Betty, who was on this camping trip, sent the fotos she had taken. They all refer to experiences in the last blog but I am including them in this blog so ya’ll can see some snippets of Big Bend NP.
I will start with this foto from the Big Bend archives, sent to me by a ranger there. This is the road up to Chisos Basin. But I remember much more vegetation on the road itself. This foto must have been taken during a time of year when there was more traffic.
April 7, Friday
Low 50 degrees. The air was calm this morning so I had hot cocoa.
I was still sad about Sheila’s having to leave. I missed her companionship. Yesterday, today…. I missed all my Big Bend camping mates, Sheila, Marian, Betty, Leza, Mother, Father, Joan, Angel, and Mama. Had I mentioned that Sheila had brought her dog, Mama?
Sylvia and Betty lolling in the hot springs “bathtubs.” Note the lovely pink color of my T-shirt.
The great horned owl had found a potential mate. Part of the time he was calling today he was answered by another great horned owl on the other end of the campground. Speaking of birds, I had seen at least one roadrunner each day in Big Bend.
I drove to the Boquillas Canyon Trailhead and hiked about 1½ miles total. I went a short ways past the end of the maintained trail. Both sides of the Rio Grande were lined with sheer rock walls. Very pretty. The walls were composed of limestone laid down in narrow sheets. I gave $2 to a Mexican named Jesús. He was standing beside the path and had sung a couple verses of songs in Spanish. He had a good voice. He was also trying to sell trinkets but I wasn’t interested. I thought later I should have given him at least five. Two dollars almost won’t buy anything. But I didn’t have much in my pocket. I did tell him he had a good voice.
At the Rio Grande Village Visitor Center I finally remembered to mention the coyote Sheila and I had seen. I told the ranger that soon after turning onto The Old Maverick Road we saw a coyote walking on the other side of the road, approaching us at a leisurely pace. As we passed, I looked out my open side window and stared at him, and he stared back at me, right in the eye. For several moments. I wondered if the animal was rabid. The ranger said that was common behavior of coyotes on the roads in the park.
The ranger also offered the information that the little store at Study Butte carried enough variety that rangers shopped there instead of driving all the way to Alpine.
I ate in the dappled shade on the one picnic table at the Rio Grande Village Visitor Center and opened two cans for lunch. I ate a can of soup, then reached in the can of boiled peanuts Betty had brought along just to give me. The peanut I pulled out was fat. As it passed into my close vision, just before I put it in my mouth, I noticed that it still seemed to have a shell. I crunched and chewed once or twice, then decided that didn’t work. I took the strings out of my mouth and read information on the label on the can. The consumer was supposed to drain the liquid off (I drank some of it; it was very salty and tasted vaguely like okra) and shell each peanut before putting the inner nuts in her mouth. I drained the can, then set it in the SUV to munch on peanuts when I was sitting somewhere for a while to relax.
On my way north I detoured to the hot springs so I could take fotos. I had left my smart fone in the car with Leza when Betty and I had soaked in the water. The road was narrow. In places, at the same time, there was a vertical cliff wall on the passenger side and a vertical dropoff of a few yards on the driver’s side.
Arrived home to Agnes at 5:30 pm. Air temperature was 770 but temperature inside enclosed tent was 1070.
Note the rugged country on the edge of the campground.
April 8, Saturday
Two great horned owls called across the campground again this morning. Low 510. The air was calm so I fixed hot cocoa.
Besides my usual can of beans I ate the boiled peanuts from the can I had opened yesterday. So I could reach the peanuts better I poured the can’s contents onto a brown paper bag. There had still been a little liquid in the bottom of the can and the shells of the peanuts in the liquid were still very soft. The shells of the rest of the peanuts had begun to dry and harden. The peanuts inside the liquid-soft shells were very tiny; almost all the liquid had boiled out of them during canning. The peanuts inside the shells that had begun to dry had resorbed liquid and had swollen to fit the entire insides of the shells, swollen to larger than normal. The somewhat dry shells were wet enuf that they were difficult to open. I cracked them with my teeth, then worried the shells and peanuts til I got the nuts into my mouth. The peanuts tasted like the brine from the can — vaguely like okra. The project took half an hour and my fingers got tired and sore. I wondered if boiled peanuts that had not been canned would be easier to shell.
