I left El Reno, OK this morning at 7:30 a.m. The roads all of the sudden became smooth and easy to drive on, and this lasted until somewhere near Amarillo. It was overcast again, but the sun appeared when I got close to New Mexico.
I-40 through the Texas Panhandle has some interesting rest stops – the one I’m referring to going west is called a “Safety Rest Area”. It is mounded with earth and is a haven during severe weather, including tornados. Rest area parking lots usually have one row for trucks and RV’s, but in the Safety area there are at least three rows. The east bound rest area is built above ground, but the entire building is constructed with severe weather in mind, and there are actually rooms where people can gather to stay safe from tornados. They are both modern structures, aesthetically pleasing, and serve a much needed purpose in this part of the country.
The eastern Texas panhandle is sort of rolling terrain, much like western Oklahoma. The middle is flat, and the western side is beautiful “cowboy-looking” country. You can just picture some of the old westerns – and I’m talking the grade B movies we watched on TV – not the fancy schmancy productions featuring Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. There are hills and mesas where you can picture the Indians waiting to ambush the cowboys and settlers. The good guys were recognizable with their white hats, while the bad buys wore black hats or war paint!
Then I arrived in New Mexico. While I’m not sure I would want to live here year around, it is one of the most beautiful states in my estimation. I hope I can catch a couple of photos of the sunset this evening and sunrise tomorrow morning, because that is what I always picture when I think of New Mexico – the gorgeous skies.
I stopped in Tucumcari for the night, and hope to cross over into Arizona by tomorrow afternoon. That is a lot of miles towing a 5th wheel, and I’ll be content to stop at Gallup if I’m tired. I wish I could make a birthday party in Sacramento on Saturday evening, but it is doubtful I can do it. I’ll give it a try though.
The interstates in the west are so much easier to drive – and I am not including California’s freeways in that statement. It just seems like the traffic isn’t as heavy or as treacherous here as it is, for example, on I-81 or, god forbid, I-95. I hope I never have to drive on I-95 again!
The Garmin has been acting up lately, and I wonder if it is due to the aborted attempt to update the maps. She kept insisting I get off I-40 through Amarillo and head for downtown! Luckily I know my way pretty well from here on, but I hope she is accurate through Albuquerque. I’ve always driven through it guided only by the signs, but then it was easier to change lanes when necessary before I became an RVer. The only trouble with driving through Albuquerque is that it is so spectacular it is difficult to watch the road rather than the sculpture in the median, the bridges, the colors of the overpasses and decorative tiles on the side rails, and the last time I noticed even the commercial buildings along either side of the interstate were southwestern looking – building materials, colors, and decorative touches.
The Garmin also tried to have me get off the interstate about 30 miles early yesterday, but I ignored it because I was looking for the KOA sign and didn’t see one. I don’t want to have to buy a new one but I guess I’d better start watching the ads.
It is too nice outside for a change, so I think I will take Lady, a cold beer, and a lawn chair and sit in the sun for a while. Tomorrow, hopefully Arizona!