|Ehrenberg, AZ to Las Cruces, NM
Today was the longest drive so far. My intent was to get as far as possible today, so just pointed the truck east and away we went. Was up and on the road at sunrise - more or less. Had to get gas first, so delayed departure a bit. Most of the campgrounds I'm staying at are near the freeway, so getting on and off is fairly easy and painless.
This stretch of road took me through much of the desert country of the SW. While I've been accustomed to forested mountains and much greenery in the NW, this area is still beautiful and intriguing in it's own way. The stretch containing the saguaro cactus was surprisingly not all that extensive, which I guess was rather surprising.
One of my "bucket list" items has always been to experience the desert camping in Quartzsite, AZ. Unfortunately, even though I passed through the town of Quartzsite on my way east, I did not have time to stop and savor the moment, or have the ability to stay overnight. But I did have to smile to myself, as I passed several places where I could see motorhomes and campers parked all over the landscape.
One of my other "hope to visit sometime" locations is Tombstone, AZ. I find it very interesting to witness first hand the changing landscape, geography and simply the visual reality of an area as I pass by, as opposed to seeing locations on a map. The two are quite different.
Even though the landscape appears to be very stark, unchanging, and monotonous, I found the desert to be quite the opposite. Around every corner is a new view, a new mountain or a new outcroping of colored rock formations and shapes. Obviously, there's not a lot of anything else to look at, but it's still interesting and helps takes the monotony out of the long drive. At one point, I stopped at a rest stop - otherwise known as a picnic area with no facilities - to make lunch and take a quick break. A picnic shelter was located a couple hundred feet away from the parking area, and while I did go over to it, I was still watching closely for critters. We Northwesterners are not accustomed to such things, you know.
So, this was a rather quick trip across Arizona. The approach to Las Cruces was very picturesque, as the highway coming in was a bit higher than the town, which offered a nice view over the city. I got there right at dusk, so some of the lights were beginning to shine. I tried taking a picture of the moon rising over the city, but I did not have a tripod available at that moment, so the picture isn't very clear.
Distance: 540 miles