I drove the 8-plus miles of the graveled Grapevine Hills Road to the Balanced Rock trailhead. I put 4titude in four-wheel-drive and oiled his 4WD transmission for more than ten miles while driving in and back out.
The first part of the trail was flat, sloping gently uphill thru a fairly wide canyon or dry wash, and had very few rocks underfoot. Then the trail began going up a hillside. A Texas Parks And Wildlife article had said this last quarter mile was a “scramble.” The ranger at the Rio Grande Village visitor center had said the trail zigzagged up among the rocks, and indicated there was no scrambling. About halfway up thru the boulder field I realized I had bitten off more than I should try to chew when hiking alone at age my age. However, something kept me going up. Only three short portions of the trail were actual scrambles.
Suddenly, I was facing the Balanced Rock and two young women underneath it. It was exactly 12 noon. I took fotos from both sides of the rock, then went back down the trail. It took me 45 minutes to get up and 40 minutes to find my way back down. The scenery around was lovely. Going up, the boulder fields of the Grapevine Hills were fun to study. Coming down, thru the wide “V” of the canyon there was a beautiful view across cut-up, colored desert and far hills.
Also pretty was a colorful lizard I had seen on the trail. It had a blue head, wide red neck band, and green torso and legs.
I parked beside Agnes at 2:30 p.m. Temperature inside enclosed tent was 1180.
In the evening I walked to the nearby amphitheater and heard Ranger Jeannette’s talk of “the top ten things about Big Bend National Park.” The talk, with slides, was professionally constructed and Jeannette’s deliver was professional. Very well done. I had thought she was going to pick out specific places, such as the highest point in the park (Emory Peak) and the hot springs. Instead, the topics were more general, thus more than ten actual spots were included. Topics were such things as geology, fossil finds, animals, and history of the origin of the park. One fact she stated that I wrote down was that at Santa Elena Canyon the elevation change from the river to the top of the cliffs was approximately 1,500 feet.
This shows some cloud-fog obscuring the ramparts around the campground. Marian is holding a copy of a CD Leza has produced of her own singing.
April 9, Sunday
Low was 600. Air calm so I had a cup of hot cocoa after typing my trip notes this morning. It was too hot late afternoon and evening yesterday to boot up the computer.
I drove halfway down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and parked at the Upper Burro Mesa trailhead. The trail was said to wander 1.8 miles to the top of the Burro Pouroff. I put on my boots and pack and began striding confidently down the trail on the desert mesa. Burro Canyon soon narrowed and the trail went down bedstone ledges in the bottom of the little wash. After about a quarter of a mile my feet stopped at the upper edge of a ledge that was about 3 feet high. There were little handholds and narrow foot ledges along the upper side of the ledge but I would have had difficulty getting down safely and getting back up the ledge. I probably could have handled the scramble but I did not want to attempt it alone. The strength in my legs, which used to be exceptional, has deteriorated in recent years and my balance had been reduced. I turned around and walked slowly back up the trail, taking time to enjoy the scenery and the few blooming plants. It took me 15 minutes to walk that far down the trail and 22 minutes to go back up the hill. I consoled myself with the thought that from the top of the pouroff I would not have been able to see much of the pouroff itself.
I drove south and took the Burro Pouroff turnoff. The trail was entirely flat, altho it sloped in places, except for one water bar step (log across the path for erosion control). From the parking lot I walked a half mile to the bottom of the pouroff. During and after rainstorms, water poured straight down off a tall cliff. The flows had eroded the cliff upcanyon a few yards from the cul-de-sac of cliffs surrounding it. The little cove and towering cliffs were pretty. Because it was still morning the spot was in the shade and was cooler than the mid 80s of the path in the sun.
