Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Day 27: Farmington NM - Eagle CO

Yoicks, that was longer than I, and Mr Google, had anticipated.  Especially since Emily has apparently forgotten about the existence of US-24 north of Leadville and sent me off up CO-91 instead, adding twenty miles to the trip.

Rewind.  The first thing on the anbaric distascope at breakfast time was Pretty Weather Lady standing in front of a map that looked like it had been reworked by Jackson Pollock.  Closer inspection shewed that the unpleasantness was all around a line from Santa Fe through Albuquerque, Roswell and Carlsbad i.e. right where I got flooded three years ago.  And over Farmington was a circle with the number "26" written in it, which I took to mean "about -3 Celsius".  By the time I actually got moving, though, it was a balmy 6.  But the sunshine prevailed all day, in spite of the increasingly ominous-looking clouds building up to the east in the afternoon.
Weather, Colorado, Monday
First and, in fact, only port of call today lay some forty miles south of Farmington which, if you are following these perambulations on a Proper Map, you will note is in the opposite direction from, well, Colorado.  That's because that's where the New Mexicans keep the Bisti Wilderness.  In a previous life it was a river's delta but that was about 70 million years ago and what's left is a bewildering variety of landscape formations that I, lacking time, fitness and sensible footwear, could only nibble at the edges of.  Probably inhabited by Carkers too, as featured in Anthony Boucher's short story "They Bite", which was dead scary when I read it as an impressionable nine year old and still creates a certain frisson today.


This stuff has the texture and consistency of crumble and is probably not meant to be climbed on.  Oh...
It's remote enough from any main road that I found myself getting unreasonably cross with the git who inconsiderately flew his light aircraft overhead and it gets much more odd further in.  Watch William Friedkin's 1977 film "Sorceror" for more.  Of it.  Though why he chose to film Roy Scheider going a bit bonkers in this spot when the rest of the film was shot in the very wet rain forests of the Dominican Republic is a bit of a mystery.
Picture shamelessly robbed from that The Internet, that they have now.
After that it was a choice.  US-550 over the Coal Bank, Molas and Red Mountain passes and the Grand Mesa to I-70, or US-160 over the Wolf Creek Pass, up the San Luis Valley and over the Poncha and Tennessee passes to the interstate instead.  The latter won, because:

  1. Every time I've been up the 550 it's been full of roadworks, weather or both, and
  2. The section from Ridgway to Delta is soporifically dull, and
  3. Pretty Weather Lady said they'd already started the skiing season at or near Silverton

So, abandon the 550 at Durango and turn right.
Sign still there!
This chap rode up, stopped to put on his jacket and set off back the way he'd come.  Nutter.
Though before even getting that far the lofty peaks of the Mighty Rockies could be seen, in parts at least, to be capped with SNO.
Nearly all this bit was familiar from previous trips - I stayed there, I bought "gas" here, oh, I remember this place now it's where the turn-off for $PASS is and, about two blocks from the hotel, I bought a Dirty Pizza from that place which is now a mobile phone shop.  I am actually spending two nights here in Eagle, if I am not electrocuted utterly to DETH before then, as the carpets in this place generate such copious quantities of stat that sparks fly from my fingertip every time I summon the lift to go outside for a fag.  Or I get buried under some more of this:
Up close and personal with the SNO near Clinton Creek Reservoir

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