, but that slide is also on the side where most of the dust was blowing from. 

The end result is that I am settled into my campsite with gorgeous views of the mountains on three sides and of the Great Sand Dunes in the distance.  It is three hours later, and the sun is out with hardly any wind at all! 


  1. That looks scary! I can't imagine driving in those conditions. Glad you're ok!