On the way back to the campground I drove a few miles down the Painted Gap Road because the ranger had said the scenery was pretty. The scenery was too far away and there was too much flat desert around me for my taste to call it pretty. I turned around at the third primitive campsite because the road from thereon required high clearance. Again, I am sure I could have handled the road but I figured I really should not try it alone on a road on which no one came along for days or weeks. The road went onwards to the top of a low saddle in a low ridge and ended somewhere not much farther on, but I turned back. The saddle may have been the “Painted Gap.”
When I returned to camp the air temperature was 820 and the tent temperature 1150.
I ate one can of soup then opened the huge bag of already-popped popcorn that Leza and Betty had left with me. I also opened a small bag of Asian salad dressing that Betty had included. I poured some popcorn into a bowl and drizzled the dressing over them. The combination was delicious. When the dressing was gone I put a couple tablespoonfuls of apricot jelly in the bowl and added more popcorn. It was also tasty, but the salad dressing had tasted better because of the oil in the dressing.
Just before sundown I drove up to the Chisos Lodge and chose a seat on the patio. At 8:30 a ranger began a talk on bears. She was knowledgeable and used a lot of humor and expressive body language. It was almost like attending a comedy show.
An Angel in the tent.
April 10. Monday
Low 590. Occasional wind bringing in a cool front that carried potential thunderstorms for the next several days.
From my campsite I saw two colorful birds fly by, a Baltimore oriole, then a vermillion flycatcher.
This morning I drove to Lajitas, driving thru charming desert hills and colorful, cut-up plateaus. Lajitas, however, was a disappointment. It was merely a rich people’s playground. The village mostly consisted of the Lajitas Pro Golf And Spa and its associated businesses. There were a couple other expensive ventures. Even an “international airport”! Also a necessity — a gas station. There were a few private houses, some rich and some poor. At the eastern edge was a hot, dry tent campground for the poor-in-money outdoorsmen wanting to skim the river or ride the zip line. For the campers and the locals there was a convenience store and a cemetery.
At the bakery of the Lajitas Pro Golf And Spa I bought two sausage-and-cheese-filled kolaches. The baker heated them in a microwave and I ate them immediately. The sausages were shaped like wieners and had a hot pepper tang to them. Delicious. They were made from scratch with the filling being surrounded by what looked like a hot dog bun baked with the fillings inside it.
I was told the old Movie Set was perhaps 20 miles further west. Since I had probably seen none of the movies I was not interested in driving further just to pay to see some faux buildings.
The Barton Warnock Museum of Environmental Education in Big Bend State Park did not interest me. I had studied or read about a lot of environmental issues and did not feel like paying to go thru a visual lecture.
I stopped at the little Cottonwood grocery store in Study Butte and wandered thru. A refrigerated package of avocado and mango salsa caught my eye. I bought it to stir into the remaining pre-popped popcorn. The resulting mixture tasted reasonably good.
The camp host later told me that the road continuing west from Lajitas to Presidio followed the Rio Grande and was a very scenic drive. Too bad I had not talked to him before I drove to Lajitas.
When we returned home at 2:22 4titude said the air temperature was 770. Temperature inside the enclosed tent was 1180.
At sundown there was a layer of clouds in and above the Window, but no other clouds in the sky. Lovely sunset.
Another side of the Chisos Basin. Snack time.
April 11, Monday
Low 61. Not a shred of any cloud in the sky but I could smell the very high humidity in the air. The doves, chirping birds, and great horned owls greeted the day with their voices, as usual.
This morning I whiled time away. I typed yesterday’s trip notes, then drank hot cocoa. Then drank water while eating a can of beans, then had another cup of hot cocoa. Sitting at the picnic table, I put the rising sun at my back and worked crossword puzzles and studied a wildflower ID book.
