The home stretch into Tucson

Slept well in my stinky hotel room last night, and awoke to the spicy-sweet smell of mesquite smoke. It makes me sneeze, but I enjoy it.

The stretch of freeway from Albuquerque to Las Cruces, New Mexico, is utterly beautiful. The freeway runs down a wide, wide valley with mountains on either side.

I decided to take the back roads again today, and got off the freeway at Caballo, NM. Nothing at the exit but for Jim and Bev’s RV Park and gas station. I filled up my tank, and went in. Jim was presiding at the till.

Jim was clearly a reader, as was Bill, a local who was hanging out. In fact, Bill has written seven novels. Bill and Jim talking books when I came in from the gas pump, so I joined in.

Bill hasn’t published any of his novels. One publisher said his first novel was too long at 375,000 words. Bill hasn’t gotten around to cutting it down or submitting any of his others. They are science fiction. In his first novel, he wrote about GPS and death rays and the whole works--long before they were even invented!

I took off west on Highway 152. It quickly turned into hairpins, and ended up more topsy-turvy than yesterday’s mountain trip. Today featured hairpin turns with 10 mph speed limits, not 20 mph like yesterday. Also, some unnerving snowpack. Icy roads take on a new meaning when there is a cliff three feet off your right wheels.

Great views of the valley I had left behind. Once over the pass, the road descended through more snow than before--it snows more on the west side of the mountains due to the rainshadow effect--but the road quickly broke out into open spaces near Silver City, a big mining town.

Drove past a huge open pit mine. Didn’t stop. Ugly. Whizzed through Silver City, and met the freeway again in Lordsburg, NM. Sort of a repeat of yesterday, really. Get off the freeway, take a winding road up and down a mountain, then drive about fifty miles of nice four lane before meeting up with the interstate again.

From Lordsburg, it was a quick 150 miles into Tucson. I drove right to the Extended Stay hotel, where I was given the same room I had two years ago.

But a disturbing change at the hotel: They have removed the incandescent lights in the lamps and replaced them with flourscent! I despise flourescent lights. They make my eyes burn. They look cold and sterile. If they can’t switch them, I will switch hotels. I would switch the bulbs myself, but they are some pretty complicated looking bulbs.

I am not complaining. It is in the 50s tonight!