I ended up spending last night in Roswell, New Mexico. My husband and I stopped here for lunch when we first drove to Tucson in February 2021 to see the house before we signed on the dotted line.
A friendly cat welcomed me to the hotel with an air of feline disinterest. He gave me a few warm blinks in my direction but I didnâ€™t want to disturb him from his place in the shade as it was well over 100ÂºF at the time.
I walked around the downtown area in an attempt to get my daily dose of steps in. I tried to make it later in the day so I wouldnâ€™t die in the desert heat but I was still quite sweaty after all was said and done.
Iâ€™ve never seen power lines suspended over an alley or city street in the manner, but it was a common theme in Roswell.
I did notice a new sidewalk area in front of a local church but it didnâ€™t seem particularly friendly for those with additional accessibility needs.
Dinner at a place called Peppers was good. I sat alone in a booth in the lounge area and the server didnâ€™t make it awkward. That can sometimes happen when one dines alone but this was a good experience.
My intention was to drive across New Mexico and a portion of Arizona on old US Route 66, at least where the road was still viable and hadnâ€™t been completely replaced by Interstate 40.
After taking a detour to grab a bit to eat in Adrian, Texas (and one last pass up on the plains before descending into the desert on my way home), I joined the Mother Road at the Texas-New Mexico line at the ghost town of Glenrio. But not before seeing this sign in Adrian.
The way the signs were counting down the mileage to Adrian I had visions of a fairly sizable town. It turns out itâ€™s not that big, and I ended up eating lunch at a Quik-Stop type place where they charge for beverage refills from the fountain. I had some chicken nuggets. The ranch on the side was free.
I did find portions of the US Route 66 in Glenrio, a ghost town on the state line, and it was pretty much as one would expect.
I had to hop on Interstate 40 for a bit but then found old 66 again about 20 miles east of Tucumcari. There were hints of it once being a four-lane highway, but itâ€™s two lane now and the scenery was fairly pleasant. I was delighted to see this billboard along I-40 with the classic Holiday Inn logo before the hotel chain went as bland as possible with their marketing.
Earl and I had spent the night in Tucumcari, New Mexico almost two decades ago and I found the restaurant where we enjoyed a meal. It was still open. I did not remember the rest of the buildings along old 66 being so dilapidated. When weâ€™d travel old US 66 in Illinois the local towns made some effort to restore many of the buildings to a pleasant looking faÃ§ade reminiscent of the glory days of the Mother Road, but Tucumcari is not as lucky apparently and there were a lot of abandoned buildings and skeletons of business signs. I did get a shot of a sign that looked mildly interesting. Notice the buildings in the background; they are quite sad.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry this week, many of the small towns of the Heartland seem forgotten, probably by those that see all this area as â€œflyover countryâ€. This part of the United States deserves more attention from the rest of the country.
After becoming bored with old Route 66 I decided to turn south at Santa Rosa and instead go to Roswell, taking the â€œsouthern routeâ€ for the final leg of my journey. Thereâ€™s a lot of open desert.
No storms to chase today (everyone needed a rest) but I made my way from Ogallala, Nebraska to Liberal, Kansas via US Route 83.
I discovered a crack in the windshield that spread its way a good distance across the windshield as I drove today. I contacted the rental car company and they said to take it to the nearest location to swap out the car, but the nearest location was closed. So Iâ€™m driving with a cracked windshield. If it gets worse by morning Iâ€™ll take it to another nearest location.
Rural America is beautiful and Iâ€™m still a big fan. I stopped and wandered around whenever I saw a sign indicating â€œBusiness District â€”>â€. Itâ€™s amazing what one can find in these small towns. They are far from forgotten.
As I stopped at a locally owned truck stop, I found this little bit of inspiration on the door handle of the menâ€™s room.
I made my way up from southern Kansas to the Nebraska panhandle, as thatâ€™s where the Storm Prediction Center said they most activity would be today. They did not disappoint.
I ended up driving about 500 miles chasing different storms. There were storm chasing excursions abound and trucks with various weather related instruments mounted to the top, and me in a rental Subaru just following my instinct.
Outside of Sedgwick, Colorado the wind picked up and Mother Nature was trying very hard to give us a tornado. According to the National Weather Service, she did give us a dusty tornado, albeit fairly briefly, but long enough to trigger a tornado warning for the area.
I learned a lot today and I had the time of my life. A part of me wishes I had paid more attention to Mr. Besaw and his freshman Earth Science class in Room 212.
Tomorrow is predicted to be not as severe with the thunderstorms. Iâ€™m still deciding what part of the plains I want to drive to in search of some storm action.
The storm chasing trip across the Plains continues. Today I drove the High Plains south of Burlington, Colorado, making my way to Granada, Colorado before turning east and heading into Kansas. I made my way to Dodge City for the evening, as it was smack dab in the middle of the â€œslight chanceâ€ of severe thunderstorm activity area. The ride was quite enjoyable and I found my â€œzenâ€ that I havenâ€™t found in a while during a road trip.
Iâ€™m spending the night a little farther west than I intended to stay tonight, but the room was available and affordable and clean so Iâ€™m good.
I spent most of the day chasing clouds along the Colorado and Kansas and Nebraska state lines. Thereâ€™s a lot of open road in these parts, but my timing was a little bit off on seeing any thunderstorm action. I saw some lightning strikes but that was about it. We may get a light show tonight; Iâ€™ll keep an eye on things and see if thereâ€™s some chasing to be done during the hours after dark.
Tomorrowâ€™s forecast has another round of severe weather predicted for the southern half of Kansas, so Iâ€™ll be headed in that direction. Iâ€™m having a blast discovering small towns all over this part of the country. Iâ€™m looking forward to continuing the adventure.
And so begins my solo adventure to the Plains states. My husband dropped me off at Tucson International Airport at lunch time; our flight departed on time and Iâ€™m comfortably seated in seat 2A. Iâ€™m not as close to a yoke as I want to be but Iâ€™m not rated to flying an ERJ-175. Maybe someday. Thatâ€™d be pretty awesome.
The Storm Prediction Center maps look quite promising for the next three days. Iâ€™ll be heading due east from Denver and roaming Americana from there. Come Thursday Iâ€™ll start heading back to the desert southwest with my intent to return the rental car to TUS on Sunday afternoon.
Thereâ€™s a lot going on at work this week but I have the utmost confidence in my team that all is handled. I have my work laptop in tow in case I have to jump on the network.
Right now Iâ€™m going to sit back, relax. and enjoy this flight on United Express.
Just a guy with a husband. We've been together 26 years and he still makes me see fireworks on a daily basis. Tech Guy. Data Geek. Open Source. Hackerish. Aviation Geek. Private Pilot. Weird? Eccentric! INFJ. IDIC. GenX. LLAP.