At 10:15 a.m. I prepared to go brush teeth and put sunscreen on ear lobes. When I stood up and turned around I saw feathery grey clouds being propelled over and down the tops of the peaks lining the east side of the Chisos Basin. At first I thought the clouds were raining but decided that what I thought was rain was yet only fog or low-lying portions of clouds.
I carried my rain poncho when I walked to the toilet building to brush my teeth. At several camp sites people had left towels and clothes spread out to dry without anything holding them in place, then had driven away. Today those campers would learn not to trust the wind and weather when they left camp.
I drove about 5½ miles past Panther Junction and turned onto the Glenn Springs Road. A ranger had said the springs were at the end of the road. The 1½-lane-wide gravel road headed easterly along the base of the Chisos Mountains, then it turned due south and started across flat desert. I stopped and took a good look at the map. The road went all the way across the wide, hot flats to the hot springs. Glenn Springs were a few miles south of where I had stopped. According to some rangers I had talked to, most of the springs were dry, especially any on the flat desert.
I turned around, backtraced a ways, and took the Pine Canyon Road. It was a little narrower and not so well graveled. I passed one primitive camp site and, just before reaching the second one, I halted below a short rise that had deep, sandy holes dug out by spinning tires. I put 4titude into 4WD and drove thru and up with no problem. Went a few more yards then switched back to 2WD. On the way back I did not have to use 4WD because gravity helped 4titude plow thru and over the sand holes.
After the second primitive camp site the road began deteriorating. As 4titude tooled easily along I began to think that it was foolish for a weak, old woman (would be 76 in one month) to be driving on bad roads in a place rarely frequented by anybody, should she (I) need help. Turned around and drove back to camp.
Arrived home at 3:55 p.m. Air temperature 770. Temperature inside enclosed tent was 1050. Clouds had covered the sun part of the day and not as much solar heating thru the nylon had taken place as on the two previous days.
Rain clouds gathered overhead during afternoon and evening. I could smell rain but none fell in the Basin. From looking at the clouds it did seem to rain on the south side of the Basin rim, perhaps upon the area where I had driven in and out on dirt ravines earlier.
Leza being filmed by neighboring campers. Note the fog down low in the canyon top center.
April 12, Wednesday
Wind blew fiercely off and on during the night. The wind took a long breather at sunup and I was able to heat water for hot cocoa. Two great horned owls hooted. They were roosting close to each other.
To get a little exercise I utilized hiking trails and walked a loop up to the Chisos Basin Visitor Station, covering a total of about 1½ miles. While I was there I hooked up to their wi-fi and checked the weather forecast for Portales, New Mexico. The area was supposed to have rain and severe weather tonight, some rain tomorrow, then sun the next few days.
April 13, Thursday
Wind was fierce off and on during the night, followed by two light rains. I was concerned that the wind might tear parts of Agnes into shreds. She was still in excellent shape when I decamped this morning. The fierce winds had kept me awake altho the raindrops and softer winds lulled me into sleep now and then. I arose at 4:50 a.m. The moon was valiantly shining, sometimes between clouds and sometimes thru thin parts of clouds. Its light helped me pack the SUV.
Just as I finished “folding” the wet tent I turned around and looked at the saddle that the exit (and entrance) road passed up and over. A huge cloud had dropped down, well below the top of the saddle. While I finished departing preparations I carried on a debate. Was the fog on the saddle so thick that the road would not be visible, or was it actually not as thick as it looked?
I opted to begin the day’s trek and see how the fog lay. Temperature was 550 when I drove away at 6:20 a.m. There were a couple of spots on the saddle where I literally could not see the road or anything else for a few yards, but only for a couple of yards. The rest of the time I was able to see at least the white line on the right edge of the road, and much of the time I could see the double yellow line down the center of the highway.
On the south side of Marathon I stopped and watched one peacock and three peahens amble slowly across the highway, US 385.
