Hi, Winds

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Tucson, AZ to Las Cruces, NM

With 350 miles to travel today, we left our hotel just after 7 a.m.  Driving along, we again noted the major difference between landscaping in this area and what we typically see in the Southeast.  Rather than grass, tan gravel is typically used for ground cover. It certainly makes it easier to pick out golf courses in passing, if you're of a mind to do so.
After stopping to find a letterbox in the Rincon Valley east of Tucson, we got turned around when we returned to I-10 and ended up back in Tucson.  Leaving the city again, we returned to I-10 EAST again leaving the city we had departed an hour and a half earlier.  Maybe we started out a bit too early, before our brains were fully engaged.
When we paused near Vail to look for another letterbox on an abandoned stretch of what used to be US-80 before it was supplanted by I-10.  As the warning signs promised, this was an area of high winds.  The temperature had dropped a few degrees to 49 since we left Tucson, but it felt much colder.  
Scenic Arizona terrain
Falling temps set the tone for the day as we stopped for a few more letterboxes on the way into New Mexico.  As soon as we entered the state, signs warned of the possibility of extreme dust storms with zero visibility.  Stopping in travel lanes was forbidden.  Along the roadside, the terrain was very flat for a distance of several miles with mountains on both sides in the far distance.
In Las Cruces, we stopped for gas before searching in Apodaca Park for New Mexico's Whispering Giant, one of a series of sculptures carved from dead trees by Hungarian American artist Peter Wolf Toth.  Though the enormous statue was hard to miss, the letterbox planted to commemorate him was AWOL.
Dineh, Whispering Giant #54
Upon leaving the park, we decided to scrap our plans to drive another two hours to Alamagordo today and booked a room in Las Cruces, where we relaxed and sketched out an agenda for the remainder of the trip.