Thursday, August 30, 2012

On the Road: Canyon, Texas, to Santa Rosa, New Mexico

After 3 nights at Palo Duro Canyon, it was time to move on. We got an early start, and slowly climbed out of the canyon just before 8:00 AM. On the rim, a dozen or more vehicles were lined up at the office waiting for the park to open. Most had bicyles; there would be a lot of riding the trails in the park on this day.

I don't like towing. I usually try to limit our trips to about 4 hours. So, to break up the long trip to Santa Fe, we decided to shorten the trip with an overnight stay in Santa Rosa.

At Canyon, we hopped on the Interstate for a short drive to the south of Amarillo, where we took the loop around the southwest side of the city, which appears to be the growth corridor for the city. From there, we hopped on Interstate 40 and headed west.

The first half of the drive was pretty similar to what we had been seeing recently. The land was flat with numerous crops and ranch land.

At the state line, we stopped at the New Mexico information center. What a wonderful source of information for the state! We found booklets and brochures for all the places we plan to visit while in New Mexico, as well as a state map. The ladies working the facility were extremely knowledge. They were able to provide very specific and detailed  information of all the places on our agenda.

After crossing the state line, we were now in Mountain Standard Time, an hour behind Texas.

As we left the information center, the land began to change, with mesas appearing and the land beginning to roll. This would continue on to Santa Rosa.

At Tucumcari, we left the interstate for a short drive along Historic Route 66, which parallels IH-40. As we drove through the town, I thought of the old Jimmie Rodgers' song I heard in my childhood, where the singer anticipates arriving in Tucumcari to see an old love. Once he arrives, though, he finds the girl about to marry a rival, so he leaves. The key lines of the song repeat approaching and leaving the town with something like "'X' more miles to Tucumcari". I believe the number starts at 12 miles as he approaches the town, then 10, then 8, and so on until he arrives. As he leaves, the number shows him getting farther away. I always liked that song.

Old hotels, gas stations, and eateries line the old highway through town, recalling the days when people followed this route across the nation. It was a lively roadway in those days, helping people follow their dreams to new lives.

Back on the interstate, we came across a terrible wreck that had occurred so recently that the police had not even arrived yet. It appeared that a car must have lost control and ran off the road, flipping until it came to rest on its side. Clothes, a bicycle, and other debris still littered both lanes of the west bound section of the interstate. A large number of good Samaritans had stopped and were providing assistance, so we inched past the accident and continued on our way.

After arriving in Santa Rosa, we stopped for gas so that we could get a quick start in the morning. We found our destination, Santa Rosa Campground, along old Historic Route 66 just after entering town. This is a good little park for an overnight stay. The front park of the park -- around the office area -- is paved, but the rest of the park is gravel. Full hookups are available, as are cable TV and free WiFi. There is a fee for all services except WiFi. The restrooms are a bit old, but very adequate and clean. There is a pool, but even on a summer day, the water is quite cool. Laundry facilities are also available, though we did not use them. WiFi is adequate.

We were among the first to check into the park for the day, but by sundown, the front half of the park was nearly full. Most of the rigs were extremely large Class A Motorhomes, but our neighbors were in a travel trailer about the same size as ours. We visited with them briefly and learned that they were from Tyler, Texas. It's a small world.

The park at night is quiet, though we did hear a train in the early morning hours. The track is not close enough to be a problem, so we had a good night's rest.

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