Another long day of driving – almost five hours from Albuquerque to Silver City.
Some funny warning signs today – at least they were amusing to me:
“CAUTION DUST STORMS MAY EXIST” Really?
This put me in mind of maps from back when the world was still flat. Remember how they would annotate the edges? “HERE BE DRAGONS”
and another one:
“GUSTY WINDS MAY EXIST” NO KIDDING?
We arrived in Socorro, NM about 1 PM, and I decided to see if their Historic Plaza was any better or more interesting than some of the HISTORIC ROUTE 66 landmarks we’ve encountered. I’m happy to say that it was. A soothing green space in the old part of town, it had a bandstand, trees, benches, and blooming flowers. People were actually sitting on benches and the bandstand.
To round it out, there was a cute little food vendor parked in the shade. I got a hot dog and chips, and went back for a piece of cherry pie (which I saved for dessert tonight with yogurt). The vendor asked if my dog ate hot dogs, and when I answered in the affirmative, he asked if he could give him one. I said Max would be delighted to have a hot dog, and he gave me one – minus the bun – to take back to him in the car! Max was very happy to have his own hot dog!
As I drove, I wondered what can I possibly write about today? It wasn’t exactly the same landscape as everywhere else we’ve been in the past week-and-a-half, but it was darn close. More tinder dry, brown southwestern high plains, more blazing sun and blue sky, more hills, and more mountains off in the distance.
The difference was that today we were going through Emory Pass from east to west to get to Silver City. By all accounts, it would be a beautiful drive, and it was. Fire danger is still HIGH in this section of New Mexico, and I couldn’t help thinking about what I would do if I encountered a wild fire. Of course, nothing like that happened, but I DO wonder… Would I try to find a wide spot in the road that didn’t have lots of tree or brush around it? Get out of the car and use it as a shield between us and the fire? Soak a towel in water and drape it over us?? Would Max cooperate or give me a hard time about being confined?
These thoughts were a far cry from yesterday’s. And while I’m happy to report that I didn’t even see a wisp of smoke, I did spend an inordinate amount of time plotting our survival. All the while, we were driving through about 20 miles of mighty fine mountain pass – steep uphills with tight corkscrew turns at 15 MPH, and the same down the other side.
We went from the frazzled plains to piñon, then pine forest as we went up in elevation. I‘m not sure what the top elevation was, but we were at 5,180 when we passed through Hillsboro before entering the pass, which probably climbed at least another thousand feet or more.
When we were about five miles from Silver City, I noticed what looked like a huge strip mining operation. Turned out to be the Santa Rita Copper Mine – the oldest mine in North America, according to the sign at the viewing turnout. It was staggeringly huge:
We got here to our little Adobe abode about 3:30 this afternoon and settled right in. Ellen, our landlord, is wonderful – and was totally captivated by Max. And Max has poked his nose into every inch of the place, and seems pretty content here. Of course, he’s become so adaptable, that he seems content wherever we end up each night. I do think he appreciates having more space, and more variety to that space. I know I do!
I was able to cook dinner for myself tonight, after having a glass of Pinot Grigio – in a real wine glass! – with hummus and pita chips while cooking.
Tomorrow, we’re going to walk the 10 blocks to downtown and do a little exploring…