Winter in the Desert - 2013 travel blog

welcome to Arizona

blue sky

great clouds

mountain majesty

From our home all the way to Albuquerque we saw signs inviting tourists to see things related to historic Rt. 66. This 2,500 mile two lane road connected Chicago to Los Angeles and intrepid tourists spent weeks making this adventurous journey back in the day. But when the expressway system was instituted under the Eisenhower administration, Rt. 66 became obsolete and many sections of this road no longer exist. But you wouldn't guess that while you're driving the nearby interstate. At home near the origin point numerous towns have Rt. 66 museums selling all manner of gee gaws labeled thusly. We were all atwitter when Paul McCartney stopped at ours last summer. We have come to understand that it is Europeans like Sir Paul who are still keeping the memory of this route alive and keeping all those gift shops in nowhere towns going strong. In most spots there's nothing left of the highway - at best a few crumbling bits of pavement. For most Americans, Rt. 66 is a yawner.

We left Rt. 66 and turned south to avoid potential winter weather problems. Although we are far south, northern New Mexico and Arizona are at high elevations and folks come there to ski. That's not what we have in mind at all. When we awoke this morning and turned on the local TV we saw a blizzard of flurries in Albuquerque, about ten miles north of where we were. When we looked out the window there was no snow to be seen in the darkness. Whew! Glad we came through the high passes yesterday.

Why was it still dark when we already were up? It has been interesting to watch the shifting sun rise and sunset times on our GPS as we have traveled south and east. At the far eastern edge of the Mountain Time Zone the sun doesn't rise until 7:30, but it sets near 5pm, much more important for us as we drive those last few miles to the next campground. We really hate parking in the dark. You never know what you're going to hit.

This long drive has taxed our sleep number mattress. RV mattresses are notoriously poor in quality, which didn't bother me much in my younger days when I could fall asleep leaning on a post. These days my spine needs to sleep on a marble slab while Ken has more normal mattress needs. With sleep number we both dial in what feels good to us and snooze away. This mattress is also far lighter in weight than a traditional one; a good thing when folks tend to overload their RV's. But as we have moved from 400 ft above sea level at home to 7,000 feet east of Albuquerque and now down to 2,000 feet in Tucson, the mattress is in constant need of adjustment. I try to be proactive and let the air out as we head to the mountains, but sometimes I forget. Don't want that mattress to explode. When we left home the RV was ice cold and that first night the air beneath me in the mattress felt like a chunk of ice. Now that we have arrived in Tucson, we're hoping that the frosty days are over.

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