THE STATS:Drove 563 miles (a high on this trip) and through two time zones today. Visited three states--AZ, New Mexico, and just into TX. Altitude high was 7,254 near the Transcontinental Divide (we missed the actual Divide road sign). On I-40 all day.
Left at 10:27am, after visiting downtown Winslow and paying tribute to the Eagles song "standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona" monument. While there, we were approached by an obviously drunk Indian couple asking for money to eat. Another guy gave him a five and they started off. The Mr. stumbled over his own feet and landed flat on the ground. We all helped him up and they staggered off to the closest liquor store, I imagine. We bought the obligatory Route 66 / Winslow T-shirts and headed out of town.
Along the way lots of Indian casinos and Indian souvenir "malls" with teepees. Also lots of dinosaur related stuff, as some great specimens of dinos have been found in New Mexico. Note photo has teepees and T-Rex in it. Covering all the angles. From southern CA on we have seen many campers and big travel homes headed south, including RV America brand (which we rented just to move the cats from CA to Michigan). Meet two your fellows with race cars. Their specialty is "drifting." I had not heard about this sport, but Mike says its big in Japan and a form of precise obstacle and "corner" racing. Wished them luck.
As we came upon the high desert in New Mexico, we plugged in our Il Volo CD (three young Italian tenors). The combo of the music, little traffic to distract us, the idea of heading home, the beauty of the red rock cliffs, pink and golden wild flowers all put me into a sentimental mood and a few tears were quietly shed. It all felt so good. In spite of all the craziness in our country, it is good to see and be in America.
Saw no solar or turbines in NM. Apparently hitch-hikers and bicyclers can walk/wheel on interstates here though. Many lava rock boulders and fields here. Cactus and scrub disappearing, but saw a few century plants. Nice roads with extra passing lanes on the uphill. Crossed the Pecos River, first "large" water since the Colorado. From the freeway, saw the ghost-like or maybe a real ghost town of Cuervo. Almost circled back. Will have to google this. Talked about what are travel life would have been like with kids. Well, let's not go there!
We had been staying at hotels along the freeway (when we didn't get a fabulous freebie at someone's home), so decided to stay in downtown Amarillo for the evening. We love walking the pavement and were ready for concrete. So booked at the Courtyard Marriott. For the price, it was much nicer than we expected (although all the kings were sold out). Everything top notch, except parking in their garage was awkward and iffy.
Once we got settled, we went for a walk. It was pretty dark and lifeless, so a little intimidating and didn't stray far. We ended up in another triple-D Mexican joint. It was wonderful. See more info in Best Of below.
Seeing lots of windmills/turbines of different types--old and new. Often near rest stops. Good promotion for eco-ing by the states.
Although Minnesota had top consistent best rest stops and North Dakota came in second, the welcome center rest stop in New Mexico gets tops for single rest stop. They had a greeter at the door directing you to the bathrooms, beautiful building with red clay cement floors, microwave for visitor use, public coffee maker, glorious views of hills and dales, custodian spray-cleaning after every stall use, pet-pooper area, lots of shade, and woodwind native Indian music playing in the background. Very nice. NM rest stops after that were a bit of a let down though. Very clean, but basic and non-mentionable.
Had our last road trip Mexican dinner today. We just can't get enough. Anyway the last was the best. I had the best spinach enchiladas EVER. Mike had the best chili rellenos EVER. No kidding!! At Acapulco Mexican Cafe, a little dive near our hotel in Amarillo.
Best (and most expensive, but not crazy expensive) hotel room of the trip. Bed linens were fabulous. Bathroom huge and great shampoo-y stuff. A comfy night's sleep. All worth it.