Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dotted Roads are the Best

July 2, 2007
Gallup to Santa Fe, New Mexico

233.6 miles
Sunny and Clear, mostly

I love to drive the dotted roads - you know, the ones they think deserve to be called "scenic"! I do my best to take only two lane roads anyway, because I think they are generally easier to drive and usually more scenic. And then when you get dots to go with it, all the better! More personality, more stories!!

For instance, you get to see names like Uprooted Tree Road! and Barn Mouse Road! I love the country!

I was driving thru the Zuni Indian Reservation this time - big healthy fat cattle, green fields, a number of really handsome hand-cut stone homes. I'm always impressed with healthy cattle now, having lived in Southern Arizona where the poor creatures are bony and hungry until the summer rains come! And the houses were really attractive.

I was wondering where the stone came from, because I had been driving through miles of rolling grass covered hills, and lo and behold, I turned a corner and there were some impressive rock formations!

I crossed the Continental Divide at about noon, at 7,882 feet! And around the next bend was a sign advertising the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano.

This is one of the reasons New Mexico is sometimes called "The Land of Fire and Ice." You can walk through the twisted, old-growth juniper, fir and Ponderosa Pine trees, over an ancient lava trail to the Ice Cave, where natural layers of ice glisten blue-green in the reflected rays of sunlight. The Ice Cave is located in part of a collapsed lava tube, where the temperature never exceeds 13 degrees F.

Another trail winds around the side of the Bandera Volcano to view one of the best examples of a volcanic eruption in the country. Bandera Volcano, 800 ft. in depth, exploded some 10,000 years ago.

I thought the lava flows that covered much of the land looked relatively young. I can say that, of course, since I have spent some time around other lava flows, in Hawaii. :o) The grasses were just beginning to break up the flows enough to take hold - nothing but some grasses. Pretty good headway for 10,000 years! And I really felt for the engineers who had to cut a pathway for the highway!

I hit I-40 for the balance of the roadtrip to Albuquerque, and was treated to some beautiful countryside! And it wasn't even a dotted road!

I was delighted to find a little bit of flowing water in the Rio Grande River as it passes thru town. First water I've seen in a waterway since leaving the Sea of Cortez!!

Didn't see any fun saloons again today, but I did get a call from my Alaska travelling pal, Suzie, who is in Bend, OR at this moment, and she did see a good spot - with a thought on it's sign saying "Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder!!!"
Gas in this area is a little frightening - $3.32/ gallon. Nasty! Especially for a big city! I guess it's time we quit complaining about the price of gas in Arizona.

You might have spotted clouds on the horizon. Some pretty good thunderheads building up in the northeast. The weather forecast had said there was a chance of rain showers in Santa Fe. Just hoped to get there before they hit.

I made it to the Santa Fe Skies RV Park in plenty of time to get all hooked up and even walked Penny before the first of the raindrops fell. All 23 of them. Just enough to make everything spotty! But it did make for a spectacular sunset!

This park is in a great location, looking down onto the city, and all the sites are staggered so everyone has a view.

One of the owners is a curator with the Rusty Nuts Chapter of the National Gas Engine Club and has provided an exhibit on the grounds of the park.

And for those who aren't interested in rusty old nuts and bolts, there are flowers growing wild around the park too!

I'm outta here in the morning, heading north toward Denver. Won't make it all the way in one day, so I'll be watching my 4th of July fireworks on TV!

Have a great holiday!

and Remember -

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