Las Cruces to Phoenix

May 11-13

Monday May 11:

Monday was another travel day. We left at 7 a.m., after planning our route to Phoenix. Imagine every time you wanted to go somewhere you had to tie everything down in your house — as if there would be an earthquake while you were gone. That's a little like what it's like to leave a campsite and hit the road. All drawers and doors must be firmly shut (they each have a little lip on them so they can't slide out; that also means anytime you open one you have to lift it up first and when you close to leave they have to be shoved past the lip). If you don't do that you'll get a sudden crashing sound (usually no damage) as a drawer comes sliding out. Plus sliders must be firmly in, and the jacks up. And most of all the Mouse must be firmly attached and checked out to be sure the blinkers and brake lights work.

Near the state line all traffic was diverted to the side at an immigration checkpoint. Of course they waved us right through, but in retrospect wouldn't it be easy to load up a motor home with illegals and have a couple of older people just drive them right on through? I was sorry they didn't stop us and come in to inspect. Might have been fun.

Every so often there would be warning signs about dust devils. (Arizona is famous for them.) Signs even warned about zero visiblity and not stopping on the road. Wonder what one does in that case, since the shoulders weren't all that large.

One of the startling sights throughout New Mexico and Arizona (so far), have been the overpasses. They are truly stunning, often painted in pinks and blues and the surrounding grounds covered with colored pea gravel and beautiful cacti and colorful bushes. Even the cement that spreads down from the overpass is painted, sometimes with Indian designs.

We passed over the "continental divide" at 4500 feet in Arizona. Having the iPhone along is a blessing, because I'm always asking Ken "what does that mean?" and one of us is able to look it up immediately. It's like traveling with an encyclopedia, but much smaller. Want to know? If not skip this. The continental divide runs from Canada through the US, and Mexico and South America. It is the point where water flows West to the Pacific side and East to the Atlantic side. So I guess if you pour a glass of water directly on it, it would split into two, half going one way and half another. We did not stop to test out this theory.

At one of the rest stops the scenery was beautiful. Here are some rocks that looked like someone planned them.

The trip through Phoenix was rough on Ken. It was like driving through downtown Atlanta. I got to enjoy looking at the overpasses. All the way through New Mexico and Arizona the overpasses are colorful and carefully tended. Pea gravel was pink and looked very neat.

Lots of traffic, lanes appearing and disappearing, and finally an accident. The car was on fire (we could see the black cloud way ahead). So of course we couldn't get off where we wanted to. Agnes (what we call our GPS) wanted us to do a couple of u-turns (impossible), but we finally got to the campground.

I got out to sign up at the office and hit a wall of heat as I opened the door. You know what it feels like to open your oven door while your face is in the way? Like that. Turns out this whole week (which we "had" planned to stay) will be over 102 degrees. It's funny when you have a conversation with someone who lives in these dry, hot climates. They explain that anything over 20% humidity is unbearable. So, Florida climate is as difficult for them as this heat is for us.

We arrived at the campsite (Desert's Edge, it's called) in Northern Phoenix at about 3:30. The time is confusing because even though Arizona is still in mountain time, we are presently the same as the time in California (because Arizona doesn't observe daylights savings time). We've just about given up trying to figure it out; we're lucky we know the date and day of the week. Since we're always up early, it doesn't seem to matter anyway. In any case, as you read this in EST, we are three hours earlier than you (I think).

Wednesday, May 13:

Another easy day spent looking for the next place to light. Haven't decided that as yet. We picked up an hour, but our bodies didn't know it, so we were at a Denny's for breakfast about 5 a.m.

I went to high school with a fellow named David Duffet. His family had moved from England to Milwaukee after the second world war. Their home in Manchester had been bombed out and they moved to Oxford. We became good friends who lost touch over the years, but picked up an email friendship a few years ago. He and his wife Terry live in Phoenix, so we arranged to meet for lunch. What a trip through the past after more than 50 years apart. I'm sure Terry and Ken must have been a little bored as we relived some of our most memorable high school moments. I'm also sure we will get together with them again while we are out West.

For those of you who have read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" (and if you haven't, rush right out and get it), David was one of the Guernsey kids who was shipped out of Guernsey with his mother just before the Germans arrived.

Chapter 11: Indio and Palm Springs