I again ran into fog when going thru the hills between Marathon and Fort Stockton.
At 12:46 it suddenly became 11:46 noon. That was good because it took me 10½ hours to drive from the Big Bend campsite to my campsite at Oasis State Park just out of Portales New Mexico, 387 miles. Arrived at site 12 at 3:50 p.m.
I called Terre and she drove out. While I waited for her, I spread the tent and associated tarps out to dry. Together, Terre and I managed to get Agnes back on her feet in spite of very strong wind gusts. We hugged and parted til Saturday.
My traveling cabin.
April 14, Friday
Strong winds blew much of the night. Strong winds were not unusual here.
Low 60. Sky completely overcast. Sun never came up.
Last night when I went to bed sky was full of stars. Yesterday, camp host and Terre had checked Portales’ forecast. Today was to have a morning low of 530 and a sunny high of 81. Saturday low to be 52 and high 82. Sunday low 480. Plus 20% chance of rain some time during these days.
I ran a couple of shopping errands in Portales. I bought a pair of gym shoes at Bealls and a battery-run clock for camping. My old clock had become a nuisance soon after I had arrived at Big Bend. It began sounding its alarm constantly. Leza disconnected the battery then reconnected it and the clock stopped alarming. However, that evening it began sounding its alarm again and would not stop even after I disconnected then reconnected the battery, so I threw it in the dumpster.
The little watch that hung from my belt stayed on Arizona time. It was difficult to read after dark. A larger clock was easy to read with any kind of light shining on it and I kept it on local time. When I got back to Agnes I put a battery in the new clock and set it for New Mexico DST, which was an hour ahead of Arizona sun time.
The rest of the afternoon and into the evening the wind continued to be harsh on Agnes.
I picked up the gym shoes to rework the laces and noticed the alarm mechanism had not been removed. I had tried on the shoes in the store and decided to wear them the rest of the day. I had carried the box to the counter so the clerk could get the price off the bar code ($70 on sale for $50). Neither she nor I thought about the fact that I needed to take the one shoe off my foot and hand it to her so she could remove the alarm lock. I noticed that the door alarm rang when I walked out the door but nobody came after me so the problem went unnoticed. A few minutes later, when I walked into WalMart with a bunch of people, the door alarm sounded. No one noticed. I was the only person going out the door when I left. The door alarm sounded but no one came running up to accost me and I still did not realize I was the person setting off the alarms.
I caught the camp host, who was quite a handyman, and asked if he would be able to remove the lock. He said he could but inside the lock was a bunch of India ink under pressure and it would spray all over the shoe if he pried the lock off. He had found out by experience when he was once in the same situation. I decided I might have to stick around Portales til 10 am Sunday to get the problem fixed. If I had realized that was Easter Sunday and stores would probably be closed, I would have panicked. But I figured I would have things taken care of on Sunday before I headed for home.
The colors of sunset did not spread very far under the huge cloud covering most of the sky, even tho there was a large unclouded strip between the horizon and the edge of the cloud. Lightning to the north and NNE created large pink and yellow areas on the clouds as the sun’s rays did their final sinking.
April 15, Saturday
Low 62 degrees. Sky completely covered with mass of low-hanging clouds. However, today the clouds all went away by midafternoon.
I picked Terre up at her house and we headed for Lubbock. As we were approaching the city, Terre suddenly realized we had not accounted for the time zone change and we were an hour late. I called Nancy Meinecke and explained. We all arrived at the Blue Sky Café across from the University of Texas Tech Museum at 12 noon. I had met Robert and Nancy Meinecke at the Agua Piedra Campground in Angostura Valley (“Tres Ritos”) the summer before summer and we had kept in touch. The Meineckes had brought three grandchildren to the café because all five of them were headed for a birthday party after lunch. The children were very well behaved and were a delight. Robert wrote out some simple driving directions so I could find the wind power museum.
