Sunday, September 16, 2007

Day 4- Elk City, Oklahoma to Albuquerque, New Mexico

We left the hotel at 8:00 A.M. on the dot. Oklahoma rolled by into Texas with slow incremental changes. At first, the landscape became flatter and flatter, had less and less vegetation with slow rolling hills, and arroyos carved into them. Next we came to a Texas Welcome Center near Lake McClellan, Texas, a 50-mile long reservoir that was not apparent from our vantage point on Interstate 40, though a small canyon and wild flowers afforded a rather spectacular view behind the center. I’ve included two photographs here.

On the other side of Amarillo the landscape continued to become more and more arid, and a shallow break in the ground running from the northeast to the southwest across the entire landscape, horizon-to-horizon seemed to demark the final transition to desert. Eastern New Mexico seemed to be one world-filling cauldron containing nothing but broken rocks tumbling from rocky buttes and hillsides into silver-grass filled valleys.

After driving over and around Sandia Peak, we arrived in Albuquerque around 2:00 P.M. Mountain Time having gained another hour just inside the New Mexico state border. We drove immediately to Old Town, parked the car and rambled through the Plaza where we visited craft shops and galleries, San Felipe Neri Church, and located the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History in order to visit that on our return trip later next week. We also found a pleasant sidewalk café/bar and had salsa and chips, and a relaxing libation. We drove to our hotel on the north side of the city about 5:30 P.M. and discovered that our 4th story room has a wonderful view of the mountains east of the city. We shopped for take out and then ate in our room in order to watch the pink and orange light of the setting sun crawl up craggy Sandia Peak.

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