The worst part about long driving days is that there is so little to recall at the end of the day. There’s just a sense of ennui from looking at too much concrete, combined with agitation from unspent energy. This is the price we are paying for delaying our trip and having to rush through New Mexico.
Finding interesting rest stops and overnight stops provides some relief. The best stop we made all day was a four-mile detour to Pecos National Historic Site in northern New Mexico. The site interprets and preserves ruins of a Native American pueblo, along with the ruins of Spanish Conquistadors who occupied the territory while they were searching for fabled gold. The site has a long and interesting history, and the Visitors Center does a very good job of showing it, with a nice display of artifacts (mostly pottery) and dioramas. I don’t think it had a Junior Ranger Program but in any case we arrived too late in the day for Emma to complete one.
Pecos was a nice break, but it did chafe to pass so many other possible stops. New Mexico is loaded with Ancient Puebloan history, early American settler history, Route 66 history, and attractive natural areas that were begging us to just pull over for a few hours. But we got a late state this morning and ended up a solid 100 miles short of our expectations for the day. If we procrastinate any further we will disappoint a lot of people, so we really have to keep on truckin’, at least for another day.
Our stop tonight is at Storrie Lake, a little state park just a few miles from I-25 near Las Vegas, NM. It’s like a miniature version of Elephant Butte Lake, not as majestic, not as large, but pleasant in a small-town kind of way. The sites are the same: primitive, developed, electric, and at the same prices. Since we had full sun most of the day, our batteries completely recharged during the drive and so we chose a non-electric site by the shallow little lake.
I had forgotten how disciplined about work I have to be when traveling. At the end of a day of driving, I have to immediately jump to the computer and catch up on email. But today I got caught out: while the phone works fine here at Storrie Lake, the Verizon Wireless Internet card does not. It connects, but no data transpires — so I can’t get online.
This happens sometimes on the road, and I have a variety of strategies to combat it. In this case, the solution is to leave early on Friday, and stop along the way (perhaps at lunchtime) to catch up then. But I was still worried this evening about certain problems that were up in the air, and that was bugging me.
The answer came courtesy of the iPod Touch. As we tow, the iPod is constantly in touch with the Internet because our Verizon card is installed in a Cradlepoint wireless cellular router (in the Airstream), and I leave it on all day. This gives us a wifi hotspot in the car in case we want to look something up from the Internet. Translated from geek-speak, that means that the iPod Touch was picking up my email as we drove. So although I can’t reply to anything tonight, I can at least read the 21 emails that arrived since this morning. Fortunately, in the batch there was nothing urgent.
Tomorrow looks like a rather dreary day. We have to tow about 300 miles through what is expected to be rain with low temperatures. Part of the drive will bring us up to nearly 8,000 ft elevation (at Raton Pass). It was snowing in our destination, Colorado Springs, this morning, which does not bode well either. I do not want to see snow, and I especially don’t want to drive through any of it. It could be a very long and slow drive …