The Winding Road, October 2019

A 15th Anniversary Vacation for Abby and Richard

The San Juan River flows past the hot springs water of Pagosa Springs, Colorado in this five-exposure high dynamic range (HDR) image at dusk.
The San Juan River flows past the hot springs water of Pagosa Springs, Colorado in this five-exposure high dynamic range (HDR) image at dusk.
The Winding Road
The Winding Road

• Driving to New Mexico

My wife Abby and I haven’t had an anniversary vacation since 2016, and were excited as this one approached. Our plan was to find and drive roads that we’d never seen before, particularly winding mountain roads, and our plan worked exactly as we had imagined: we saw things we didn’t expect, and which made great pictures.

We travelled well under blue skies, with Summer the Chihuahua often sleeping in Abby’s lap.

Abby holds her Chihuahua Summer Time Lane as we prepare to leave home for the week.
Abby holds her Chihuahua Summer Time Lane as we prepare to leave home for the week.

I stopped and rephotographed the Texas Panhandle “peace park,” an art installation I photographed once before, in 2014. It has since been painted in a mostly rainbow theme.

The "peace park" is an art installation at around mile marker 84 along Interstate 40 in the Texas panhandle.
The “peace park” is an art installation at around mile marker 84 along Interstate 40 in the Texas panhandle.
The first time I photographed this feature, in 2014, is was mostly painted in red and blue, but on this pass, it was almost all painted in rainbow colors. This portion of the park features a lyric from John Lennon's "Imagine."
The first time I photographed this feature, in 2014, is was mostly painted in red and blue, but on this pass, it was almost all painted in rainbow colors. This portion of the park features a lyric from John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Several benches are installed at the Texas "peace park," like this one labeled "The Peace Bench."
Several benches are installed at the Texas “peace park,” like this one labeled “The Peace Bench.”
The "peace park" also features signs, slogans, religious texts, and dates cut in steel.
The “peace park” also features signs, slogans, religious texts, and dates cut in steel.

As always, Abby and I were just happy to be on the road together. We rolled into our motel parking lot on Albuquerque’s west side after dark.

The Winding Road
The Winding Road

• Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge,  and Quarai Mission Ruins

Abby was tired from the driving day, so she sent me on my way. Without a plan of any kind, I got out a map and first drove to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, which is known in some seasons as a bird photography paradise, but I was more interested in the landscape and a potential hike or two.

It was a perfectly clear morning as I drove south out of Albuquerque when I spotted this mission church with the moon going down behind it.
It was a perfectly clear morning as I drove south out of Albuquerque when I spotted this mission church with the moon going down behind it.
Los Lunas, New Mexico, is is noted for its historic mansion made into a restaurant. I visited Los Lunas in 1992 and 1999.
Los Lunas, New Mexico, is is noted for its historic mansion made into a restaurant. I visited Los Lunas in 1992 and 1999.
Wildflowers take in clear morning sunshine on the Canyon National Recreation Trail at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
Wildflowers take in clear morning sunshine on the Canyon National Recreation Trail at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

My first hike of the day was the 2.5-mile Canyon National Recreation Trail, which I had entirely to myself. It was the kind of desert hike I really love, winding deep into Solitude Canyon, then up some steep switchbacks to an overlook from which I could see many miles.

Desert trails are very compelling to me. They are an invitation to solitude and freedom.
Desert trails are very compelling to me. They are an invitation to solitude and freedom.
Many daylight desert scenes lack color, and I often find them more compelling in black-and-white.
Many daylight desert scenes lack color, and I often find them more compelling in black-and-white.

I drove both sections of the auto tour loop, getting out and hiking a number of short trails. Nice color, nice images.

The loop drive at Bosque del Apache was beautiful, and included many colorful cottonwood trees.
The loop drive at Bosque del Apache was beautiful, and included many colorful cottonwood trees.

In 2006, I visited the Abo Ruins of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, so I thought it made sense to see another site in the Monument, Quarai Mission, just north of Mountainair, New Mexico.

Sadly, the town of Moutainair itself is in the final stages of being destroyed by poverty.

The one nice-looking feature of the run-down town of Moutainair, New Mexico was this rather brilliant sign on the side of a building.
The one nice-looking feature of the run-down town of Moutainair, New Mexico was this rather brilliant sign on the side of a building.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.

