Wednesday, June 04, 2014

US Hwy 70: New Mexico Exit Go!

I had a great day with my friends in Las Cruces!

We did a bit of sightseeing, including a visit to La Mesilla where, in 1854, the Gadsen Purchase was signed to execute the last major territorial acquisition within the contiguous United States.

The US flag was raised on this plaza after the annexation of a 29,640 square mile region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. The "M" and the "54" painted on the bandstand commemorate the event.

It was so hot — topping out at 107 degrees! — that we mostly drove around in my truck with air conditioning that could barely handle the heat.

We finally gave up and "chilled out" in their air conditioned house for a few hours before enjoying a nice dinner together. (Thanks Jim & June! Happy and I look forward to another visit when it's cooler!)

Seeing a forecast for extreme heat again today, I got up before sunset and hit the road at first light. For a hundred miles west of Las Cruces, US70 is entirely subsumed into I-10. It's a long, steady climb that eventually brings you to a very uneventful crossing of continental divide.

It was a typical interstate drive, with little to see and less to enjoy. One amusing moment happened when all traffic was forced to stop at an immigration checkpoint. I pulled up and was asked if I was a US citizen. Upon answering in the affirmative, I was told to carry on. I hope all the electronics that scans vehicles on the way into the checkpoint does a more thorough job, else I fail to see the point.

At the town of Lordsburg, US70 diverts northwest toward the Arizona border, across many more miles of what I have become accustomed to: empty road, scrub, sage, sand, rocks and mountains.

By late-morning I was fast approaching my New Mexico exit. There's a lot more to today's story... Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

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