Winter In Phoenix travel blog

The friendly feral cats at Pie Town were trying to distract Mike...

The road is finally straight and flat

One of the telescopes from the Very Large Array, just beside the...

Cattle guards at the entry and the sign says watch for snowplows

Mike is wondering if this would get us better reception. Actually the...

Beautiful colourful hills

A rest stop on Interstate 40. We're guessing the casitas are for...

A hill like an Arizona one, and the railroad follows the highway...

Mike is passing the train, despite it having four engines. Lots of...

Safely parked in Santa Rosa campground, Mike cleans off the multitude of...


Here we were in Pie Town and the weather had been good on our drive in yesterday... What Mike didn't do was check what the weather was going to be overnight. When we woke up it was a very chilly 36F (2c). Part of the problem was we were pretty high up, and it was so high that Michelle had a headache all night, probably due to the altitude. We were so high that, as it turned out, we were only 1 min down the highway from the Continental Divide. We drove past the sign for it right after leaving the park.

In the morning after packing up, it was downhill into the cool sun. The highway we were on was a simple 2 lane blacktop with just a center-line and not much of a shoulder with nothing much more than the New Mexico desert on either side. By the end of the day we figured we had passed maybe 200 other cars, it was just us and the great outdoors.

Not far down the road we dropped a bit in elevation and we came across the Plans of San Agustin which had at one time been covered by a large 55 mile deep intermontane lake (an old lake bed between mountain ranges)... as far as you could see it was perfectly flat. Up ahead, coming into view were large 82' satellite dishes, all over the place. Turns out we had come across the 'Very Large Array'. Mike's brother had emailed us about it the night before so we were prepared for what we came up to. It was the worlds largest radio telescope which was a massive Y shaped array of 27 dishes that covered 22 miles. We pulled into the visitors center for a short one hour self guided tour. Some of the interesting facts of this place is that it was the location where the film 'Contact' with Jodie Foster was made back in 1997 plagued by rain, hail, mud & cold. The telescope is so powerful you could read a newspaper in New York City from Los Angles. As well, for our Ottawa friends, the super computer to run the radio telescope was designed & built by NRC, and it's one of fastest computers ever built.

Farther down the road we came across the Laguna Del Perro, salt pond, 150' lake at one time, here the natives have mined salt for years. When you drive for hours and not much to look at you notice things... things such as seeing many signs to watch out for elk, deer and cattle on the road, we only saw 2 lizards at the array, a donkey, a few horses and lots of cattle on their side of the fences. "...oh look honey another car is coming down the highway..."

We lucked out with the wind being from our backs most of the way until the end of the day when we pulled into a campground in Santa Rosa, again back on Route 66. It was a perfect spot to end the day, we set up and then walked about 100' to the resort's restaurant for a nice BBQ dinner. A great way to finish the day, no cooking or cleaning :-)



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