A Travellerspoint blog

July 2

Albuquerque - Utrecht


View US New Mexico Texas 2018 Summer on FierceOrc's travel map.

The Old Town of Albuquerque is relatively compact, unusually quiet on a Monday morning, and mostly occupied by little restaurants and tiny galleries. The main attraction, however, appears to be Breaking Bad, a show I have not seen, including a Breaking Bad RV tour.

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Time to go home.

This is my preliminary takeaway. Texas men wear jeans, flannel shirts, suspenders, hats, knives, a drooping mustache, and probably a gun, though we have not seen any. They're either huge or skinny, but mostly huge. They're Euro-American, Latino-American, or Native-American, but hardly ever African-American. They drive over-extended pickup trucks at 75 mph on farm roads and remain frightfully chipper under the weight of the heat. Bridges may ice in cold weather. They hardly ever run across water, while roads may flood. Most buildings are made of stone for the same reason that barbed wire was developed here: not enough wood to build regular fences. Where Western Australia is vast and empty, West Texas is equally vast but the land has been widely cultivated. There is not much natural water to be seen, yet, away from the desert proper, it’s all farmland. An astonishing feat of engineering and perseverance, I take it.

For the record: the combination of heat and humidity was much worse last year in Sri Lanka. Texas in summer: it’s a breeze. Well, it’s a wind. It’s a big wind.

Posted by FierceOrc 13:44 Archived in USA Tagged rv texas new_mexico Comments (0)

July 1

Santa Fe (not quite) – Albuquerque


View US New Mexico Texas 2018 Summer on FierceOrc's travel map.

Took the scenic byway 14, also known as the Turquoise Trail, stepping through the previous ghost town of Madrid, now a "quaint" and apparently thriving arts and crafts community with countless galleries and potteries. Bought Levi’s and baseball hats upon arriving in Albuquerque. All missions accomplished. Tomorrow we’re returning the RV in the morning and will spend the afternoon pottering about the Old Town of Albuquerque.

Posted by FierceOrc 15:43 Archived in USA Tagged rv texas new_mexico Comments (0)

June 30

Tucumcari - Santa Fe (not quite)


View US New Mexico Texas 2018 Summer on FierceOrc's travel map.

The road from Tucumcari to Las Vegas, NM, led us through vast expanses and wide panoramas that are unimaginable in our tiny, overcrowded country. It is no wonder that Dutch farmers are always thinking about moving to this part of the world where they feel the space allows them to think big rather than worry about not stepping on anyone’s toes. The fully decorated Christmas tree by the side of the road won us over easy.

Las Vegas was celebrating its annual fiestas, which run from June 29 through July 4. We missed the early-morning parade, but the grass plaza in the old town was crowded with people sitting in their own folding chairs applauding political speeches celebrating the New Mexico spirit of pride, achievement, and freedom of choice in the context of American values. Foodtrucks were lining the plaza, streets were closed off. There was a funfair. By the time we left, there were still many people arriving.

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Las Vegas, NM

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Las Vegas, NM - Fiestas

One thing we had not anticipated is that Americans are starting a long, a very long Independence Day weekend today. We were lucky to find a site available at the Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground just outside of Santa Fe (which I have visited many times in the past), where we were offered our first view ever of a wheelchair on caterpillar tracks.

Tomorrow is our final stop in Albuquerque before we return the RV there on Monday. We called ahead today and hopefully we have managed to reserve the one remaining site on the KOA Campground.

Posted by FierceOrc 15:37 Archived in USA Tagged rv texas new_mexico Comments (0)

June 29

Palo Duro Canyon State Park - Tucumcari


View US New Mexico Texas 2018 Summer on FierceOrc's travel map.

Until half an hour or so outside of Tucumcari, the road was long, straight, and narrow (no, seriously) through flat farmlands for tens of miles on end. In four hours we must have taken at least as many corners, maybe even more, and encountered probably twice that number of vehicles. Not a gas station in sight. This is where companies like Tesla and Nikola should be testing their autonomous electric trucking concepts.

Ah, Tucumcari. Fabled waystation on historic Route 66. No end of motels on the Mother Road for weary travelers looking for a decent place to spend the night. It’s gone down a little since its heyday, but some iconic motels survive (including the Palomino Motel and the Blue Swallow Motel) and Dels Restaurant, opened in 1956, remains a vey popular spot for lunch. Quite rightly so.

Don’t miss out on the Historical Museum with its very Americana collection of completely unsorted items, big and small, books and kitchen utensils, a coffee roasting machine, a wooden roulette wheel, a caboose and much, much more, of all ages and in many stages of decline and disrepair.

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Tucumcari – Palomino Motel

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Tucumcari - Historic Route 66 Motel

Posted by FierceOrc 19:55 Archived in USA Tagged rv texas new_mexico Comments (0)

June 28

Lubbock - Palo Duro Canyon State Park


View US New Mexico Texas 2018 Summer on FierceOrc's travel map.

Leaving energy behind, today’s route over byways and farm roads was, you guessed it, all about farming. Big farming. Crop farming. Huge sprayer installations. Giant elevators. Co-ops. John Deere, obviously. Cattle stations, too, here and there. Large ones.
And then: Palo Duro Canyon. Nothing in the landscape points to it. There are no signals, no warning signs. You don’t see it coming. Out of the blue, it’s just there. From one mile to the next, you are in Arizona. It’s no Grand Canyon, it’s not nearly as wide, long, and deep (we camped on the bottom; you drive down a fairly steep incline), but it’s impressive, nonetheless, the more so because of its sudden appearance. It has similar red rock, red earth, clearly demarcated horizontal layers. The same perfectly flat rim.

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Palo Duro Canyon – Overlook

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Palo Duro Canyon – Down below

Every time I go to the US, I have a set of two primaryy objectives: local highschool team baseball hats and Levi’s 550 and 560 jeans (Dutch stores sell almost exclusively 501s at over $100; where I am from, jeans are considered fashion items rather clothes). No luck so far on the baseball hats, but I did find my first pair of 550s, the only ones in the store in my size (I would clearly not blend in among a Texan crowd of men). And we had a big lunch in Canyon at Feldman's Wrong Way Diner, not only voted best place to eat 6 years in a row, but with two trainsets running along the ceiling.

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Canyon - Feldman's Wrong Way Diner - Voted best place to eat 6 years in a row

Posted by FierceOrc 18:12 Archived in USA Tagged rv texas new_mexico Comments (0)

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