Daily Archives: November 17, 2017

Albuquerque to Show Low: Mile 6753.4

At long last, we are on our way home, the last couple of laps, at least. Only three more nights and we get to sleep in our own beddy-bye. Tonight, we will stay in Show Low, like San Angelo, a place we never heard of until we started looking for a place to stop between places we have heard of. Normally, driving between Albuquerque and California, we would stay in the Flagstaff area but we are trying to stay off major highways and explore new areas (for us). 

After a nice brunch at the Hyatt Regency in Tamaya – with my sister, husband Jim, and Jim’s daughter and her husband – north of Albuquerque, we backtrack through Albuquerque and then head west on Interstate 40. We have driven this stretch of 40, maybe, a dozen times and are anxious to get off which we do near Acoma Pueblo just after we stopped for gas. 

As we cross the Rio Grande, the road has walls on either side, stopping us from slowing down for a view. We are almost at 5,000 feet here, but the river is slow and meandering through its almost flat valley. 
We climb out of the Rio Grande valley onto the Colorado Plateau.
Driving through New Mexico is so much different than driving back east. With almost no trees except along stream and rivers, almost every drive involves long vistas. Driving through the southern Appalachians in Tennessee the hills are rounded – because the mountains were formed long ago, very roughly, about 480 million years ago, giving them time to wear down – while here the uplifted Colorado Plateau has not had time to smooth out.
Throughout New Mexico, we are reminded that this area was inhabited long before the Europeans arrived while back east only the geographical names remind us that Native Americans once lived there.

We finally get off the main highway…
and while the scenery isn’t necessarily better, it is closer and we are driving slower and…
there are more places to stop and stretch.
It also gives us a chance to see our first cactus that isn’t an Opuntia. I think the cactus on the left is an Echinocereus of some sort and I thought the one on the right might be a Mammillaria but the id. books say it is a Coryphantha.
For the next hour, or so, we drove along the top of the Colorado Plateau, through beautiful country with long vistas and the photographs pretty much all look the same.
We pass through the small town of Quemado NM – population 228 – near the Continental Divide (although I don’t think we passed a sign). We are about at 7200 and the surrounding area is austerely beautiful but empty of signs of people except for Quemado.

 

Arizona and New Mexico often get lumped together and to me, to anyone who has spent any time at both, they are very different. It seems to me that that new New Mexico celebrates its Native American and Hispanic roots while Arizona seems to have ignored them. At least that is my prejudiced opinion as we enter Arizona on Highway 60.
We are driving slightly southwest and, under the glare of the late afternoon sun, the high plane of Arizona looks the same as New Mexico.

To be continued…