The Quarai Mission site is north and west up a narrow, shoulderless, winding blacktopped state highway, and well hidden from view. It features a short trail and the beautifully preserved Mission church surrounded by ruins. I prowled around the structures in the clear afternoon light, making pictures.

The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.
The Quarai Mission is part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.

The drive back to Albuquerque was an adventure in bleakness, from the dozens of super-long trains loaded with cargo from China, to the seemingly endless sprawl along the I-25 corridor south of the City. On the way in, I got Chinese food for us from Panda Express.

The Winding Road
The Winding Road

• The High Road to Taos, Driving through Northern New Mexico, and San Juan Riverwalk at Night

Per our rather unspecific plan we grabbed a map and pointed to some roads neither of us had ever taken, and almost immediately it paid off when we accidentally joined the “High Road to Taos Scenic Byway.”

This route was particularly resonant with us because our first vacation together was called The High Road.

Abby and I named our first vacation together "The High Road," so it seemed fitting that we should take this high road for our fifteenth wedding anniversary vacation.
Abby and I named our first vacation together “The High Road,” so it seemed fitting that we should take this high road for our fifteenth wedding anniversary vacation.
Brilliant autumn sunshine greets us as we drive the High Road to Taos Scenic Byway.
Brilliant autumn sunshine greets us as we drive the High Road to Taos Scenic Byway.
The Sacred Heart Church in Nambe, New Mexico is home to this beautiful cemetery.
The Sacred Heart Church in Nambe, New Mexico is home to this beautiful cemetery.
The winding, narrow New Mexico highway 503 curves past hills and through valleys on its way to Taos.
The winding, narrow New Mexico highway 503 curves past hills and through valleys on its way to Taos.
Abby waves at me from the truck after I scampered up a hill to make a picture.
Abby waves at me from the truck after I scampered up a hill to make a picture.

This route was dotted with small towns, hairpin curves, bright autumn color, beautiful churches, and not much traffic. The town of Cundiyo had a particularly narrow, winding section of the highway through the community.

In case you were wondering, this route is called the High Road to Taos because the low road from Santa Fe to Taos follows the Rio Grande.

The Santa Domingo Catholic Church of Cundiyo stands in brilliant autumn sunshine.
The Santa Domingo Catholic Church of Cundiyo stands in brilliant autumn sunshine.
This is a different angle on the The Santa Domingo Catholic Church of Cundiyo, New Mexico.
This is a different angle on the The Santa Domingo Catholic Church of Cundiyo, New Mexico.
Cundiyo, New Mexico takes on brilliant morning light.
Cundiyo, New Mexico takes on brilliant morning light.
Abby pokes her camera out the passenger side window to photograph an art gallery in Cundiyo, New Mexico.
Abby pokes her camera out the passenger side window to photograph an art gallery in Cundiyo, New Mexico.
New Mexico 503 squeezes through a narrow passage in the town of Cundiyo.
New Mexico 503 squeezes through a narrow passage in the town of Cundiyo.
Abby and I stopped at iHOP in Taos because it "sounded good," and when I said a grilled cheese on sourdough sounded good, she ordered it.
Abby and I stopped at iHOP in Taos because it “sounded good,” and when I said a grilled cheese on sourdough sounded good, she ordered it.

Our route took us northwest out of Taos toward the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, where Abby and I had bought some jewelry from vendors in 2010. This time, though, either it was too cold, or vending had been prohibited, as there were none in the vicinity.

Continuing to Tres Piedras, we stopped at the Old Pink Schoolhouse, which at one time was the home and studio of artist Ken Nelson, who I met briefly there in 2007.

The Old Pink Schoolhouse in Tres Piedras, New Mexico is still old and pink, but on this visit, it appeared to be unoccupied.
The Old Pink Schoolhouse in Tres Piedras, New Mexico is still old and pink, but on this visit, it appeared to be unoccupied.
The U.S. 64 route from Tres Piedras to Chama passes through fantastic scenery, like this view of the Brazos Cliffs.
The U.S. 64 route from Tres Piedras to Chama passes through fantastic scenery, like this view of the Brazos Cliffs.

