A few images to start our 5 th missive ( I think) from the phone camera, you may have seen some if you’ve been getting the instagram or facebook posts.
Again, see the weather where you are is a bit wet and cold, the all blacks scrapped in, trust all else is just great.
Just loved this on an old ute.
Adrian half way point on the Route.
This is the unfortunate fate of many signs and buildings along the way.
Agh, sideways, a butte just out of Tucumcari
Scenes along the route to Gallup
Man its hot, its dusty and its so dry the grass crunches as you walk on it, and seen no bison. Been buying water 24 bottles at a time for $2.50 (for the 2 doz).
We’re in the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, have clocked up over 2,500 miles and still going.
And it has cooled down a bit, still very dry but somewhat more comfortable.
Great drive today, arrow straight roads, mesas by the mile, little dying towns like most of the way along this historic route, and we get to Tucumcari for the night. We drove the “historic route” parallelling current I 40. Trucks. Hell, we must have seen about 5,000 trucks, no kidding, more than cars, but all on the I 40, next to us, only 1 car I can remember on our road.
Lots of “lifting the game” here, but still some signs or a lack of growth. The route is what keeps these places going and occasionally growing. In spite of this the Chamber of Commerce has offices everywhere.
As always, my systems are keeping us alive. The GPS generally gets us to where intended, the back-up Warning if Frightened or Endangered safety system (acronym:W.I.F.E.) bleeps loudly when we are close to the ground, or heading up a one-way street the wrong way. Been a few loud bleeping occasions, but so far no fist shaking drivers coming the opposite way. Love the polite nature of US drivers.
14th, Tucumcari via Las Vegas, not the sin city one, but a tiny version in NM, to Santa Fe. Really, I’m seeing why this is called the Land of Enchantment. The days drive was, scenically, the best we’ve had. Spellbinding is not too strong a description.
I realised the other day the reason for my feeling afflicted by some idiopathic withdrawl symptoms arose from our not seeing any coastline for a full month.
Iron rich red soils and rocks, mesas, yellow fields, long straight roads. SANTA Fe is a lovely place too, very Spanish in terms of architecture, very touristy, a shopping centre for the rich really. The 1200 mile Santa Fe Trail of course starts here. Something for you super-fit to consider for your next project. Also the subject of the movie and songs.
15th Sept, drive on the old high road to Taos. Magnificent scenery especially the first part then it became wooded, you could say like NZ. Came back via the low road, runs along the Rio Grande. Thought of crossing it, seemed easy but my safety system jumped to action and stop that wee idea. Substitute, I put 1 foot in the Rio Grande!
While I’m making these notes the I am being made to shudder by the circus that is the US Presidential campaign is in full flight (if not fright) on the tv.
Wildlife, seeing bugger all. No bison. Few birds, a couple of lost roadrunners, they we in a tree. A couple young deer scampered through the sunflower bushes and roadside brush but, no bison. Still hoping. Dead skunk in middle of the road, remember that one? Except for, that is, roadkill.
Heading out of Santa Fe today. But first we visit the arts area. This is something else, streets and Spanish architecture, galleries full of the highest quality art of all types, how do I know its the highest quality? Cos, the prices are the highest I’ve seen. What an absolutely amazing area, could spend a week just doing these galleries over, but we must move on.
Arrive at the Monterey Non Smoking Motel in Alburquerque for 3 nights. State Fair, the lovely historic Old Town just 500 metres from our motel, the Down Town with its pubs and nightlife and old route neons and other artifacts, a look around a couple of interesting photo galeries, an art museum (really good too) and a gondola ride to 10,000feet to dine and see the sunset pretty much round our days here off
Gallup headed, mostly on Rte 66 with only small diversions on interstates where the old 66 has been stopped.
As always the 66 route is low on traffic, providing all the opportunities to stop for more shots. Through a number of small towns of either total or near total desertion, lots of old signs and buildngs in various states of nostalgic disrepair.
A stop in Rio Puerco where a replaced bridge would be the only point of interest if it weren’t for the a recent enhancement in the middle of the desert, a casino. These modern monstrosities are splattered across the state, all Indian owned. We are in Navajo country.
Landscape became the highpoint. Red cliffs of mesas lined our route through to Gallup from the aforementioned man-made “attractions”. Impressive, even majestic in their vastness.
And the trucks keep coming on the interstate, as well there are now trains for Africa. They talk of mile long trains around here. Not sure we’ve seen one that long, but they are monstors as they snake their way through the vast landscapes.
We arrive in Gallup, check into the El Rancho. Built in 1936, its still pretty much as it was then. It was a stop for actors heading east. The old rooms are named after actors, presumably the rooms they used, but who knows. We end up in the room Fred MacMurray. Not what Anne had hoped for, something like Burt Lancaster would have made her happier with the operators, while just across the hall Marilyn Monroes room might have been acceptable too.
In the bar we a proffessor, a fairly pissed one at that, makes himself known to us and occupies our evening. Quite an interesting guy, out here living in a caravan setting up a school of engineering for a small new Indian university.
Gallup exists as a base for rail. Over 40 of these monstors come and go daily. The town main street is divided 2 parts. One portion is near all old Route 66 motels, other the commercial area, still bloody old.
And still no bison! A few driving misdeanours, fortunately my W.I.F.E system functions brilliantly.
While in a day or 2 I’ll be “standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona”, understand Glen Fry is there waiting for me (ha), before heading northwards into Utah have to say there is just so much historically, nostalgically and sceically there is an enormous amount missing from our action. There’s just so much, the word “VAST” describes everything American, and probably still no bloody bison.
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