Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Stage 3: Williams to Albuquerque

When we were packing the van back in Fernley, I saw Lisa put one of our umbrellas in the back. "Why are you packing that?" I asked.

"Because we might need it," she said. I laughed. This would come back to haunt me later.

I should have taken heed to the warning of this morning's weather at Williams, as it was raining as we packed the van to set off east. At times the rain was so heavy that the wipers wouldn't clear the window even at high. And while it let off later, it was cloudy through most of our drive across Arizona and New Mexico.

We got away early, which was good because the scheduler doesn't realize that Arizona is effectively in a different time zone. And we did keep making lots of stops, both because our respective metabolisms require it and because there were things we wanted to look at.

Jackrabbit (0)
Anyone who has driven in the Southwest is likely to have seen one of the iconic billboards for the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. We stopped at the Jack Rabbit to have a look around.

Jackrabbit (2)
It doesn't look like it's still open, but I admit that I didn't go look in the window to confirm it.

Jackrabbit (3)
travelswithkuma took a ride on the giant rabbit. "Giddap!" he said, but nothing happened.

While we were stopped here, one of the parade of BNSF trains came by on the main line that parallels old route 66 here. On the spur of the moment, I took a video of it, using the Jack Rabbit sign as part of the framing.

WelcomeToNM (0)
We stopped at the New Mexico Welcome Center just over the state line. These impressive hills loom over the center, and this was just a small bit of the magnificent landscapes we saw along I-40. Cameras do not do it justice, although there are some more photos that I took today on Flickr; click through anything you see here to see the rest of them.

We made up most of the hour "lost" when we went from Mountain Standard to Mountain Daylight Time at the New Mexico state line by taking our lunch to go from Sonic in Gallup. Lisa drove to let me eat my lunch, and then we stopped at the Pilot truck stop to refuel and switch drivers so Lisa could eat hers. As I was starting to get the gas, Lisa discovered that despite having carefully ordered her sandwich without mayo (and the server repeated it back), they had drowned her chicken sandwich in mayonnaise. She threw it away and went inside and bought a sandwich at the Subway inside the truck stop, where she could keep her eye on the people making her sandwich.

As we were still at least two hours ahead of our revised projections to Albuquerque, Lisa asked if we could stop in Grants (where we were originally scheduled to stop tonight) and have a look at the New Mexico Mining Museum. Unfortunately, it's closed on Sundays, so we had to content ourselves with walking around the grounds. My diabetes blood sugar after lunch indicated that a walk was a good idea anyway.

Grants (0)
travelswithkuma perches precariously on a giant drill bit.
Grants (1)
"Cans Boys gets Bears downs from heres, please?"
Grants (7)
Right across from this sign marking Historic Route 66...
Grants (8)
Is this sign of the times, as long as such times were when US-66 was still the Main Street of America.
ABQ (1)
We pushed on across New Mexico. Lisa had us get back on to Old 66 on the hills above Albuquerque so I could see this view. The old highway is on the left as rain is falling on the city center.

Around 5 PM, still comfortably ahead of our schedule (we still ended up losing 15 minutes against projections even with all the padding), 370 miles and 9 hours after we started today, (and 1,020 miles from Fernley) we pulled in to the Holiday Inn Express. Here my Platinum status actually worked and they upgraded us to a mini-suite. Furthermore, this must be a "first generation" HIX, as it had wired as well as wireless internet; therefore, It only took a few minutes to upload the photos and video I took today, as opposed to the wi-fi at Wiliams where the photos took more than an hour to struggle through the hotel network.

After getting the photos into my computer and the upload started, we took the camera back to the van and stowed it, then walked a couple of blocks to dinner. A light rain started to fall. By the time we were finished eating, it was a moderate to heavy rain. Lisa looked at me significantly. Despite having been warned multiple times and despite having been at the van before we walked to dinner, I hadn't brought the umbrella with me. Fortunately, it wasn't too far, and we didn't get too awful wet. Lisa improvised a rain hat for travelswithkuma, who does not like getting wet.

Back in the room, we were both winding down when we heard booming sounds from the window. Opening the curtain, we saw fireworks! The Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA affiliate of the LA Dodgers) were holding Fan Appreciation Weekend with a fireworks show, and after we shut off the lights, we had box seats to watch the show, as the Isotopes' stadium is only a few blocks away and down the hill from us. That was a fun little bonus we earned for pushing on to Albuquerque today.

Tomorrow morning, we'll be meeting an old friend of Lisa's for breakfast at a restaurant over by the train station before detouring north to Santa Fe to take care of some business with her late father's estate. While this does take us about 50 miles out of our way, we will then be able to take the shortcut (US-285) to Cline's Corners on our way to Roswell, our target for Monday night. Because we pushed harder the previous two days, we have less distance to travel tomorrow, and therefore I get an extra hour of sleep tonight. And I need it.
Tags: arizona, kuma bear, lisa, new mexico, trains, travel

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