We began our road trip at the end of November. It was getting cold. We left Mississippi and headed west. Our first stop was Little Rock, Arkansas. We explored the Riverwalk, spent two nights there, and moved on.
Then we went to Oklahoma City. Chris had a bit of a head cold; and by this time, I was starting to pick it up too. We still managed to have fun in Oklahoma City, but we were steadily getting more sneezy and sick. We started taking our echinacea.
The next day we stopped in Amarillo, Texas. Due to our sickness we were pretty much miserable that night. It also turns out that there's very little to do in Amarillo.
The next stop was a toss-up between Albuquerque and Roswell. On the way through New Mexico we stopped at a random Subway. A nice British lady began making our sandwich, and we started telling her about our road trip... We told her about the Albuquerque-Roswell dilemma.
"Albuquerque?" She asked. "You won't make it there, the road's iced over and there's been a 10 car pileup. I think they've already closed off that part of I-40."
She called over to her large-nosed co-worker for backup. After a lot of babbling they agreed that indeed, I-40 had been closed as far as Albuquerque; but that we could probably make it to Santa Rosa, and then turn to go down to Roswell.
We followed her directions. We made it easily to about 5 miles outside Santa Rosa. It began to snow. It snowed violently. Eventually we ended up in stop-and-go traffic (which isn't easy- on ice, in a car packed to the ceiling.)
We guessed correctly that they must be forcing everyone on the highway to exit at Santa Rosa. It would have gone a lot smoother had everyone in the back of the line known that, and remained in the right lane. However, some people decided they'd drive up the empty left lane and try to get closer to the front of the line. So the left lane filled up, and soon the right lane wasn't moving at all, we were just letting people merge in from the left lane. Idiots.
Four hours of sitting there, not moving, staring at the sign that read "Santa Rosa 1 mile." While sitting there, we turned on our radio and tried to listen to what some of these truckers had to say about the situation. The only real information we got was that all the hotels in Santa Rosa were already full.
It took FOREVER, but we finally made it to the exit, and slowly followed the others into a town we had never seen before, couldn't see then (for the dark and the snow), and now hope to never see again.
What appeared to be the town's main road was lined with trucks, 2 and 3 side-by-side, on both sides of the road. A few brave souls were bundled up and trudging through the snow. Nothing else seemed to be moving.
This was where some information would have been nice.... a makeshift sign, or a policeman to tell us that every single road leaving Santa Rosa was closed, or that all the hotels were indeed full, so don't even bother. They had opened up the middle school gymnasium for anyone to spend the night. Telling us that, and giving us directions there, would also have been nice.
But no, not the great city of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. They don't actually care if a thousand travellers are stranded in the outskirts of their city with no idea what to do, no hotel rooms available and only two restaurants still open. In a serious blizzard.
This is where the story gets bad.