Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lordsburg, NM to Socorro, NM

After having enjoyed mild temperatures in Arizona for the entire week, New Mexico seems downright cold. When we got up it was downright blustery. The wind was making it feel a heck of a lot colder than it actually was. We intended to drive to Socorro, NM, and I like to keep the tank topped up, since gas stations are not exactly like Tim Horton's around here. While trying to count out one dollar bills to pay the cashier (outside), one of them got away on me. I made a half hearted attempt to chase it down, but I had to make a quick decision: look half stupid now by giving up, or completely stupid by chasing after in the bushes, across the road and further into the ditch. I made a wise decision and did the correct thing: I gave up. Some lucky New Mexico bum will secretly thank me I'm sure when he finds it some day.

Then off we went, into the desert, which slowly rises at first, then the incline becomes steeper, and before you know it, you've reached the Continental Divide, which doesn't seem all that high here. Then, it's a gradual descent to Silver City, a mining town, I'll leave it to you to guess what mineral.

We strolled around for a bit, to get our bearings. Turns out this is a combined arts/mining town, with lots of cute little shops. Today was dress up day in town, we bought a book of the author and got to snap a picture of him and his wife. When I made an attempt to pay for the book, I noticed I didn't have enough cash, so I decided to go to the nearest ATM, leaving Anne in the store, having great confidence she would not get a rare attack of shyness and refuse to talk to the proprietors. I walked and looked for an ATM, nothing is sight, even though I am downtown Silver City. WTF. I ask the owner of a dog, who I suppose is fairly knowlegeable about the town where he lives, "First left then right". I should have known. Nothing. I keep walking, finally hitting a shopping centre with a Chase Bank. Phew, finally, 20 minutes have passed since I left Anne in the store. Then I open my wallet, look for my bank access card and to my consternation cannot find it. Look everywhere, double check, nada. Now, it is not such a big deal, I have my trusty VISA, which works beatifully, but still. I finally get back to the store, no Anne, she has bailed, I meet her in the street, crying (well no, that part's made up). We go back, pay, have coffee, but deep inside I'm worried sick about my card. Where is it? Did someone nab it? Is my bank account now depleted and should I go back to Lordsburg to retrieve my dollar now?

Anyway, we hit the road again, on our way to Truth or Consequences. To get there though, you need to pass through a mountain range, and I mean big time mountain range, with hair pin turns and signs stating at the outset "No plowing at night and on weekends". Fortunately, it was sunny, so no fear there. After driving like that at speeds of 30-40 km/h (check the speed graph below) for one and a half hours we finally get to the other side. Back to the desert. Truth Or Consequences. Beyond its name, nothing interesting, a town well worth skipping. Entering I-25 we engage cruise control and sail into Socorro about an hour later.

In a desperate attempt to find my bank access card, I turn the car upside down (well, not literally), but come up empty handed. So I decided to phone TD who cancelled it for me. I was happy to hear it had not been used since I last withdrew some cash back in Tucson.

Socorro appears to be a University town, the restaurant where we ate was filled with undergrads marking papers. Motel prices have dropped siginificantly from what they were in Arizona. Tonite is $35.00 for a nice room, fridge, micro wave, high speed internet. My guess is the motel has a vacancy rate right now of 75%.

The portions we had in the restaurant were absolutely huge, 1 meal would have sufficed for both of us. So we had to walk it off, in the dark, past Walmart, Burger King, McDonalds, KFC (advertising their 'chicken steak fried' specialty) and Esonic, America's favorite drive in. It seemed like a throwback to the 50's and 60's.

Tomorrow Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

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