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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Two Weeks on the Road

Husker and I have 2 big road trips on our bucket list, one to the Pacific Northwest and another to New England during leaf peeping time.  We elected to do the Pacific Northwest this fall and save New England for another fall.  Good thing we made that decision the way we did because of the storms that fell on New England -- indeed, the entire eastern seaboard -- and washed out roads, flooded communities, etc.

So on September 3, 2011 (Saturday before Labor Day), we departed Texas early of a morning and headed first to Albuquerque.  It was a long hard day of traveling, but we also knew that day and our anticipated last day would be the least interesting of the entire 2 weeks that we intended to be gone.  (For those who have not been there, west Texas and southeastern New Mexico are the least interesting places in the country for a long drive.  There is nothing scenic about it unless you like it hot, dry, and ugly.)

Neither of us like stopping at fast food places or greasy spoons that typically line the highways in small towns or along the interstates, so we take a cooler and picnic along the way.  This photo is of a picnic stop just over the border into New Mexico.  The only trees were planted, not native.  Almost no vegetation.  Windy.  Hot.  Dry.  Flat.

Driving northwest from Roswell, New Mexico, the scenery began to pick up as the foothills appeared.  Lincoln County, NM is definitely a good spot to drive through with some unexpected jewels along the road.  One of my favorites from about 20 years ago is an old stagecoach stop -- now delightful restaurant -- the Silver Dollar in Tinnie, NM. Very tiny community, but the restaurant thrives due to its ambiance and good food.  Haute Victorian atmosphere.

The altitude, cool breezes, laid back pace -- all reasons that this part of NM is also known as Texas' playground.  World's richest horse race in Ruidoso, Smoky-the-bear museum (he was a real bear) in Capitan, home of the Lincoln County Wars (think Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett) in Lincoln, and a short drive to the Space Museum and the White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo.  For your kiddos, White Sands is where the first atomic bomb was tested.

New Mexico is also home to a lot of black basalt lava beds.  So much so that I am glad I was not around NM a few hundred million years ago.  We saw a lot of this during our drive north to Albuquerque.  Hawaii is not the only state with scenes like this.  New Mexico has plenty of places like this should you want to check out the lava beds without threat of a volcanic explosion!

Yes, I took my knitting, but more about that later.  Actually, what I was working on was not making me happy, so I frogged it and started again.   I mostly knitted my way across west Texas, but not so much when we reached eye candy country. 

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