Welcome to the

Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

About Me

My photo
Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cloudcroft, New Mexico

What a difference today has been from yesterday. Got up later than usual and since we'd been so tired last night I did a little computer work before leaving Roswell. It was wonderful to sit at the desk with the window wide open and the breeze coming in from the sunlit street where a lovely tree bloomed with multitudinous white flowers. Roswell has never held any great interest for us but it is one of the major entry points from Texas and so we have often found ourselves spending our first or last New Mexican night in its comfortable motel. As we passed through town for the umpteenth time, I noticed the streetlamps for the first time--they are all Martians!!!! There is a road that cuts across the Sacramento Mountains from Artesia to Alamogordo and I have, for all of these years, refused to navigate us to it. It goes through such towns as Cloudcroft and High Rolls and on the map it has many small tight curves. Experience has taught me that such lines in mountains indicate great heights with tight curves the sides of which are lined with precipitous drop-offs, usually on the passenger side. Having a almost heart stopping fear of height I have successfully taken us across on much more Kathy friendly roads. Last year when I was so sick and was hanging out in a sick room for days, Bill took a ride up to Cloudcroft from Alamogordo and he came back and convinced me to ride up there with him and sit on a bench overlooking the White Sands from a distance greater than 25 miles. It was beautiful and though the road does have some drop offs they aren't that bad and last for a very short time. We looked down the road toward Artesia but I said that is many more than 17 miles, which is the distance from this side to Cloudcroft and I don't think I'd care to go that way. This year I said to Bill that it was simply crazy that I wouldn't try it--after all I've survived the Rockies, the Cascades, Silver City and the Upper and Lower Galenas as well as that awful road from Kingman to Oatman--how bad could this one be? Besides, I'd avoided crossing the Sacramentos from Lincoln to Carrizozo for years and come to find out, it's not even scary. So, we headed south out of Roswell to Artesia, elevation 3,380 feet. That is an important fact since over 90 miles we climbed to an elevation of 8,650 feet. Artesia is an interesting town--in 1962 Abo elementary school was completed--built totally underground as a bomb shelter in the event of nuclear war. Its roof was a cement pad which served as the kids' playground. There was food and water stored in enough quantity to provide for 2000 people. No longer in use, the school is still there. We didn't see it, but we did see this gray and white house which in and of itself is quite nice but stands out like a sore thumb in its yellow grass and dust flatland surroundings. Some buildings just don't fit their settings and this is one. As we headed out of town on route 82 we came across the yellow sign showing the elevations from Cloudcroft to Alamogordo--the same sign is located in Cloudcroft--I saw it last year--and it also appears at the start of route 13 which also goes up from 285. We would have taken that shortcut and avoided Artesia but we needed gas--at $2.29/gallon!!! I wondered why there were no signs describing the road from Artesia to Cloudcroft. Decided that either it wasn't as bad as the other end--which I'd already been on--or it was worse and they didn't want to scare us to death. Well, my first supposition was correct. What an incredibly beautiful drive--changing terrain, with high elevation valleys in which a surface stream flowed in a silvery ribbon hugging the road. Apple orchards and grazing cattle and a gradual rise in elevation. I am so sorry we bypassed it all these years. Twisting and turning gradually among sand hills until many miles later we reached the heights--towering evergreens with what is left of the winter's snow at their feet. A tiny ski slope and then Cloudcroft--a town of false facades and false Western border town ambiance. Very touristy. And then the tight curved rapid descent over 17 miles with the White Sands and Alamogordo spread on the valley floor below. Got into the motel by 230. Again, they did not save the room I reserved and so we have a beautiful suite for $55 +tax. Staying two nights at least. I opted to stay in and reorganize the car, my various papers and catch up on pix and blog. Bill headed over to Buffalo Wild Wings across the road. Met a couple of young physed teachers and visited for about an hour and a half. Brought me back five Asian Zing and five Bourbon Honey BBQ bone-in wings and a Miller High Life. We only went 128 miles today and so a much more relaxed day. Tomorrow--White Sands, Heart of Desert Pistachioes and Lowe's Grocery. A good day. Now for some TV and reading before bed. News from home says winter has returned at least for the day. Hope everyone is managing to keep well with the fluctuations of Spring breaking out in Vermont. Happy Birthday to Sally, my sister in law--75 yesterday. I'll be catching up in a few months. Looks like the gang had a good time celebrating. Hugs to Jane, you know why. And good night to you all. KandB

No comments:

Post a Comment