From really old wood to The Land of Enchantment.
Tucumcari Travel Blog› entry 3 of 27 › view all entries
June 26th, 2008 – by: jsfarv
Holbrook, AZ to Tucumcari, New Mexico
8:05pm (had to add an hour for Mountain Time) / 92â / Very breezy and balmy â beautiful sunset!
Thatâs what she said.
Ok, got that out of my system. The title of todayâs entry actually references the scope of sights we were able to see. A much shorter distance was covered today than I had anticipated (only 431 miles), but we were fortunate enough to see the Petrified Forest National Park (old wood) and the Painted Desert in Arizona. Only a 28-mile loop through the park and youâre transported back in time to when the region was actually a tropical-climate forest. The petrified trees look remarkably like real trees, only rock (see the picture).
The Painted Desert, at the north end of the park, was absolutely breathtaking.
The 3 hours in the National Park was well worth the delay in our driving schedule (weâd hoped to be in Amarillo, TX tonight). The rest of the day was spent traversing northern New Mexico. Like Arizona before it, New Mexicoâs desert landscape is lush with vibrant green brush that speckles a red-rock base. The I-40 again climbs in elevation to Albuquerque, which is quite the booming metropolis âŚ and we hit rush hour traffic.
Unlike Flagstaff, I do not think I could relocate to Albuquerque â not nearly as nice looking.
So, some of the things I noticed about New Mexico today:
1. 100 Nights of Summer: this is the Highway Patrolâs campaign to curtail summertime drinking and driving. Apparently, according to the plethora of billboards, drunk driving is especially prevalent in the summer. Which makes sense â what goes better with a warm drive home than a cold case of beer? Of course Iâm kidding. So, beyond the billboards, New Mexico has implemented the use of electronic highway signs that read:
100 Days and Nights of Summer
* blank screen *
We can assume that for 100 days and nights, cops will be everywhere in New Mexico. Obviously, after summer, there will be no need to curtail the drinking/driving problem.
2. Dept. of Public Health: Not to be outdone by Arizona and their âMeth kills âŚ your teeth and gumsâ campaign, New Mexico is targeting yet another alcohol-related public health issue: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. What enhances a drive through the New Mexico landscape than being reminded of the horrors of drinking while pregnant? Ahhh, The Land of Enchantment. Each beautiful billboard in this series depicts one of the various victims of F.A.S.
3. My mother is losing her mind: The enchantment of New Mexico was not lost on my mom, perhaps it settled in too quickly. While driving through the hair-pin turns created by road construction, my mom inhales deeply and says, âI smell BBQ.â
Thinking she was crazy, I of course had to inhale.
Wow. BBQ, wafting in through the A/C vents. If this is only New Mexico, the whole south must smell like fried chicken.
About 100 miles later, my mom says,
âMmmmmm, fresh coffee.â
Again, wanting the delicious smell, I inhaled deeply. Only to be met with the horrific, pungent smell of a dead skunk. To which I exclaimed,
âSkunk smells like coffee to you?!?!â
She inhales again. âOh, well, it did at the beginning.â
No, it didnât.
About 100 miles later, we were looking for a campground for the evening. The roadside sign has two choices:
A) Kampground of America (also, illiteracy of America)
B) Choice #2.
Now, there was much debate over what Choice #2 actually said. I saw âHappy Saddle RV Park.â Ok, maybe itâs equestrian themed.
My dad saw âEmpty Space RV Park.â Maybe indicating they always have space for you.
My mom? She saw, âHappy Endings RV Park.â Well, without too much explaining on my part, I about died at the thought of a âHappy Endingsâ RV Park.
The truth? Empty Saddle RV Park â where we are currently watching an enchanting lightening show.
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