After the Joe Martin Stage Race (Fayetteville, AK), we embarked on a 17 hour road trip to Silver City, NM in preparation for the Tour of the Gila stage race. Silver City is at 5,800+ feet so the sooner we arrived, the more time we would have to adjust to the elevation. I am normally not one for road trips but this one was rather painless and, might I admit, beautiful (I also had the luxury of not driving and a full bench seat in the van to stretch out on)!
We drove from the rolling hills and green fields of Arkansas into Oklahoma and then quickly transitioned into the dry, arid climate of Texas before reaching the northeast corner of New Mexico. I would take breaks from reading "A Walk in the Woods" (a true account of hiking the Appalachian Trail) to stare out the window at the changing landscapes. After hours of admiring the red rocks and Mesas in the distance, I was incredibly excited to spot a cow licking a light post. It's the little things...
I'm not sure if it was the book I was reading or the acres of desolate fields, but every direction I looked I found a canyon that I was suddenly impelled to climb or a field I wanted to run across and lay in at night under the vastness of the universe. There were small traces of human habitation - a discarded truck tire, a sun-bleached billboard peeling off its wooden structure, or the rusted shell of an abandoned pick-up truck. But in the distance you can see a human-less expanse of land past the highway debris. If you need some alone time, this is the place. Just pull over and start walking.
I have never been so appreciative of the expanse of the country and the diversity of landscapes as on this drive. I could just imagine hiking through the desert and stepping on land that no other human has ever touched. There is so much exploring I need to do and so many crevices in the hills I need to see. Though I am not ready to do that drive again tomorrow, I really did enjoy those 17 hours through areas of the US I had never seen!
A few side-notes:
1. There were real Cowboys in the rest stops!
2. There is a town in NM that we passed called "Truth or Consequences" - who would ever come up with this as a town name you ask? Well, according to Wikipedia:
Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed its name to "Truth or Consequences", the title of a popular NBC Radio program. In March 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program on its 10th anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show; Hot Springs won the honor, officially changing its name on March 31, 1950 (the program originated there the following evening, April 1st). Edwards visited the town during the first weekend of May for the next 50 years. This event was called "Fiesta" and included a beauty contest, a parade, and a stage show. The city still celebrates Fiesta each year during the first weekend of May. The parade generally features area celebrities such as the Hatch Chile Queen. Fiesta also features a dance in Ralph Edwards Park.
Professional cyclist turned professional triathlete living in Boulder, CO.