Arriving in Pagosa Springs, I got Abby and Summer settled in for the night and drove to the heart of the town, the San Juan Riverwalk, in hope of making  a high dynamic range image of the lights and the river.

The San Juan River in Pagosa Springs, Colorado takes on a deep blue-purple hue in this 30-second exposure made right after dusk.
The San Juan River in Pagosa Springs, Colorado takes on a deep blue-purple hue in this 30-second exposure made right after dusk.

It was cold, in the 30s, and I wore my warmest polar fleece pullover, and I was chilly. I took a second look when I saw people in swimsuits down by the water. Soon, however, it occurred to me that all those people were in the water just where the hot springs flow into the river.

There are a lot of ways to interpret a scene like this San Juan Riverwalk in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, including as a multiple-exposure high dynamic range rendition like this one.
There are a lot of ways to interpret a scene like this San Juan Riverwalk in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, including as a multiple-exposure high dynamic range rendition like this one.
The Winding Road
The Winding Road

• Treasure Falls, Wolf Creek Pass, Lobo Overlook, and San Juan Riverwalk

Abby again wanted to relax at the hotel, usually reading, crocheting,  and playing with Summer. She told me to go have some fun.

I drove north from Pagosa Springs, hoping to explore sites in the area of Wolf Creek Pass. I’d driven back from Utah through the pass lots of years ago, and this time I wanted to give myself enough time to explore.

Trees cling to a hillside just outside of Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Trees cling to a hillside just outside of Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
This image of a winding stretch of U.S. 160 was made from the turnout at Treasure Falls.
This image of a winding stretch of U.S. 160 was made from the turnout at Treasure Falls.
Perfect autumn sun shines on aspens along the Treasure Falls trail.
Perfect autumn sun shines on aspens along the Treasure Falls trail.

My first stop was Treasure Falls, which I had only glimpsed the last time I passed through. There is a large, well-marked turnout, and a short trail to the falls, which I found were mostly frozen. I was early enough that I just barely beat the crowds, who were blundering up the trail just as I was coming down.

You host poses at Treasure Falls with the photography help of a nice lady from Texas.
You host poses at Treasure Falls with the photography help of a nice lady from Texas.
A short side trail at Treasure falls cut through beautiful high country woods to an overlook.
A short side trail at Treasure falls cut through beautiful high country woods to an overlook.
Trees near Treasure Falls are set against a perfect autumn sky. Trees near Treasure Falls are set against a perfect autumn sky.
Trees near Treasure Falls are set against a perfect autumn sky.
Aspens and mountains are set against the perfect blue sky near Treasure Falls.
Aspens and mountains are set against the perfect blue sky near Treasure Falls.
Because it was mostly frozen, Treasure Falls didn't make the pictures I thought it might. Still, it was a beautiful scene, and worth visiting.
Because it was mostly frozen, Treasure Falls didn’t make the pictures I thought it might. Still, it was a beautiful scene, and worth visiting.
The road up to Lobo Overlook was snow packed and shoulderless, but it never presented any challenged.
The road up to Lobo Overlook was snow packed and shoulderless, but it never presented any challenged.

I continued toward the pass. I came close to hitting a large buck that leapt into the road right in from of me, but I was climbing and in a 45 MPH speed zone, so we avoided each other.

At Wolf Creek Pass is a three mile road that leads up to Lobo Overlook, which is at 11,731 according to our GPS. The unpaved road had no guardrails, and was packed with snow on the shadow side of the mountain, but it never challenged me or the truck. The view from the top was beautiful, but the midday light was flat, and I only made a few images.

There is a large information kiosk at Wolf Creek Pass. Of note in this image is how the Moment 18mm lens for my iPhone can flare when the sun is just out of the frame.
There is a large information kiosk at Wolf Creek Pass. Of note in this image is how the Moment 18mm lens for my iPhone can flare when the sun is just out of the frame.
This alpine rift was near the top of Lobo Overlook.
This alpine rift was near the top of Lobo Overlook.
I saw plenty of people tracks in the snow at the top of the Lobo Overlook, which is at 11,731 feet according to our GPS.
I saw plenty of people tracks in the snow at the top of the Lobo Overlook, which is at 11,731 feet according to our GPS.
The Lobo Overlook is close to the tree line. This view looks west.
The Lobo Overlook is close to the tree line. This view looks west.
This image from Lobo Overlook shows Wolf Creek Ski Area. When Abby and I go to the mountains, she has to put up with stories of many ski trips years ago.
This image from Lobo Overlook shows Wolf Creek Ski Area. When Abby and I go to the mountains, she has to put up with stories of many ski trips years ago.

