We drove out of Texas into New Mexico and camped in Las Cruces. This campground had one of the coolest views of any we've had. Karin and I got to watch the sunset shining on the Organ Pipe Mountains - incredible. It was a hot, intensely sunny day, but at night it got quite cold and the wind started blowing really hard. At the campground, they had signs warning you not to leave your camper's awning up - and they meant it.
Yesterday we drove through New Mexico and into Arizona, where we're base camped for a day at Kartchner Caverns State Park. This is desert. Here's what we saw.
Sunset in Las Cruces, NM on the Organ Pipe Mountains.
Sunset on Karin :-)
The next day we were stopped at a border inspection station. All they did was ask if we had any non-US citizens. If I were an alien trying to evade arrest, I would not drive by this permanent station.
You might not know it, but I come from a long line of weather jinxes. It has rained on us in every single state we've been in so far. And, even though Las Cruces advertised 360 sunny days a year, it rained on us in both NM and in AZ.
You might have seen these fiberglass panels hanging beneath trucks. These help the air flow around the rear wheels on semis and improve gas mileage. I read once that they improve the mileage by 6%.
There's also these end panels that are designed to pull the air back behind the truck. I don't know how much they improve the efficiency.
The wind was so strong, it knocked about 3 mpg off our consumption. Check out Mrs. Dr. V's hair!
Out here Union Pacific is the main rail line. Most we saw were hauling containers from the west coast to the middle of the country. Here, a train is hauling rails.
Gondolas for ore...
I just had a second to snap this picture. There's the windmill which pumps groundwater, and the tree that survives because of the water. Look in the distance...no other trees. Water = life.
Its hard to see once the picture resolution is cut down to blog size, but these telephone poles just disappear right into the distant mountains.
They weren't kidding. The wind was blowing, and there were dust devils all around.
A dust devil crossing the road.
A dust devil swirling along. You can't tell in the picture, but this has a cyclonic motion, like a tiny tornado.
Look at Sophie's mouth. She's ready to take on those poisonous snakes and insects.
This is the pet-friendly pet walk area at the Arizona rest stop. Those rocks are actually pretty sharp. I guess what makes it pet friendly is that there were no cacti, poisonous snakes or insects in the actual area. I think it was too rough for the snakes and insects.
Rain falling, but not reaching the ground. It evaporates before it touches down.
It was sort of funny to see this giant boat in the middle of the desert. Note that it's hanging over both lanes...
Mountains, and just a touch wetter climate.
One rest area was nestled in a mountain pass with these troll rocks.
You can imagine these rocks getting up at night and walking around.
And almost to our campsite in Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson, AZ.
Our campground was full of these prickly pear cacti.
My dog Patch woke me up in the morning as the sun rose, so I went out and snapped a few pictures in the morning light.
Then, several cups of strong tea to start the day :-)