Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Can See Clearly....

....but I couldn't see very clearly in March of 1954. At least in North Texas. We experienced a dust storm similar to the one in Phoenix a week or so ago as recorded in the photos above. It was not a pleasant experience.

We were on our way from Chanute AFB in central Illinois to McClellan AFB in Sacramento, California. The first couple or three days before had been clear and pleasant but then as we left Oklahoma in to the Panhandle of Texas the skies got dark and the wind picked up significantly. Just east of Shamrock, Texas visibility got extremely limited - we could hardly see the road ahead - and we decided to get into a motel in Shamrock. It was virtually a miracle that we saw a motel sign through the dust and we pulled in and was able to get a room with a carport. The folks in the motel said there was a good steakhouse across the road (we couldn't see it through the dust) but we dared to cross the road and found the restaurant.

After dinner we went out to find visibility much worse but somehow we found the motel and a night's reast.

The next morning we found dust had seeped through windows and doors and when we checked out the car in the carport we found that dust had gotten through every crevisse and was piled up in the car and engine compartment. But the storm had passed and the sun was out and the day was beautiful.

A day or so later we had a few problems with the car engine and the carbureter air cleaner was choked with dust and sand. With a good cleaning of the engine area and a new air filter the engine ran as good as new. We now knew what people in the midwest and plains states had experienced during the dustbowl days of the 1930's.

Later we teamed up with some other people who had been assigned in that area and they talked about how dust storms took the paint right off their cars. Nasty things, dust storms - so we can relate to the folks in Phoenix a little while ago.

I've experienced similar things like fog banks and smog. Fog was a big problem in Canada when I would drive back and forth between Niagara Falls and Detrot.

All I could do was use the center line on the road to guide the way. And there was smog in Los Angeles - I remember walking down Firestone Boulevard in Downey and having people call from cars on the street I couldn't see to ask what the cross street was (For instance, Paramount). Fog - smog - dust storms - all nasty things that make highway travel treacherous. And so my sympathy to the folks in Arizona in their latest attack by dust. And sympathy to our troops in the middle east who contend with it more often that we do.

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