Day 218 : New Crew, New Mexico

20 February 2011

Location : Shumway to Santa Fe

High Point: Our traditional southwestern breakfast cooked by The Caskey family…. Who`d have thought that eggs and chilly could go together so well!

Low Point: Dinner is early in rural America… restaurants here are closed by 8pm which resulted in one very hungry and unhappy crew searching to find some food at 9pm.

No Point: Why are the boys having more showers than the girls? And what is a ‘strip wash’?

Burger Point: With the crew now weighted firmly towards the healthy-eating girls, the burger count has been officially closed with yours truly striding out in front with a massive 20 burgers consumed in 15 days. We need a new count now….?Authors comments.

Waking up with the sunlight reflecting off the crystal white snow covering the cattle fields of the Caskey Ranch was a real treat. The conditions which the night before had presented Martha with her biggest challenge yet, now made the outside world look picture perfect and like something out of the movies.

Bill and Troy had a traditional southwestern breakfast “feast” waiting for us consisting of fluffy pancakes, homemade bread, scrambled eggs with chilies and white gravy. What an amazing way to start the day! Before we departed Troy gave the crew a tour of the ranch while I went with Bill to feed his cattle that been struggling to find food under the snow. It was easy to forget that just a few hours earlier we were wondering if we were going to be stuck at the top of a snow covered mountain. I should take this opportunity again to thank all the Caskey Family for their overwhelming hospitality and making us feel so welcome in their home.

Compared to the winding coastal route of Stage 7, Stage 8 is truly the “Road Trip” of America that you dream of doing, and today was the day when it really began. We were driving through deserts, though towns that were no more than a shed and a “gas” station and in true clichéd style we even saw some tumbleweed roll past the rig (and no… not after one of my famous jokes!) Our journey today also took us through massive Native American reservations that spread as far and as wide as the eye could see.

Our penultimate destination of the day was the dramatic “Sky City” of Acoma Pueblo.  Sitting 7000ft above sea level and around 400 ft around the surrounding plains this is one of the oldest continuously inhabited Native American settlements in the USA. The views from the top were incredible as the sun was setting over the beautiful desolate lands that make up the majority of New Mexico.

It’s hard to explain but there’s something about being here in the middle of nowhere that makes you feel like you`re actually getting somewhere across this vast land, and as our landscape gets more and more barren and the famous sights become less and less, the noise is becoming deafening.

Life on the road is good!


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