Santa Fe proved as busy in the AM as last evening and the RV slots were full. Rather than raise the stress level of trying to find a parking place, we hit the road east to play with finding and driving parts of Route 66. We'd bought a small book on Route 66 years ago and had pre marked a DeLorme route map. Well reality and maps/books vary widely! Route 66 often ends up as a private dirt road leading off into what looks like endless desert.
Or you find that it has become only I-40. We decided to abandon the hunt for the moment and take Route 40 to Tucumcari, NM to the MesaLand Community College's Dinosaur Museum. It proved to be a small but well presented exhibit and a good stop
from hunting for Route 66.
Leaving Tucumcari, we again drove parts of Route 66 which in this part of NM, was beside I-40. For the most part it was a pretty good road but disintegrated after a while near San Jon into a white shell like rutted gravel path. It was still marked Route 66 but got so bad the fun was gone. Most of the old service stations and buildings are abandoned and quickly going back to nature. We backtracked to the last
I-40 entry point, dieseled up for $4.59 which was the least we'd seen for a while (Love's Truck Stop) and continued east into Texas.
At Vega, Texas, on a whim, we headed south down 385 towards Hereford, TX. This route is wide open spaces, huge ranches and 25% of the beef in the US. Hereford calls itself the beef capital of the US and it probably is. Every where you look, are huge herds of cattle, feed lots, corn and what looked like wheat fields. The farms/ranches are spread out by multiple miles and at many points you can see the
horizon. Texans don't fool around with wimpy speed limits so this relative small road was 65mph. We were driving about 60-62 and were passed constantly but every pickup that went by, slowed, waved and gave us a thumbs up. Friendly folk in a beautiful land. The RV.NET fellow's warning about not following a cattle truck came true. I thought it was for the odor. It is, but also for the fluids that trail the transport trucks. YUK!
We were headed for Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Canyon, TX in hopes that there would be an opening for an overnight camp. We got the last spot!! and it was at the end of all the roads, way back as far as you can get into the canyon at Mesquite Camp Area. This canyon is a much softer, greener, gentler canyon than most we saw in Utah. Very quite with owls and coyotes as night noise. Nice small museum with a lot of western artifacts. We hope to see the resident live longhorn cattle on the way out.
There is another Truck Camper here, a Lance 1161 on a Dodge. They are from Illinois and were also touring the west. Had a nice time talking and gave them the list of fall rallies
Black rain clouds threatening. You cross six river crossings on the park road coming down to the campsite. Yesterday, there was a lot of rain and the TX DOT had to come and dig out the mud from the road to let campers out. The flood gauge is in feet. Wonder what tomorrow will look like? A bit of rain will be most welcome and maybe force a down day if we cannot get out of here? Ranger said at least the danger of
fire was down.
Only in the mid 80s for temperature today and we must be getting used to it and the dryness as we were able to easily hike a bit in the park this afternoon. Tomorrow we will head on into Oklahoma.