Post pickle juice I woke up early and hit the road straight away. I was soon out in the country side travelling south-west on the 60 through farming country. With names of towns including Hereford, Bovina and Clovis you can probably guess that farms were beef based. Thousands of cattle were penned in next to the long straight road which again was flanked by a railway with mile long freight trains moving along with me. A couple of huge towers could be seen from miles away puncturing the flat landscape. Apparently they are grain elevators, used to store and load grain.
Managed to get a hundred miles or so done before breakfast before coming across a dinner straight out of a Jack Reacher novel just on the state border. The dinner was busy with old farmers by the looks of it, everyone knew each other. I was greeted with “Well that’s a bit of an accent, where you from then?” by the friendly young waiter. After seeing so much potential steak I plumped for the steak bagel and had a good chat with the guy about the benefits of travel. I don’t think they get too many tourists there as I went to pay he said not to worry and it’s on the house. Great way to start the day!
I had a another 150 miles to get down to Roswell, the farms spaced themselves out a little and there was more scrub land. Roswell most famous for the UFO incident there in the late 40’s. Little green aliens pepper all the billboards and signage as you come into the city. There is a range of shops selling UFO based souvenirs and a museum you can look around the history of this UFO landing and others. As expected it was a disappointing. However lunch was good at the downtown dive.
After lunch with aliens it was time to press on to El Paso, down the 285 till Artesia. A good-looking little town who likes it’s football team the Bulldogs a lot jugding by the number of signs and a statue of a bulldog. Other football team names seen today include the Chieftains and the Greyhounds. I turned on to the 82 west and very quickly the farms dried up and there was nothing as far as the eye could see apart from very occasional ranch gates. There was hardly any traffic and the silence was deafening when I got out to take this picture.
The 82 takes you through The Lincoln National Forest, winding up higher and higher on twisty roads. The car is fine in a straight line but handles about as well as a blancmange. You pass a few ski resorts before the trees suddenly stop and you descend into the desert.
I was pretty tired by the mid afternoon and very keen to get to El Paso and stop driving for the day. Going south on the 54 you are in the middle of a big plain, flanked on each side by mountain ranges. El Paso is set into the Franklin Mountains right on the border with Mexico and as I approached there was a dramatic weather event taking place. It looked spectacular, the picture doesn’t really do it justice. However I didn’t realise it was soon going to be quite so spectacular once inside it. The the car got pummelled with hail and pretty much cut visibility down to nothing.
I was a very happy camper once I finally reached the motel, ate some rabbit tacos and passed out thinking about an even longer drive tomorrow.