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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Long Haul to Clovis, New Mexico

March 3, 2013 10:48 am  MST  Breakfast Room Comfort Inn Clovis, New Mexico

Good morning, all. I'm writing this on Sunday morning since the wi-fi just wouldn't connect with or without a wire in our room last night and I was changed and too tired to come work here in the breakfast room. This morning I took the computer into the business center and it connected momentarily.  We'd already booked our room for another night, both of us needing a down day, but I told the girl at the desk that if we couldn't get the internet ( as it is advertised--but I wasn't nasty or demanding to her--she isn't responsible for poor connectivity in NM--we've had problems in Socorro and Gallup in the past ) we probably would not stay. She said that the wi-fi is only good at the front desk and in the breakfast room--so here I is. And it is, so far, terrific. As I've mentioned, we are really tired so will probably veg out with a foray into Clovis and Walmart for a birthday card for Betsy and later  a romp across the parking lot to the nearby Mexican restaurant. It is sunny and supposed to reach 75 today--which will be the warmest temp we've had so far on the trip. If there is a bench or a park nearby we may just have to go outdoors.  At any rate, I don't anticipate the need for much of a log or pictures tonight. We may be out of touch for several days--I don't use my computer when visiting friends and we are going to Belen tomorrow to spend a day or so with Gloria and Bud. After that we will be travelling around NM and Az and the service, as mentioned above is iffy.  So, worry not, if you don't hear from us for a bit--it is just the Wild Unsettled West in which we are exploring!  LOL

Yesterday was a strange day all around. I felt out of sorts on and off and there was no apparent reason for it. It started out fine--veal albanese for breakfast--lol and, while I was preoccupied with who knows what, Bill seems to have taken a wrong turn to Africa. Well, how else explain a house with  fenced in  acreage on one side with a herd of zebra and a couple of buffalo--skinny looking specimens, too? Again, the draught is severe here and when we do see cattle there is so little on the range I wonder what it is they are grazing upon.

We travelled out of Early on Rt 84 since it was right outside the motel but soon reached Ballinger where we switched onto a secondary road though not a Farm Road. We had decided to head to Lubbock and visit some of the museums there. The Wind Power Museum has always intrigued me and there is also a Silent Wings Museum which is about the use of gliders in WW II.  We aren't familiar with that military application and have always thought it would be interesting to explore. Unfortunately, as soon as we departed Early I looked both museums up in the Lubbock brochure I picked up in the lobby. Well, it is winter don't you know--so they are only open Tues-Sat until 5. As it was Sat, we knew we wouldn't make the Wind Power Museum and the Silent Wings is open on Sunday but not until 1 and we didn't think we'd be staying there two nights.  It was a real bummer--since I, more than Bill, hate eating up miles and miles and doing no learning or exploring along the way. The scenery is beautiful but it seems such a waste to be in an area and not see or learn anything about its history or current activities.

But the day was beautiful and the terrain new to us so we said, okay, we've been to Lubbock before and we'll be there again so we'll make sure we hit it at a better time. We are sort of pokey compared to these long haul trucks and locals who drive the posted 75 miles an hour so within a few minutes of leaving the Ballinger city limits we were passed by a tank truck from the Indian River area of Florida. I laughed and said what in heaven's name is he hauling--orange juice?  and Bill said, no, grapefruit juice!  To California!!!!  Whatever it was and wherever he was going he surely left us in his dust!  But seeing him inspired us to share our last blood orange.

Samuel J was well known, not for gambling with great charm across the west, but rather for his habit of allowing his cattle to wander, unbranded, wherever they wished to roam.  When other cattlemen came across them they would, if they didn't claim them for themselves, say oh, they are Maverick's. Hence the term maverick for a person or bovine who goes through the world unchecked and free. My Dad was known to call me and Barb mavericks at times. As in " You two mavericks settle down and go to sleep "  etc.

