After a peaceful lunch in the high desert breeze we begin the last half of today’s journey, Grants to Liberal, KS.
Between Gallup and Grants we have crossed the Continental Divide, now all creeks and rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean.
Traveling along I-40 we pass through the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos. These Pueblos are left for another day and another blog.
Driving through Albuquerque is always a treat. The freeways are wide and well marked, the traffic always flows well and the people seem to know where they are going. Approaching Albuquerque from the West is a treat too as the views are spectacular. The Sandia mountains rise dramatically up behind the city and the whole city sits as if in a huge bowl. It actually does. The Rio Grande River carved out the bowl between the mountains.
Leaving Albuquerque to the East we again climb up from the Rio Grande River elevation of 4,900 feet to over 6,700 feet at Tijeras pass. Topping out over the pass, we again begin our descent into the grassland plateau of eastern New Mexico.
Santa Rosa, NM is our next stopping point. The terrain has been mostly high desert with the elevation around 6,000 feet Santa Rosa is a bit lower at 4,600 feet. Here we cross the Pecos River named by the early Spanish visitors. The Pecos River flows from 12,000 feet on the western slope of the Sangre de Christo mountain range 926 miles through New Mexico and Texas until it flows into the Rio Grande at Del Rio.
The sun is beginning its descent into the west as we enter Tucumcari, NM. This was a major overnight stop on historic Route 66. At one point the billboards dotting Route 66 touted 2,000 hotel rooms in Tucumcari.
Today it is still a major stopping point on Interstate 40.
Our journey takes us across the eastern edge of New Mexico and into the of panhandle of Texas arriving at Dalhart. A stop for gas began a series of events I would never like to repeat. After inserting the gas hose into our car, I stepped over the gas hose to reach for the windshield squeegee. I caught my left foot on the hose and fell flat on my face, cutting my forehead, breaking my glasses and hitting my knee with such force, it felt broken. Luckily there was a person and his son who saw what happened. They along with my wife came to my rescue.
They took one look at my forehead and said I needed stitches. Again, luckily they lead the way to the hospital in Dalhart where I spent the next 3 hours getting xrays, cleaning up my wounds and stitching up my face. Unfortunately they could do nothing for the glasses.
David Ward, my PA, was very helpful and kind with a great sense of humor. We talked about his and my love, travel. He loves Yellowstone Park. In fact he worked at Old Faithful Clinic for 5 months the summer of 2011 and plans to return in the future. David talked as he stitched and told me I had a very jagged gash and he was looking at the scull. He said I was lucky in that he could see no cuts in it. The xrays also came back with good news, nothing in my knee was broken. I am grateful for the kind and wonderful staff at the Dalhard Hospital for their help in getting me put back together and us on the road.
Upon release, 3 hours later, we had a very late dinner and continued our drive for the day to Liberal. I am so grateful I am able to continue this vacation to Wisconsin.
After driving this today, and seeing historic sections of historic Route 66 along with some of the diners and “Motor Courts” I am reminded about how far we have come in the last 70 to 80 years in not only our mode of transportation but the engineering and construction of our highways. We have a much easier way to travel across country and in more luxury and safer than our fathers and grandfathers ever did. What do the next 70 to 80 years protend?
I am ready for a night of sleep after today’s events. The pain is manageable, but I am sure it will keep me restless tonight. Tune in tomorrow to follow the rest of my adventures.