Interior showing chuck wagon and a few of the many, many windmills.
Terre and I had planned the trip to Lubbock specifically to see the American Wind Power Museum. I went east as Robert had directed, but in a couple of blocks I was faced with a dilemma. 4th Street split. Neither of the splits claimed to be the continuation of 4th Street. I made a guess and guessed wrong. However, after driving a long exit road and frontage street we arrived at University Avenue. It took me a minute to realize this was the old north-south College Street. Robert had said the museum was out east on Broadway. I knew University intersected with Broadway and I felt certain Broadway went straight east at least as far as the museum. I was correct. I enjoyed toodling slowly along the remaining bits of Broadway’s brick-lined street between the Texas Tech campus and downtown.
Robert had said we would pass Mackenzie Park and then the museum would be on our left. We did go past the old, formal, entrance to Mackenzie and an adjacent, newer entrance. Now I knew an easy way to get to Mackenzie Park. Directions I had used a few years ago had us taking the Loop, then running into difficulty deciding when to exit.
The American Wind Power Center was on our right, not our left as Robert had written, and we slid past the entrance. I made a U-turn, because there was almost no traffic, backtracked, and parked 4titude in the parking lot.
There were a lot of explanatory signs.
The museum was mostly about windmills and had almost nothing about modern electricity-generating wind towers, altho it did have a couple of the structures. Luckily, I mentioned to the entrance clerk that I was especially interested in the electricity-generating turbines and she told us quite a bit of information, of the layman type that I was looking for.
The museum was very interesting. It was fascinating that a very long and detailed model railroad display was being built. It began on a long table. One end of the table featured Lubbock in 1941 buildings,
and the other end had a tunnel thru Yellowhouse Canyon.
Tunnel not in this foto.
Except that that was not the end. From Yellowhouse Canyon the train wound up a spiral til it reached a level set of tracks well above everyone’s heads in the building. This upper track made a complete circuit of the edifice.
Getting back to Portales was not so simple because no highway sign said anything about Clovis. Highway numbers were given but meant nothing to me. Eventually we got on 4th Street heading west and kept going. I always forgot that 4th Street was not the Clovis Highway. Pretty soon 4th Street dead-ended and I backtracked a short ways to a highway sign pointing to Shallowater 7 miles distant. We drove on a straight-as-an-arrow, narrow, farm-to-market road past very expensive houses. When we reached the Clovis Highway, which turned out to be number 84, i.e. US 84, we agreed we had enjoyed seeing new parts of Lubbock and the countryside.
As we were passing the outskirts of Littlefield I noticed a Beall’s store in a strip mall along the highway. There were cars parked in the parking lot. At my next chance, I did a U-ie across a break in the median and headed back to the mall. Beall’s was open. I took the shoes and receipt inside and the clerk cheerfully removed the alarm lock from the shoes.
Eventually I dropped Terre off at her house and I returned to Agnes.
April 16, Easter Sunday
The low this morning was 52 degrees. I took Agnes down and drove away at 9 am.
After leaving Vaughn I noticed I had made a wrong turn at a highway intersection. I turned around and went back to US 60. Had driven eleven miles out of the way.
At 5:05 I arrived at Site 19 in the BLM Datil Well Campground. It had taken me 8 hours to drive the 338 miles.
Starting Friday I had been promising myself that I would have grass-fed beef steak for dinner at the restaurant in the village of Datil Well. As I drove along today I began to think about the fact that many restaurants, especially in small towns, were not open on major holidays. Sure enuf, I did not get my grass-fed beef steak dinner.
At site 19, when I unfolded the blankets that I set out to drape over my chair and me for warmth during cold evenings and mornings, a centipede stared up at me. Somehow it had gotten into the very center of the folds. I was lucky it had preferred the warmth of the blanket last night and had not sought out my body. Both blanketed chair and I had been in the tent all night. OR, the centipede might have climbed into the blankets while I was packing the SUV this morning. Perhaps when I set them outside on chair or table til their place was ready in the SUV. Centipedes did not live at this 7,800-foot elevation campgound because of the cold winters.
