Day 11: Amarillo (Texas)
We hadn’t planned much for today, so we could rest a little now we were about halfway our trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. In the morning we were going for a walk in Palo Duro Canyon and in the after noon we would go to Westgate Mall.
The hike in Palo Duro State Park didn’t go as planned. There are no paved walkways, only narrow paths through the wilderniss. No problem for us. The real problem were the bugs! They were all around and were hungry! On the parking lot a woman asked us if we had an anti-bug spray. We said no, so she offered to use hers, because we would need it! We took the offer and started our hike. Already on the first 50m on the path we were bitten multiple times, so we decided to walk along the road that winds through the park.
We saw a centipede and another fluffy animal. About 1km and 5 painful stings further we turned around and returned to the car to see the park from the many viewpoints.
We took a shower in the hotel and went to Westgate Mall in the afternoon.
Day 12: Amarillo (Texas) – Santa Fe (New Mexico)
Again we could add a state to our list for this trip, New Mexico. We drove from Amarillo, Texas, to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A few kilometers from our hotel we stopped for the first time at Cadillac Ranch. This work of art is built with 10 Cadillacs, buried nose down in the ground. The cars are ordered chronologically, with an example of every design of tailfinn. Everyone was busy spraying graffiti on the cars. (which is allowed and even encouraged!)
After a short stop at the Vega Motel we reached the midpoint of Route 66, at the MidPoint Café. The bar is right in the middle between Chicago and Los angeles. We still had 1139 miles to go.
Next stop was Glenrio. This town was founded on the border between Texas and New Mexico in 1903. But when the interstate was opened just a few 100m further, the town was abandoned. Even the road to New Mexico is only a dirt road. We turned around and drove a few miles on the interstate, untill Route 66 was a paved road again.
In Santa Rosa we had lunch at the Silver Moon diner. They serve delicious Mexican-American food. Heidi liked the cheese sticks!
After lunch we stopped at the Route 66 Auto Museum. They have a very nice collection of historic cars, like Corvettes, Fords and a few Hotrods.
From the museum we drove to Santa Fe, where we made a walk in the historical center.
Before dinner we went to the shops at Santa Fe Place. We had the impression that the region around Santa Fe is quite poor and that there are more crimes commited. In one store we had to wait at the check-out because the employees were watching some people till security came. We think they were known thieves. Also in the nearby supermarket security escorted a young man to the exit.
Day 13: Santa Fe (New Mexico) – Albuquerque (New Mexico)
It was an active and educative day.
In the morning we hiked in Bandelier National Monument. Since a large flood damaged some services in the park cars are no longer allowed in the park. So we had to park about 15km from the park, at a new visitor center, and take a shuttle bus to the park. The park is managed by the National Park Service and was inhabited by the ancesters of the Native Americans about 11.000 years ago.
The remnants of their houses and caves can be seen on a nice 4km hike through the valley.
Two years ago there was a flood in the valley. This can still be seen. There were dead trees everywhere in the valley. They were ripped from the ground by the water. A ranger told us that some path were flushed away. During our hike we also saw some wildlife: a lot of lizards, and some deer. Heidi read about tarantulas in a travel guid, but we didn’t see them.
We returned to the car at 12.30pm. We drove to Los Alamos and ate at Subway before going to the Bradbury Science Museum. The museum documents the history and future of Los Alamos. In 1943 Los Alamos was a top-secret town. It didn’t exist for the outside world. Reason for all this secrecy was the development of the atomic bombs that were eventually dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After a drive of 2.5 hours we arrived at Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn in Albuquerque. We had dinner in the Coronado Center before returning to the hotel to write this report.