Sunday, June 24, 2001
Garland TX - Albuquerque NM


Today's route map. Click to enlarge.

Our starting point was Garland, Texas. We hit the road around 9:30 am, stopping briefly at noon in Wichita Falls for gas and again at 1:40 pm in Childress at Hardee's. Around 2:20 pm we left the main road momentarily to park near a bean field under a cottonwood tree and enjoy the scenery. A small hill was nearby and made for a nice photo. We stopped in Clarendon briefly for a treat at Dairy Queen (sluggish service) and I took over driving just past Claude.

The drive through the remainder of Texas was mostly without incident. At 4:05 pm (now Mountain Time) we entered New Mexico. The trucking traffic gradually became thick, aggressive, and dangerous. After stopping at 5:30 pm in Santa Rosa for gas, we began the 60-mile stretch to Moriarty. Frequent showers and out-of-control truckers made the journey almost life-threatening. One tractor-trailer even barrelled around traffic on the shoulder through a construction zone. Anarchy is the de facto rule of the road on New Mexico's I-40.

At 7:15 pm we arrived on the outskirts of Albuquerque and checked into a Best Western in the eastern foothills. Then we headed over at 8 to see Amy, a former classmate of Shannon's who now worked at the National Weather Service. Amy had just settled in at her hew apartment and was waiting on her fiance Aaron to arrive later in the month. Amy and us had a great dinner at Abiertos (?) near San Mateo & Academy. As we ate, lightning flashed out the window over the Albuquerque valley.

At 10:45 pm we then headed to see the National Weather Service office at the airport, where Amy had just started work. The office had just been struck by lightning and the anemometer readout dial was shattered with glass all over the floor. Several of the computers were down, too. We made our visit short so the staff could focus on getting things back up to speed. We said goodbye to Amy and were back at our motel room at 11:40 pm.

The plan for tomorrow is to head northwest into Utah!

Miles travelled: 686

Likes:

  • Beautiful evening rains and cool air in Albuquerque compared to the Texas tinderbox
  • Stunning grasslands through much of eastern New Mexico
  • Albuquerque looks like a rather progressive city, at least on the outside

    Dislikes:

  • Driving 11 hours on 6 hours of sleep
  • Truckers waging road war on Interstate 40 through much of New Mexico

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    Shannon (right) and her friend Amy over dinner in Albuquerque NM.


    Hectic evening at National Weather Service in Albuquerque with many computers and instruments down, and glass all over floor.


    Wind speed gauge at National Weather Service had glass blown out and scorch marks on face.


  • One of the many Greyhound-sized RV's heading up Highway 287 towards Amarillo. This one was marked "London Aire" -- what marketing wizard came up with that one? London has had a long reputation as having some of the most polluted air in the world!


    New cotton plants rising from red clay soil south of Memphis, TX.


    Super informal attitudes of hotels in Clarendon TX.


    Monsoon storms near Moriarty NM.