Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Day 33: Socorro, NM - Española, NM

The good news is that I haz teh Intarwebs here.  The bad news is that they are slow.  Slower than the Slow Children, in fact.
Joke shamelessly stolen from Iain Banks
Bah!  Today was supposed to be a mixed bag of scorching plains™ and mountains but the roads across the scorching plains™ always seemed to veer away from the lumpy bits at the last minute to reveal another thirty miles of scorching plains™.  Plus I am beginning to think it's the wrong time of year for the plains to be scorching anyway.  Money back please!

East across the scorching plains™ first, to Carrizozo.  On the way you pass the top end of the White Sands Missile Range - somewhere in this lot:
A SEEKRIT military base, yesterday
is where Dr Oppenheimer and his homies set off the first atomic bomb evvah.  For some reason Mr Obambi doesn't encourage visitors to the site.  Carrizozo apparently has Ancient History, in the form of some connection to Billy the Kid.  Seems he killed one or more people utterly to DETH in these parts.  I have read elsewhere that he was a thoroughly nasty piece of work, shot most of his victims in the back and suffered from syphilis so why he is worthy of celebration is something of a wossname.  No, I think we'll leave Mr the Kid to his own devices today.

Turn north towards Corona.  They are turning this bit of US-54 into a dual carriageway.  16 miles of roadworks pass very slowly at 45 mph, but the trucks on the site have some wik strobe lights, like a Hawkwind gig with a diesel engine.  Corona consists of not a great deal which is why, although considerably nearer to the 1947 crash site, the incident was reported to the La in Roswell.

Turn left here onto NM-42.  The first mile promises much.  Corners!  Hills!  Oh.  It soon turns back into one of those non-scorching plains™ and the smoothest way is to hug the centre line that one will not rock up on the Day of Judgement and hope that TEETH WILL BE PROVIDED!  There, I knew I'd get Ian Paisley into this year's Automatic Diary somewhere.  Eventually you end up here:
And there's more where that came from...
I like to think that this is where  the great French poet and lyric plumber Count Jim "Flies" Moriarty settled after proving to Grytpype-Thynne that he had indeed made enough saxophones to sell to the Indians.  Anything to get out of that retired wooden fish crate.

Then Santa Fe, where all the "gas" stations are on the opposite side of the road.  I must have passed the Wol Liquor Store three times before finding one which wasn't disguised as a branch of Burger King.

Where to stop for the night?  Taos is too far, plus it's bound to be a tourist trap (see also: Moab, Carlsbad, large chunks of Colorado, etc.).  Aha!  Los Alamos!

The road up to Los Alamos provides much in the way of scenery.
The view from the road both to and from Los Alamos
And so does the road down, which is the same road.  Because Los Alamos is full.  Last time I was here, in 2005, it was shut.  I sense a conspiracy.  Helpful Zack at the Holibob Inn suggested one of the casinos back down the hill; I think these are part of the revenge of the Native Americans for lies, genocide, smallpox and saxophones.  I am not a gambling man so instead fetched up at Española.

Not the most inspiring day, all told, but at least teh Intarwebs seems to have woken up a bit.

On scrap metal dealing: In New Mexico there are two sorts of single carriageway roads, viz. those that traverse the scorching plains™ and those in the mountains.  The latter have blind corners and frequent changes of gradient while the former lack the twisty bits but have plenty of dips and crests to trap the unwary, fill with flood water and provide cover for Billy the Kid.  Thus both have frequent "no passing" zones.  At the start of each and every such zone there is, on the left of the road, one of these:
while on the right there is one of these:
And at the end of the zone, one of these:
These three, by the way, were no more than a hundred yards apart.  The signs are quite large and made from aluminium.  We have similarly-constructed signs to mark off the distances at Battle Mountain; had they not fallen off the back of Don Schroeder's then-employer we'd have had to stick with the ancient home-brewed wooden ones which never quite recovered from spending a Several of months in a shipping container half-full of snow-melt.  Anyway, there must be untold thousands of these signs in New Mexico.

You can guess the rest.  It's probably safer than nicking railway signalling cables, anyway.


  1. Española I remember (in 1992) as being the home of the customised low-ride vehicule. Please report any sightings.

    1. Aten't seen any, but because of webby SCIENCE slowness it was dark by the time I went out in search of milk.