Sunday, January 27, 2013

On the Road Again, with apologies to Willie Nelson

If you have been following along, you'll know that we were readying ourselves for the road home to the Great North Wet. It is about 2500 mi. (4000 km.) give or take. Accordingly we had the trunk loaded yesterday, and it only remained to load the back seat, feed the ferrets, make coffee and head out.

It had been raining lightly overnight, and it was still misting lightly as we got ready to load up. Here is a picture of the pile of stuff that is to go in the back seat.

Once everything was loaded up, we hitched up the trailer, which is coming back with us, while the bikes rest in Oklahoma in sweet repose until our return in May. With lights checked, coffee at hand and tuneage on the radio we are ready to roll.

The official "thumbs up has been given by the Scooterchick, and we are now officially BC bound. To avoid weather we are going the long way, but the predictable way.

After about an hour and a half, I snapped this picture because there is something about a red barn. I'm not sure what it is....but, something.

We took a couple pictures in Duke Oklahoma. The townsfolk have a large mural on a building wall downtown. It took 2 pictures to get the whole wall in.

The same holds true for our next stop, Hollis Oklahoma. 2 pictures were required to get the whole wall in.

In spite of the lovely large mural, Hollis was, is and remains a small town. To illustrate how small, here is a picture of the Hollis Police Station, which also houses the Harmon County Sheriff's Dept.

So now we come to the Texas State Line. There are about 200 mi. to go to NM., then another 116 mi. to our destination for the night.

But first, we have oodles of Texas to go. By now, it's mid-morning and we have traveled the equivalent of 20 days journey for those Westward faring pioneers in their covered wagons.

We continue to pass through towns with great historical interest and little current activity. This is Memphis, no not Memphis Egypt, no not even Memphis Tennessee, Memphis Texas population 2,290 down from a historic high of 4,257 in the 1930's. When passing through towns like this, Scooterchick and I just look at each other and say WOW!

We continue west through Texas and approach a promontory of which I've read in Larry McMurtry novels. This is "the Caprock", a mesa where the elevation changes from the westernmost reaches of the Great Plains, and climbs roughly 1000 feet to the Llano Estacado in far West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.

During the westward migration there were a line of stakes erected  across the llano (plain) marking the trail west, giving the area the name "staked plain". Without the stakes travelers could easily become lost and wander in circles until they died of thirst or exposure.

As we climb up the Caprock on a stretch of road called Schott's Gap, named after the man who built it in the early 1900's the speed slows to 30 mph to negotiate the curves.

The rock that makes up the Caprock is easily visible as we climb the narrow canyon to the top.

At the top there is a small picnic area and we can look back down the canyon. The change in elevation is easily seen from this point.

Here is a Schott.....haha looking back down the road to the plains below. The wind at the picnic site was steady and strong. Although the temperature was around 72 F. it was cool standing in the shade.

It was now about 11:40 a.m. and time for a wee nosh. We had double creme Brie, Green and Red grapes, Smoked turkey sausage and water. A quick bite, a couple pictures and we were ready to go again. The wind was strong enough that the water bottle would not stand up, but blew over.

Here is Scooterchick standing in the sun and breeze, looking adorable as always. By now we have finished nibbling, and are ready to roll out again.

A short 145 mi. later we come to the border of New Mexico. We thought this sign somewhat anti-climactic.

That was until we went another half a block and saw this sign. Much more realistic. Now entering The Land of Enchantment, particularly is enchantment involves incendiary chilies......haha

We stopped at Wally World to get water and a few snacks. It was interesting to note that they sell beer, wine and liquor in the Wal-Mart, but not in New Mexico on Sundays. Good says I.

It also appears that every cloud does have a silver lining in NM.

As we continued west I saw a sign that read 45 mi (72 km.) to our destination. Have I mentioned how I love the road system in the US. I remember looking at the sign and figuring okay, about 1/2 hr.

We come now to our destination for the night, Roswell NM. Entering town we wondered if we would see anything of an extra-terrestrial nature.

Roswell was larger than I thought. Just under 50,000 people. They proclaim themselves the "dairy capital of New Mexico, but I think most people visit for different reasons. This is the City Hall.

Travelling a little further down Main Street the going definitely gets a little weirder. Signs on the buildings hint at the contents. What might we discover?

Relaxing in the front window over a leisurely hand of cards we find some other tourists. I don't see any betting taking place, perhaps the lack of earth money limited their ability to wager.

When you consider that the Roswell incident of 1947 kicked off the whole Air Force Project Blue Book era, it certainly was good business for Roswellians. The cashing in continues to this day. Heck, I bought a fridge magnet, there's $3 right there..................haha.

Inside the store one found UFO related kitsch, including the aforementioned magnet and this fellow, relaxing over a Coke.

Here is another recent arrival. I believe this is supposed to be a landing pod. For such a supposedly advanced species, it looks somewhat crude and hoky no?

 Here we have a worthy opponent for a game of Foosball. When you consider that only one of the contestants is alive, it seems like a fixed fight.

 Finding ourselves famished after our long day of travel, and hobnobbing with outer worldly ambassadors, we decided to go with something a little more mundane for dinner.

Predictability thy name is IHOP. The added advantage of their current promotion of never ending pancakes clinched the deal, although my appetite only stretched to 4 pancakes. Sad, I know but although I could have crammed 6, I wisely considered my expanding girth, my increasing bulk and drew the line early rather than regretting my excess later.

And so with the sun sinking low in the western sky, we freshly fueled up, gas was $3.09 gal. We headed for our accommodations.

Breakfast starts at 6, and so it's shower, blog and bed in that order. We have another long day tomorrow. Who knows what wonders we'll discover?

Good night faithful companions. Your observations will be warmly welcomed in the comment section.
Buona Notte as they say in Milano.

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