Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Elk Hunt Chronicles - Day Ten

All good things must come to an end. And I'm just about ready for this particular good thing to conclude.

Another long day on the road today. Some congestion from Colorado Springs through Pueblo, but once I got south of Pueblo it was smooth sailing. I really enjoy driving through Raton Pass. It's on the CO/NM border (elevation 7843 feet) and goes through some rugged scenic terrain, both up and down. The slope is pretty steep going up - so steep that semis crawl along at about 10-15 MPH. My truck was struggling to maintain 65 MPH. Of course, it's a flatland truck geared for torque, not speed (the speedometer's highest reading is 85 MPH). Like me, it gasps for air when exerting itself at elevation.

Another cool thing about Raton Pass are the 'Beware of (insert wildlife here)' signs. There are the usual yellow diamond "Deer Crossing" or "Elk Crossing" signs.

But near the summit of Raton Pass I saw a wildlife sign I'd never seen before. I tried to take a picture of it but couldn't get my smart phone into camera mode in time (too busy steering, dodging slow moving semis, manuevering around curves, etc.) Anyway, I found a similar image online.

Yes, that's a "Bear Crossing" sign.

After crossing Raton Pass I hung a left and headed through northeast New Mexico towards the Texas panhandle. I thought the drive through Wyoming was desolete, but NM just might be worse. Not much in the way of scenery (rolling plains with a few hills and mesas off in the distance). The worse part about this particular stretch is that the speed limit gets lowered from 70 MPH to the 50s or 40s, depending on location, for what are basically ghost towns. These little wide spots in the road are home to closed and collapsed businesses and buildings. There are few if any inhabitants for miles around. To make things worse, the speed limit is lowered miles before what used to be a town, is kept at ridicuously low levels during the deserted ruins, and isn't restored back to 70 until miles afterward.

It was a great relief to cross the border into God's Country, where the speed limit is higher, the gas is cheaper, the beer is colder, and the women are prettier.

I'm spending Tuesday night in Lubbock. Wednesday should be a relatively easy day - just a little over 300 miles, compared to the 500+ miles of the past two days. I plan to spend Wed. night at our lake cabin, doing some laundry, stashing some meat in the freezer there, and taking care of a few maintenance chores. Then I'll head for home on Thursday, where I plan to make my wife a happy woman...


Bag Blog said...

I love driving through No-where NM, although you are right about the speed limits. Between Springer and Clayton may be desolate, but it has its own beauty. Between Springer and Logan there are some huge ranches - I could live on any of them. Logan has an establishment called Whiskey Road to Ruin with the most beautiful old bar inside. I could tell you stories of each of the towns you drove through, but not my blog. Hope your drive across TX is more exciting.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

That Bear sign on Raton isn't a joke. A car full of relatives barely missed hitting one.

CenTexTim said...

BB - I agree that area has its own particular beauty. What I was trying to point out is the lack of human habitation anywhere in sight on that stretch.

You're also right about the huge ranches. My favorite is the T O Ranch just east of Rayon - 220,000 acres.

WSF- I didn't think it was a joke. I just thought it was cool that there were three 'species crossing' signs within a couple of miles.

Old NFO said...

Drive safe! And don't let gethomeitis get you...