Wednesday, December 30, 2015

On the Road: Alamogordo, NM, to Marana, AZ

December 23, 2015 . .

Today’s journey would prove to be not only the longest of our 3 days, but also the most difficult.

The day started easily enough. Because we had not unhitched the night before, it took just a few minutes to disconnect the water and electricity before hitting the road at 7:15. We took the bypass around Alamogordo and picked up US 70 on the southwest side of the city for the 70 mile drive to Las Cruces. The sun came out and the road was flat and straight with little breeze. It was good driving.

But as we climbed to the pass through the Organ Mountains just east of Las Cruces, the sun gave away, the wind picked up, and the rain came. I was glad to get through the pass. We hopped on I-25 for a few miles south to connect to I-10, then began our long trek west following this highway. We crossed the nearly dry Rio Grande, then climbed 2 long hills up from the river valley. Once out of the climb, we had a flat road ahead of us. I was able to set the cruise across this flat land, and our mpg held at just over 10. Life was good. There was a crosswind, but it really didn’t bother me much.

Donna snapped this photo of a rainbow ending next to the highway as we approached the pass through the Organ Mountains.

This photo shows the pass on the left a little better.

We stopped for gas and coffee in Deming, then continued westward through Lordsburg with another gas stop at Wilcox, Arizona. Donna had made 2 sandwiches before leaving Alamogordo, so she pulled these from the fridge and we had a bit of lunch.

I was feeling pretty good about our day. I was holding the truck to a steady 60 mph and enjoying the drive. We had just over an hour to go to reach our destination. Then, just west of Benson, our good day faded away. Without any warning, I noticed traffic was stopped ahead. There had been no signs along the road. So, we fell in line and began inching our way westward. We would stay in this traffic gridlock for 2 hours while we went only 8 miles. At first, we had no idea what the problem was, but gradually we began seeing signs that announced construction ahead. So, after nearly 2 hours, we finally reached the construction area.

So, once through the gridlock, we passed through Tucson and pulled into Valley of the Sun RV Park in the small community of Marana about 20 miles north of Tucson. I’ll review that RV park in another entry.

We were able to maintain 9.8 mpg for the trip today despite the long periods of idling in the construction zone.

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