I knocked the centipede to the ground, then realized it would seek me out for warmth during the night because I would be sleeping without a tent and would be the only warm thing around. I began looking for something to kill it with. There weren’t any large stones around so I grabbed the paperback book I had set out to read. I slammed the book down on the centipede but did not seriously injure the insect and it ran under the picnic table. While I was looking for the centipede it found me and I found it hanging onto my left great toe with its two venomous fangs. I was wearing sandals. I squeaked loudly but other campers were on the other side of the campground and did not hear me. Adrenaline surged and I swatted the large insect even harder with the book, pushing it away from my toe in the process. That stunned the insect and it did not move much. I was able to keep banging the book against the centipede til it no longer twitched. For the next couple hours I returned to the body over and over and poked it with a long twig to make sure the thing was actually dead.
I wondered how soon the venom was going to begin burning the inside of blood veins in my toe and foot, how much of my leg would swell up, and if I would have difficulty driving the next few days. I’d had experience a few years earlier with the terrific pain and swelling of centipede venom. A scorpion sting would have been preferable.
For exercise, I walked around the campground three times during the evening. The distance seemed to be a third of a mile. I met a Mr. and Mrs. Crankshaw. We sipped from a bottle of red wine, chatted for a long time, and exchanged email addresses. They were headed for Bottomless Lakes State Park. I told them they would enjoy the beautiful CCC work there.
The only pain I felt during the evening and night was the burning from the thin holes made by the needle-like fangs. They felt larger than sewing needle holes, like the fangs might have been as large as size 24 intravenous catheter needles. I must have swatted the centipede off my toe before it’d had time to squeeze any venom down its teeth into my toe.
Back at the American Wind Power Center. This type of windmill was brought over by European settlers on the east coast and was the type of windmill built in the US for a number of years.
April 17, Monday
I slept under the stars last night. Each time I woke up to turn over I gazed in wonder at the beautiful collection of stars above me.
It only took a couple minutes to stow my bed in the SUV. The temperature was 370 when I began driving at 6:15 a.m. I was glad I’d not had to freeze my fingers by taking down a tent.
In the duskiness of late dawn I saw two female elk standing beside the highway. They merely moved their heads as they watched me drive by.
Nineteen miles from my night’s camp site my odometer read 50,786 as I drove over the Continental Divide. Temperature there was 320. Just a few miles farther on the temperature was 270 at the village of Quemado. Time was now a quarter hour past sunrise.
Time went backwards as I crossed the NM/AZ state line and now matched the time on 4titude’s clock.
While driving across a flat, relatively uninteresting area east of Springerville, a Lescroat audiobook on CD ended. To keep me awake I broke out the first CD of the set of Johnny Cash CDs I had bought in Nashville.
In Springerville I purchased a delicious breakfast at Booga Red’s restaurant.
I stopped at the Maverik gas station on the east edge of Show Low. Inside, the upper halves of the walls, adjacent portions of the ceiling, and the entire hallway walls of the walkway to the bathrooms were painted with murals. I had seen similar murals in a Maverik station on the edge of Cortez, Colorado in 2016. After taking pictures I asked the clerk if all Maverik stations had murals. She answered affirmatively, adding that Maverik was a new company and did not have many stations yet. Seemed to be headquartered in the Phoenix area.
At 1:11 p.m. I parked at the McDonald’s Restaurant one-half mile from my condo and engaged in my obsession with Bacon McDouble burgers. Stopped at Safeway three blocks from home and bought a few items to feed me for a couple days til I could make time for a longer shopping trip. I left Safeway at 2:16. Parked at my condo at 2:22 pm. Odometer 51,087. Today I had driven the 320 miles in 9 hours, including eating and shopping.
Total mileage for the trip was 6,405 miles.