Bowlin's Continental Divide Trading Post was heavily advertised on billboards for miles before the exit: "Snakeskin Belts!" "Agate Bookends!" "Mexican Pottery!" "Turquoise Jewelry!" "Grab & Go Snacks!" The appeared to have everything. We had to stop.
It was there that I ran into a guy I went to high school with. He lives nearby and works at the trading post. I figure the odds of that happening are even greater than the odds of Mother Nature deciding to send the worst winter weather in history on the same week we decide to drive across the country.
Monica and I bought matching mood rings at the trading post. Right now, according to the key, mine is the color of "mixed emotions." It's been like that a lot, actually. We're sick, we're stressed, and we're laughing hysterically over everything that keeps going wrong.
We pushed on and had lunch in the west Texas town of El Paso. We drove another hundred miles or so and, with the help of Monica's awesome sister Michelle (who was at home answering our calls and searching the internet on our behalf), we found a motel in Van Horn. When we arrived, we discovered that we got there at just the right time. The motel was filling up with locals who had no heat or hot water due to frozen pipes. I'm beginning to feel like we owe the entire country an apology.