This is a multi-part trip report… if you haven’t already, you should start with Day 1.
Daily Mileage: 267
Total Mileage: 1081
Santa Rosa is a state park but feels more like a Corps of Engineers campground. Everything’s made of cast concrete, even the picnic tables and heavy sun shelters over them.
The temperature last night dropped to sixteen degrees, according to our wireless thermometer, and the morning dawns sunny and dry and calm. While walking around the campground we stop to admire a “Casita” trailer, its occupants drinking steaming cups of hot coffee and waving cheerfully through its tiny windows. They have the look of veteran travelers, and on the back of their camper there’s a sign: “The more one sees, the less one needs.”
Somewhere between Santa Rosa and Albuquerque we begin to see a few white-topped mountains to the north, and the land’s getting hillier. There are exits marked on the map that aren’t towns, only truckstops.
Today becomes a lazy day of errands and replanning in Albuquerque. After using the free WiFi at McAlister’s to find that the forecast for Grand Canyon’s gone from bad to terrible, we do some research into other options to the south. We spend an hour or so at Barnes & Noble looking at guidebooks for Saguaro, Gila, and the area around Carlsbad. We’ll get the weather we planned for, I think, though we’ll have to move the trip south a state in order to get it. We spent some time at the REI store in Albuquerque, too, just browsing and getting the few last things on our shopping list.
It’s a difficult decision. We’ve already changed our plans once, and now we have to do it again. Gila looks interesting but has wet trail crossings, which don’t seem like a good idea in December. We’d like to see the Guads and Carlsbad but we know Mandy will never forgive us if we go there without her. We decide to head toward Saguaro National Park in Tucson, so after eating a bad supper at a fake Chinese restaurant, we start driving south toward Truth or Consequences. Bryan’s had a bad headache all day, so we decide to get a hotel room there so that he can get a hot shower and a good night’s sleep in a warm room.
We carry our backpacks into the room, just to be safe. My pack feels good on my back tonight. I’m tired of driving around; I’m ready to go for a walk.
Our garden gnome in the Super 8, Truth or Consequences, NM.