Where are you? That’s a question I ask myself quite often. When you are using a GPS for navigation, you always know what road you are on and how far it is to the next turn, but to get the big picture, I like to pull out a map several times a day and pretend I’m a castaway lost at sea. I don’t have to pretend all the time, either.
I left Mesa Wednesday, 21st, and headed north on I17 towards Flagstaff. Intermittent rain followed me for most of the way and seemed to cool the air until I reached higher altitude. The ride was uneventful, but a previous restless night caused me to get sleepy, so I made several stops to get out and stretch and resolved to stop early.
I saw signs for Walnut Canyon National Monument and decided to stop. Even though I had been there before I thought the walk down to the cliff dwellings would be good exercise and rouse me from my drowsy state. I’ve always thought it would be neat to live in a cliff dwelling but it would have been a hard life. It would certainly be no place to live if you walked in your sleep!
I only drove a few more miles and pulled on to a forest road in the Coconino National Forest. It was a nice wooded camping spot, but unfortunately located a short distance from a firing range. For about an hour after dinner I could hear the shooting of guns. They would fire off several rounds, then it would be quiet for a while – I’m guessing while they reloaded and examined their targets for damage – then another magazine was emptied, until at last they must have run out of ammo and I heard no more shots.
The next morning I drove I40 to Albuquerque and then I25 to Santa Fe. I was glad not to have hit Albuquerque at rush hour, the traffic was insane even during the early afternoon. It is an easy merge on to the interstate north and I passed through with no problems. Shortly after Santa Fe I saw a sign for Pecos National Historical Park and decided to take a look. The decision to stop at these places is easier when you get in free.
The Pecos Valley was once home to a thriving Pueblo Indian community, with various cultures and tribes trading and building a huge complex of dwellings. When the Spaniards came to the area looking for gold, they were met with uncertainty and fighting often followed. Later on missionaries tried to persuade the natives to turn to Christianity, but the Indians found it difficult to warm to the idea of one God and on one occasion burned down the mission and killed the priest. You walk along a path that winds through ruins and pieces of foundation and read about how they lived centuries ago.
Tonight I am just south of Denver at a Walmart. There were signs posted that said “No RV parking” but I went in and asked them about it and they directed me to a place where it is allowed. I would like to hold up until after the weekend but I need to find someplace more permanent to park. I am very close to Rocky Mountain National Park and it may be calling me to come visit.