Monday, June 25, 2007

I spent the night in Guymon, OK, (which I would not recommend to an enemy) and headed out to Straight, OK, hoping to find a cemetery there. I had not run the Oklahoma counties through the GNIS data base searching for cemeteries, but thought it worth effort to check to see if there was chance finding one. No such luck.

However, New Mexico is an interesting place. It doesn’t matter from what direction you enter the state, it greets you with a visual feast. From the east are great grass lands, rolling hills dotted with distant trees, windmills, cows and an occasional antelope. After awhile, you notice small puffy clouds just on the horizon, and as you get closer you see the eastern wall of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Now the clouds are building into amazing anvil top thunderstorms. Unlike in the east where it just gets dark, you can actually see the entire thunderstorm cloud/s complete with tails of rain licking towards the surface. Distances fool the eye and what appears only a mile or two away is actually 20-30 miles away.

From the west, you climb the Continental Divide. The southwest entry will take you through Pie Town and Magdalina, and best of all, right through the middle of the Very Large Array (VLA) site. In the middle, you pass through the Red Rock State Park where giant red sand stone mesas jut into the valley along the highway. Further on, you pass by Mt. Taylor (over 11,000 feet – you can drive up to the 10,000 foot level) just to the north of Grants.

Enter from the north either through the tailing end of the San Luis Mountains of Colorado, or central entry through the San Luis Valley and along the Rio Grande River. The east is down through the eastern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo and the National Grasslands.

The southern entry is from the lower Rio Grande Valley up through pecan orchards, past the White Sands National Monument and the Tularosa Valley – location of the Trinity Site (first atomic bomb). At the base of the Sacramento Mountains (Sierra Blanco is 12,0020 feet) is the town of Carrizozo, home of the Outpost Bar and Grill where the best green chili cheeseburger in the world is made – sucker will drip all over you.

New Mexico has never disappointed me. Driving down from Springer, the thunderstorms were building and made for a dramatic sky. A few miles on, I drove through heavy rain. I was on my way to visit my brother in Santa Fe. We ate at Maria’s where I dined on a green chili stew with chicken – OH, so good. And, of course, I had their 100% Agave special margarita. Maria’s understands that some people actually like the taste of tequila in their drinks. OH, OH, so good.

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