Well, I’m sure Amarillo has its charms, but the Yellow Rose of Texas certainly has a problem with Black Spot and Mildew. A rabble of ugly businesses jostle with each other against the I-40, like Indian street sellers around a tourist, and it made me so claustrophobic I just drove straight through without stopping. Texans may have the biggest this and the biggest that, but somebody should tell the city planners that size isn’t important – it’s what you do with it that counts.
The poor car and I are tired. I didn’t mean to drive so far today but it got really windy, so apart from a short hike on the Sandia mountains all I could do was press on. So now I’m in New Mexico, in a little town called Grants, west of Albuquerque. I got here mid-afternoon, so I spent the rest of the day just chilling out and having a swim and a spa. The motel is at 6,500 feet, so swimming takes your breath away in the thin air. But altitude is good for my mood. In the morning I’ll try to have a run.
I’m in Mountain Time now, so 7 hours behind the UK and 1 behind Louisiana. The scenery became volcanic shortly before crossing into NM and is now semi-desert. The air is warm and dry and at last there are snow-capped peaks, canyons, mesas and things to see. I feel like I’m “there” now, rather than on my way, so although the distances are still vast I should be able to cut down on the mileage for a while.
I’m on Route 66, which is iconic for a road trip. I called in at a couple of small towns on the way and they still have endless strips of bizarrely shaped motels, clamouring for business. It reminded me of our first trip to the US, when cheap roach motels were all we could afford. Grants is rather less charming. It has a nice little park on Main Street, but most of the restaurants are closed down or for sale and the town seems to be dying, despite being the “Uranium Capital of the World”.
35° 8’13.18″N, 107°49’37.49″W, ~1,160 miles
Today’s sensations: An uncharacteristically narcissistic feeling that all the songs on the radio were written specifically about me. Volatile moods, cycling through sadness and bitterness, acceptance and disbelief. On the upside I did have what might be a good idea for a book and that made me excited and cheery for a while. Now I fear I’m falling in love with the girl inside my satnav, but at least she’s easy to please.