In the Bronte area we had entered yet another type of Texas terrain--the plateaus, mesas and canyons of West Texas. And with these ridges we came upon the first wind farms of this year's journey. I love these farms--I find them incredibly hypnotic and beautiful. At different times the rotating blades remind me of ballet dancers, seagulls, gymnasts pinning a perfect landing,pinwheels, and when there are several of them in a perfect line behind one another and out of sync, they remind me of an Alvin Ailey modern dance--all geometric and graceful. I love the white of them against a perfectly blue cloudless sky. I cannot understand why the people back home make such a production about them on our ridges. Thank God earlier folks didn't get all bent out of shape when the first electric and phone wires were strung. We'd still be running down to the creek with the wash, living with candles and sending smoke signals. Oh, wait, Rockefeller did have a problem with the wires, so he buried them in Woodstock--lol.  I really love my picture of the high tension power lines running from the farm to Abilene, the wind farm and the tanker filled with some petroleum product. Says alot that shot.

Here at Bronte we took 277 toward Sweetwater--Bill said he wanted to go through Sweetwater, not Abilene--which I knew, duh!! So we took 70.  He wanted to see Sweetwater, he said. Why?  Who knows. When we got there he opted not to take Business 70 so haven't a clue what Sweetwater looks like!

Eventually, we left the high area and reached Roby and Rotan and on toward New Mexico through an area heavily planted with cotton. All the way through to Lubbock and then beyond, the main crop appears to be cotton. I don't usually think of this part of the country as cotton country--the old cotton fields back home, in my mind, are always in the southeast and south --east of the Mississippi. When we checked in the young lady at the desk said that it has been terrible for a number of years now--with the drought it has been hard to get a good crop.

About the only thing growing with any success are the desert and high chaparral crops of prickly pear cactus and mesquite.  Of course, this IS the high chaparrals of Texas so that is not new, nor unusual---cotton is not native to this area and so needs more water than the native guys.

At Post we decided to get back on 84 and not fool around with Farm roads--we still had almost 50 miles to go to Lubbock and we both were tired. So we opted to continue on and pick up 84 again and into Lubbock directly. Bill was hungry so we pulled into Sonic--I always get one blizzard on the trip so decided this would be it. I allow myself one a year--this time instead of Oreo cookie I opted for Butterfinger!  Also figured as long as we had bars it was as good a time as any to check out the motels in Lubbock. Good thing---something is going on there this week-end. All the motels were $119 and up and they were not accepting any discounts including senior. Oh, oh. 

Time for an emergency meeting of the pilot and navigator. Which direction? Roswell, Clovis?  Navigator doesn't like Roswell, plus we were there last year and Clovis is closer --pilot was in agreement so a reservation was made in Clovis and we tightened our seat belts for another 149 miles instead of 50.  Fortunately, we would gain an hour as soon as we crossed the Tx-NM border giving us longer light but it sure didn't make the day any shorter!

By this time, I dozed on and off and while awake through Lubbock didn't take any pictures--not much to see there....during times when awake was very sad to see SNOW even though the temperature was 66.  This area got clobbered last week--in some places like Clovis, almost 2 feet. These guys aren't used to that kind of snowfall. And at 66 degrees the snow was not melting very fast, so it was still deepish in places. It was interesting to see that the water did not flow from the patches as they melted but rather was absorbed directly into the ground beneath them. Obviously, this ground is not saturated even with the snow melt of 24 inches nor are the streams running with water.

Passed a few feed yards on the way to Falwell and the clouds started to form--strange faces with long flowing hair streaming behind them and a Roswell alien up to guard the border into New Mexico. I think I was getting fanciful in my fatigue.  Got held up by a very long freight but when we crossed the tracks it was an hour earlier and we had entered the Land of Enchantment at last---see, enchanted--I'm NOT fanciful!

Soon, we arrived at our home away from home. Got upgraded to a suite and by liking this property on FB got an extra 5% off our bill so the room, every bit as nice as the one in Lubbock would have been, cost only $77 plus tax. A coup!  Exhausted, and my stomach acting up a bit, I immediately donned my nightgown and pulled out my last Abita. Bill went next door to the Mexican restaurant and I ate sardines and saltines and was comfy. Watched some TV--Hullabaloo on PBS--and slept like a log until 8 this morning.

So, until we meet again, vegging out --sun is gone and wind picked up. Going to pick up a new book--not interested in Ty Cobb today and read Dream Lovers about Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee before, I've discovered. Wasn't worth the time the first go round don't think I'll bother with a reread.  Bye, bye KandB

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