Saturday, November 21, 2009

Going West

Our routing to Alamogordo. More pictures of the trip are posted on Facebook Photo source: Google Maps

Suna and I finished packing the rented RV and headed out for Alamorgordo, New Mexico this morning. The GPS I picked up yesterday provided an interesting route that would take right at 11 hours, including breaks for fuel and a meal. It wasn’t the route I would have mapped, but it was the quickest, most direct one. We enjoyed the changes in scenery.

We left Austin headed north on US-183 to Texas 29. That part I would have guessed. We picked up Texas 71 and headed for San Angelo. We passed a new wind farm on the way, and Suna took some pictures of the gigantic wind mills.

The first surprise in the routing came when the GPS directed us north through Big Spring. I had expected to head west on I-20. Instead, we continued north to US-180.

The RV strained as we continued to gain altitude moving west. The scenery grew more desert-like and flatter to all appearances. Only the inability to use overdrive at more than 67 MPH told us we were climbing.

Of course, the most interesting part of the trip came after dark. That’s when we passed through the Lincoln National Forrest and over the first ridge of the Rockies. We were coming out of Cloudcroft on the final approach to Alamogordo when Suna said, “Stop. Stop. Deer in the road.” I didn’t see anything, but I took her word for it and hit the breaks. An elk was standing in the road expressing his disdain for the vehicles stopping in his behalf. The first I saw of him was the dark spot on his chest when we started moving.

We saw several more elk crossing the road before we got to the 6% grade that took us into Alamogordo. We made it into the park without further incident and set up for the night.

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