October 22, 2017 Mesa Verde, CO to Albuquerque, NM

The temperature when we got up was 31. The sun came up around 7:15 and we were hoping it would warm up quickly. We pulled out of the campground around 9:30. Only 15 minutes into our drive towards town, 2 large does came bouncing across the highway (and I do mean bouncing). Bob slammed on the breaks, Auggie came sliding off the backseat into the footwell, and the does made it across the road within an inch of their lives. As we glided by, gathering our wits, I looked over in the direction from where they came and there were 2 buck waiting in the bushes to take their turn at crossing the road. Hopefully, no more drivers or those 2 bucks get hurt in the process. Cortez was quiet for a Sunday morning as we left on Highway 160. I just can’t get enough of these golden trees lighting up the landscape in the sun.

Leaving town, we entered the Navajo Indian Reservation. Paralleling Highway 141 were the Carrizo Mountains on one side and high desert grassland on the other.

Sticking up in the middle of nothing were these buttes.

We crossed the dry Mancos River into New Mexico and the road went all to heck.

The road was straight and seemed to go on forever.

Bob kept calling this rock formation Twin Peaks, but as we got closer we could see it was called Shiprock near a town with the same name.

Traveling through this part of the Navajo Nation was dreary and grey, lacking anything green. Except for the occasional butte or mesa, it was pretty bleak.

We crossed the San Juan River which was the only visible source of water.

Then we saw a little more greenery, sheep, cattle, and horse. This highway was as straight as an arrow with not much to look at. We got excited when the road did this.

When we passed through the Navajo towns, many homes had the Navajo round hogans on the property.

The terrain changed as we drove further southeast and the highway improved as well.

We were lucky enough to pick up the Packers vs Saints game on Sirius radio during our drive today. Once we hopped on I-40 to Albuquerque, the beautiful read rock formations began to appear.

We crossed the Continental Divide (Elev. 7275 ft.) on a short climb.

The semi-truck and train traffic was heavy today on I-40. We must have seen 10 long trains going in both directions. 

Mt. Taylor (Elev. 11,301 ft.) could be seen rising in the distance.

We passed an area that was marked “lava fields” on the map and we could see evidence of it along the highway.

We came over the hill and saw the Route 66 Casino standing out against the brown landscape.

We’re staying at the Route 66 Casino RV Park and arrived there at 2:30 after 266 miles and 5 hours of driving.

We checked in and set up camp at site 1233.

We stayed hooked up to the trailer for just an overnight stay. After taking some time to unwind after the drive, we had dinner and relaxed with some TV. Tomorrow our drive will be a little longer to Amarillo, TX. At least the temperature here was 67 degrees with no wind and sunny skies. (I forgot to mention that Bob surprised me with the gift he bought when we stopped at a roadside Navajo stand on our way to Monument Valley, Utah. I was kidding him about buying me something turquoise and he knew I really liked dream catchers, so I got both in one. What a guy!)


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