Sunday, 4 September 2016

Day 8: Tucumcari NM - Albuquerque NM

So, New Mexico, where men are men, rocks are red, Plains are Scorching™ and small furry animals are heavily armed.  I saw a T-shaped shirt today which read:
New Mexico: It's not new and it's not Mexico
Perhaps there is a compromise to be had if USAnia takes leave of its senses and elects the appalling D Trump as President in November, viz. El Presidente agrees to pay for the wall that Trump seems so keen on as long as the border is restored to the state it was in before the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  This would, of course, mean the return of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma to Mexico but I'm sure that's not an insurmountable issue1.
Mesa.  Occupied Mexico.  Saturday.
A bit of unavoidable I-40 to start with but I'm soon back on the frontage road parallel to the interstate over to Santa Rosa and a pause at the Route 66 Automobile Museum.  Thirty-odd vehicles of varying degrees of coolness, plus a Nissan 280Z.  Dog knows what that's doing there.  Some are for sale, so if you've got a spare ninety-five thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket just pop over and drive away in a very shiny 1949 Ford Woodie Wagon.  My favourite has to be this:
which started life as a 1947 Chevrolet COE truck but has had a few tweaks over the past seventy-odd years including, though not limited to, a 454 CID (about 7.5 litres) V8.  Sadly this one's not for sale chiz.

The other main attraction in Santa Rosa is the Blue Hole, so called because it's a hole.  And it's blue.  Or at least it is when the sun's out.
A Blue Hole, yesterday
It's about eighty feet deep and popular with scuba divers and not very warm.

A bit further west and you have a choice of Route 66s.  Later incarnations went more or less straight west across the Scorching Plains™ to Albuquerque but before 1937 the road described a big loop to the north, passing through Santa Fe in the process.  I chose the older version as I've been across those Scorching Plains™ before and most of them were a tad dull.  Not that the route north is much better, at least to start with.
O noes! Another Scorching Plain™
But you soon start running into what is essentially the bottom end of the Rockies, which have strayed south from their ancestral homelands of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, and thus by a circuitous route one ends up in Santa Fe. The centre of Santa Fe would be dead nice to wander around for a bit if you could find anywhere to park but on a sunny Saturday of a bank holibob weekend it was not to be.

By now the route is running parallel to, or underneath, I-25, but a noteworthy detour can be made to La Bajada Hill.  This is a La Bajada Hill today:
From 1926 to 1932 66 went over it, before someone saw sense.

I bailed from the official route some miles further south partly so as not to have to fight through the northern suburbs of Albuquerque but mostly to ascend the Sandia Crest.  The Sandia Crest is a lofty wossname that rears a vertical mile or so above the Scorching Plains™ below and in doing so reveals itself to be yet another h>10,000 foot road I missed in 2011 (there's another one on the east side of the Sierra Nevada near Mammoth Lakes too chiz).
Albuquerque from quite a long way up
The main problem with climbing a gert big hill like that is that it plays havoc with one's carefully calculated fuel consumption, er, calculations and so it came to pass that the Ratmobile claimed to have thirteen miles of "gas" left in its tank when I set off down again, which was an altogether too uncomfortable echo of Pike's Peak two years ago.  Doubly so when Emily decided that the nearest "gas" station was twenty-three miles away.  Fortunately she changed her tune when confronted with the evidence, in the shape of a twelve-pump Shell operation some thirteen miles from the top and with seven miles still on the clock.  And it's not often you see one of these filling up at the pumps either:
Western Super Mare

  1. Lie.

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