My 2007 Road Trip - 4th Week
This is a brief journal of the fourth week of my 2007 road trip to the southwest. I'm dividing this journal into separate pages for each week to keep them more manageable.
Day 22 - Monday, March 5, 2007 - Santa Fe NM to Socorro NM
Via US 285 south to US 60 west - 206 miles
The day dawned bright and sunny and in the 20's I would guess. I had breakfast in a restaurant on the square and spent most of the morning poking in and out of the many galleries in the area before deciding to head back to Wickenburg AZ to take in the annual Southwest Leather Workers Trade Show held this year on March 8th through the 10th. This show has been a tentative stop on my trip all along but I decided earlier to skip it. This morning I changed my mind.
This afternoon I took a walk around the Abo Pueblo ruins just west of Mountainair NM. Abo Pueblo was for 50 years or so an important mission and trading post on the El Camino Real before both the pueblo and mission were abandoned in the late 1670s. Much of the Spanish mission church still stands amid the un-excavated pueblo town site.
Day 23 - Tuesday, March 6, 2007 - Socorro NM to Prescott AZ
Via US 60 west to AZ 260 west to AZ 89A - 419 miles
This days ride took me through quite a variety of topography, starting with the beautiful rolling grasslands west of Socorro and then across the grasslands of the Plains of San Agustin. West of Show Low AZ route 260 runs for many miles along the Mogollon Rim through national forest lands.
Arizona route 89A from Cottonwood to Prescott is an beautiful mountain road running through the amazing cliffside city of Jerome AZ. Originally a copper mining town, Jerome is now a major art and craft center in a spectacular setting.
Day 24 - Wednesday, March 7, 2007 - Prescott AZ to Wickenburg AZ
Via AZ 89 south to US 93 south - 72 miles
The first 15 miles of AZ 89 south from Prescott is another twisty mountain road taking one from mile high Prescott up over the mountains and down to Wilhoit AZ. This is a great motorcycling road and there are lots of them on it.
Well fed beef cows watching motorcyclists on the mountain
Day 25 - Wickenburg AZ to Holbrook AZ
Via US 93 north to AZ 89 north to AZ 89A north to AZ 260 east to AZ 87 north to I-40 east - 254 miles
After a couple of hours wandering around the Southwest Leather Workers Trade Show in Wickenburg AZ I headed out for Jerome AZ for a walk about town to check out some of its many art galleries and shops and have a late lunch in the oldest restaurant in Arizona, the English Kitchen. Some of the best galleries are in restored buildings built into the hillside with the entrance at street level on the third floor and the back door opening at grade onto a patio. Much glass has been added to the back walls looking out over the Verde Valley below and the mountains beyond. Spectacular. I hope to come back to Jerome in the future to explore some more of this interesting town.
Day 26 - Holbrook AZ to Taos NM
Via I-40 east to I-25 north to US 84 north to NM 68 north - 364 miles.
Leaving Holbrook this morning I had planned on taking I-40 east for 1500 miles or so but quickly tired of that idea and decided to head up to Taos for a short visit and then head north into southern Colorado and east from there. Arriving in Taos mid afternoon gave me a little time to wander around the square a bit. It was a nice warm sunny day but there was surprisingly little activity in the square though traffic on the main drag was heavy. When I was here last year I heard talk of building a bypass to relieve some of that traffic; seems like a good idea to me.
Day 27 - Taos NM to Meade KS
Via US 64 north to I-25 north to US 160 east - 393 miles.
This route took me over Raton Pass then east across the high desert and into the high plains farmlands of southwest Colorado and southeast Kansas.
Raton Pass was the most difficult stretch of the Santa Fe Trail. Travelers had to cross about 20 miles of difficult terrain over the pass without falling off the road into a ravine or creek. Mountain man “Uncle Dick” Wooten saw the chance to help travelers on their journey and make a profit. In 1865 he began the undertaking of building a passable road, cutting down trees, blasting and clearing rocks, and building bridges. Travelers on the Santa Fe Trail paid $1.50 per wagon and $.05 per head of livestock to use his road.
Much of the land along US 160 between Trinidad and Kim CO is posted with "This land not for sale to the Army" signs. It seems the Army is intent on tripling the size of its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site and wants to buy up to 416,000 acres in this area of southeastern Colorado.
Day 28 - Meade KS to Springfield MO
Via US 160 east to US 89 south to US 166 east to I-44 east - 442 miles
Homeward bound - nothing of interest to report except that the ride across Kansas is quite pleasant. With the exception of a few congested and rough road spots US 160 is a good 65 mph, low traffic, road.
Day 29 - Springfield MO to Huntington WV
Via I-44 east to I-64 east - 671 miles.
Day30 - Huntington WV to Red Rock
Via I-64 east to I-79 north to I-68 east to I-70 east to I-81 north to I-88 north to I-90 east - 757 miles