May 23, 2022 Alamogordo to Grants, NM

We wanted to get an early start today with 263 miles to go, so we left at 8:45. It was a cool 53 degrees when we woke up, but by the time we left it was mostly sunny and 70. We started off on Highway 54 to the northeast out of town. It took us past Pistachioland which we had seen advertised in the campground.

Highway 54 parallels the White Sands’ Missle Range on the west and the Apache Indian Reservation on the east. We said good bye to the San Andreas Mountains and traveled through the valley where there were lots of agricultural fields.

Highway 54 was a divided highway going straight forever with no traffic to speak of.

We made the turn onto highway 380 going west. On this road, we drove right through the lava beds and the Valley of Fires Recreation Area. The black area is the lava field which are 3000-5000 years old.

Highway 380 took us up and over the hills at an elevation of 5745 ft.

We finished our 65 miles on Highway 380 when we approached the town of San Antonio, NM and crossed the Rio Grande River. Amazingly, the river had some water in it.

We picked up I-25 north to Albuquerque. We saw some signs of a fire just off the Interstate. Whatever it was, kept putting up plumes of smoke. We were glad it wasn’t a forest fire!

You can always tell where there is a water source by the abundance of greenery nearby.

The Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge was located here and is one of the largest refuges in the lower 48 states. They manage the Mexican wolf recovery project by housing Mexican wolves for pairing, breeding pups, and translocation.

We took a 33 mile shortcut just south of Albuqueque on Highway 6 and ran into a small area of construction. It was a brand new road, but it was quite windy in the valley.

This road took us through the Laguna Indian Reservation. It was very beautiful country.

Our drive paralleled this mountain range for miles.

Every mesa had its own name.

Two train tracks ran along the road and a long train happened to come by, driven by 4 engines pulling flat cars loaded with container boxes carrying goods from all over.

We hooked up with I-40 with 40 miles to go. The wind continued and tired Bob out. It was a chore to hold onto the steering wheel and keep us on the road. The last 1/2 of our drive today was through some very picturesque red rock canyons.

We saw fry bread advertised on multiple billboards as we approached a small town on the Indian Reservation. We were so tempted to pull off and find the place, but we didn’t. We caught sight of some homes built right along the hillside.

We arrived at our campground, Grants/Cibola Sands KOA, at 2:00. We are at an elevation of 6430 ft.

They gave us #24, a pull-through site, so we didn’t have to disconnect the Jeep for just a one night stay.

We got set up quickly and I took Auggie out to stretch his legs (and mine). We walked around the campground and discovered the “volcanic bubble” area.

My lava rock sample

The skies darkened and it looked like it might rain. We got a few sprinkles, but the rain passed us by. The winds kept up for most of the afternoon and finally started to subside as the sun set. Ten other campers arrived after we did and the campground began to fill up. This campground gives each person a complimentary cookie upon arrival.

They have a free continental breakfast in the morning. The hosts also provide carry-out dinners for the campers as well. They had some decent things on the menu–roast turkey dinner, pizza, chicken tenders dinner, ribs, brisket, and of course all kinds of side dishes and desserts. The food is delivered fresh to the campsite. Many people seemed to take advantage of this service. The weather report talked about cooler temps overnight, a mere 37 degrees. I guess we’ll have to put on the heat and run the fireplace tonight.

We had chili for dinner and the cookies for dessert. Auggie got his walk after dinner and we had to deal with the winds. Tomorrow we have a long drive again and the wind is supposed to continue. We’ll try and get an earlier start. Hopefully, we’ll get further north before the winds pick up. We are really getting tired of all this wind!!!!!

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