See that bright red spot on my cheek there? Where it looks like I've been hit across the face? Well, THAT'S BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN. BY THE MOTHER EFFING WIND. The wind that is responsible for the current wind chill of TEN BELOW ZERO. That's a NEGATIVE, people. THAT'S A NEGATIVE TEMPERATURE.
I spent eight hours on a six hour journey today, crawling through the arctic tundra that some call 'Kansas.' The country highways I had to take from Kansas City to Dodge City were so iced over that the only hope of movement without skidding was to keep one's vehicle in the tread marks created by the other crawling vehicles. If, say, a gust of wind at 33 mph--oh yes, the same wind that slapped me across the face--were to buffet your car and push it out of the tread marks, your vehicle would scuttle sideways like a crab across the ice until you could realign it, hands white-gripping the wheel. There were no formal lanes today; the highways were snowed over beyond recognition. There were hours in which I was the only vehicle in sight on either bleak horizon. It was lonely, dangerous, and by far the most entertaining drive I've had yet. I think this was the first day I didn't contemplate closing my eyes for a few minutes and letting cruise control take over while I napped.
There were a load of photos I wanted to take--a black windmill against a white field and a white sky, a graveyard of red stones--but because the entire road was covered was ice, I couldn't brake or pull over. I was immeasurably disappointed by this, but I hope you can at least imagine the gorgeous starkness of such a forbidding landscape.
And--just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I got to my Dodge City lodging. I picked it out based on its name (and price) alone. Look how fantastic it is:
This place is exactly what I dreamed the American road motel to be. Please note that every car in the parking lot with the exception of mine is a pickup. Please also note that my room cost me, with tax, a mere $35. And I've got a fridge and a microwave in my ROOM. And free wifi! And cable television! And coarse tuscan-themed bedcovers! I know. It's like a dream come true. I think I made it happen with the power of my mind.
Tomorrow morning I'm going to actually try and * see * Dodge City. Boot Hill sounds absolutely fantastic--the American Old West preserved, from the apothecary to the general store to the old doctor's office and saloon, complete with all the appropriate antiques on display. In the summer they have gun fights in the street and a troup of candy girls doing a cabaret-style dance, but in the winter they just have an arse-kicking wind.
Speaking of the weather I have to look forward to: tomorrow morning is supposed to be a wopping zero degrees, with a wind chill of -18. So, you know, ideal for a pleasant stroll around town. By the time I start heading south, the day's high will be peaking at 10/-3. Just in time for me to get the heck out of Dodge.