Monday, February 28, 2005

05-07 North Eastern New Mexico

North Eastern New Mexico
Week 7 of 52 (the open Road)

I’ve been traveling across Hwy 40, which I’ve taken through Miss, Tnn, Okl, Tx, and now into New Mexico. This is my summer destination, the 4 corners states, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah.

After staying in Tucumcari NM overnight, I headed north, up a secondary road called HWY 104 to the town of Las Vegas NM. Remember my descriptions of The Natchez Trace in Miss? Well I can tell you I found another road that will thrill you, especially if you like those long lonely stretches of pavement that have no traffic and where you can drive at a slower speed to see the scenery. This is a two lane road, with no shoulders for probably about 60 miles, but with virtually no traffic, I don’t think the average RV’r will have trouble with it. The road is 137.5 miles in length and took me between 3-4 hours to travel it.

Here’s a lesson I’ve learned. When your towing a camper and you want to do some site seeing, don’t expect it to take an hour to travel 60 miles. Double the time. Take the time to enjoy the trip itself and stop often to check out those road side historical signs and take those all important pictures.

One experience I will treasure, when I stopped on hwy 104 to view those hwy signs and enjoy the spectacular scenery, was the awesome quietness I experienced. To only hear the soft whistle of the wind, a few birds singing…. And that was it. Silence. No cars going by, no planes, just quiet. There’s something that a big open space, the huge blue sky above and the silence that touches my heart. It’s like finally having the time to exhale and take a deep breath. I stood in the middle of the road, just looking all around me. Silence. Who could feel lonely with such beauty surrounding you. I feel a part of this land. I am home.

And talk about scenery! From the low desert, to the tops of mesa’s, to the high country and up the side of a mountain this road has it all. I’m glad I got out here by 1st of June. The desert is still green, with wildflowers in bloom along the roads. The place feels alive.

My Chevy 2500HD with exhaust breaks worked wonderfully. If you travel on hwy 104, I would recommend only going north on it. Why? Well I’m a bit of scaredy cat when it comes to traveling up steep mountains with shear drop offs. Going north on 104, you are on the “inside” traveling up the mountain. Makes for a more comfortable drive, especially when all the signs post no faster than 35 mph around the many curves. Fortunately, the mountain climb was a small part of the whole 125 mile trip. But it did add a fun excitement to the over all trip. And who could complain about the views! I can’t tell you how many times I stopped.

Note: I’ve switched to an 11 pt Arial font. I think it will be easier to read.

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