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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Great Tumbleweed Adventure

After Sunday's high wind experience on the West side of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, I can now say I'm experienced in Tumbleweed Tag (more on that below).

Pictured here is a real tumbleweed I've named Turmoil, or Turmi for short.  The name just seemed fitting with it's whip-around lifestyle!

After judging at a spectacular trial in the area, my-in-laws came over to drive me back. The plan was to hit a few wineries on our return trip and make an afternoon out of it.  Well, we hadn't planned on the 40-60+ mph winds that flew in a few hours prior and so the adventure began.

It started immediately upon entering the highway and the Suburban could barely maintain a straight path on the road - forget sticking to just one lane! Not to worry, Dad's a great driver, which is a good thing because not long into the trip, LOTS of rolling objects began to cross the road. You guessed it - tumbleweeds!

There were dozens of them at any given moment. The funniest site was an older Buick that was "hit" by a tumbleweed the size of a bail of hay! POOF! As the tumbleweed stuck to the front grill and in the driver's front wheel well and branches went flying. The driver soon pulled over for tumbleweed extraction and we decided that was a 75 pointer.

The Tumbleweeds continued, some big, some small and all were on a cross-country mission. After hitting (or being hit) by a few smaller tumblers, we weren't able to dodge Turmoil II and POOF! It embedded itself into our front grill.  Dad pulled over and told Mom to get out to clear the debris - that's when the fun really began - just because we stopped moving didn't mean the tumbleweeds weren't still crossing the highway!

A few moments into our extraction process, Mom gets wiped out on the side of the road by a rogue tumbler. She's a hearty soul and doesn't go down, but later reports "those things are prickly!" We laughed that a tumbleweed would be able to suck up a hairy dog of any size and keep right on rolling across the open spaces without stopping.  Personally, I think it's true!

Next, we decided to stop at another winery and I get to thinking that a picture of a tumbleweed is needed for this blog. I mean a picture is so much better than a verbal description! So I tell my Mom she needs to get a tumbleweed. As I mentioned earlier, she's a hearty soul and is always willing to jump in on a good story.

As we pull off the highway and onto the side road leading to our next destination, a huge tumbleweed goes flying by. With just a little bit of prodding, Mom is jumping out of the barely stopped vehicle (thank goodness for Dad's quick reflexes), jumps a culvert and is racing up a hill chasing this tumbleweed. As I sit in the car laughing, I'm amazed at how successful her two partial knee surgeries were last year and that her climbing skills are almost comparable to that of a billy goat.

The winds were a bit faster than she was and the tumbleweed got away. But as she turns around, I have just enough time to say "here comes another one!" and she yells "I've got it!" and puts herself in a linebacker crouch where she's preparing to block & grab the oncoming tumbleweed! Guess she doesn't remember they're "prickly"...

Now I'm not as fast as she is or I would have thought to get the camcorder running so that all of us could witness this event together. Fortunately for her, the tumbleweed veers left and her tackling skills aren't put to the test - instead, she's able to grab it - bare handed. 

We manage to wrangle it into the back of the Suburban where it proceeded to block Dad's view all the way home. These are family moments that just can't be bought!

Turmi is now comfortably sitting in our garage. Mom says I need to put him in a crate and not forget to feed him. My husband was surprised by his presence when he came home from his own judging assignment late that night, but only shakes his head as I tell him the entire story of how the tumbleweed got into our garage.

And that my friends, is my Tumbleweed Adventure.

1 comment:

  1. I would have paid good money to watch Beth chasing tumbleweeds along the side of the road :) I think you hit a couple more wineries than you mentioned above...