Driving back in the direction of Pagosa Springs, I stopped to make several more images of the amazing scenery.

Sunlight streams through a tree on U.S. 160 south of Wolf Creek Pass.
Sunlight streams through a tree on U.S. 160 south of Wolf Creek Pass.
U.S. 160 winds through the Rio Grande National Forest.
U.S. 160 winds through the Rio Grande National Forest.
This is a broader view of the scene in the last image.
This is a broader view of the scene in the last image.
Sunlight bursts through a tree along U.S. 160 south of Wolf Creek Pass.
Sunlight bursts through a tree along U.S. 160 south of Wolf Creek Pass.

I drove back to Pagosa Spring and grabbed a veggie pizza at Mountain Pizza and Tap Room. I took the Riverwalk again, and made a few images of the water, but what really struck me as beautiful was a small, apparently unoccupied, church on the road out of town to the south.

I don't know the story behind this handsome little church just a few blocks south of downtown Pagosa Springs. There were no signs, and the internet wasn't much help. If you look closely, you can see a family of deer in the shade just to the left of the church.
I don’t know the story behind this handsome little church just a few blocks south of downtown Pagosa Springs. There were no signs, and the internet wasn’t much help. If you look closely, you can see a family of deer in the shade just to the left of the church.
This broader overview gives a sense of setting for this small, apparently unoccupied church in Pagosa Springs.
This broader overview gives a sense of setting for this small, apparently unoccupied church in Pagosa Springs.
The Winding Road
The Winding Road

• Pagosa Springs Steam, South through New Mexico, Lunch at Madrid, and the Plaza at Santa Fe after Dark

Driving through Pagosa Springs on the start of our drive to Madrid, we saw a single hot air balloon in a cold, grey sky. Then, as we got to the center of town, I could see that in the cold and stillness, steam coming off the hot spring water made the town look a little bit like it was on fire.

The hot springs on the San Juan Riverwalk fill the air with steam on the cold morning we left Pagosa Spring, Colorado.
The hot springs on the San Juan Riverwalk fill the air with steam on the cold morning we left Pagosa Spring, Colorado.
We stopped a few times as we drove south on U.S. 84 toward Santa Fe. The light and scenery were ideal.
We stopped a few times as we drove south on U.S. 84 toward Santa Fe. The light and scenery were ideal.
It remains a stark contrast in appearance almost immediately when crossing the border from Colorado into New Mexico, as in this desert image made in the Chama Valley of New Mexico.
It remains a stark contrast in appearance almost immediately when crossing the border from Colorado into New Mexico, as in this desert image made in the Chama Valley of New Mexico.
I stop at this bend in the Rio Chama every time I pass through this stretch of U.S. 84 in the Chama Valley, and it never disappoints me.
I stop at this bend in the Rio Chama every time I pass through this stretch of U.S. 84 in the Chama Valley, and it never disappoints me.
Abby and I shared whiskey cake for dessert after our lunch at The Hollar in Madrid, New Mexico.
Abby and I shared whiskey cake for dessert after our lunch at The Hollar in Madrid, New Mexico.

We stopped for lunch in what I would say is Abby’s favorite place in the world to visit, Madrid, New Mexico. Madrid is very dog friendly, and full of art galleries and arts and crafts stores. We fell in love with The Hollar, a mostly outdoor restaurant right in the middle of Madrid, so we have lunch there every time we are in town. I had a veggie burger on a biscuit with sweet potato fries, and Abby had a bowl of potato soup. When the meal was over, neither of us wanted a big dessert, so we shared The Hollar’s legendary whiskey cake.

Abby and I had lunch at The Hollar in Madrid, New Mexico, a town mostly dedicated to arts and crafts, and being pet, especially dog, friendly. We sat in the cool sunshine for over an hour, both of us thinking we might like to live there some day.
Abby and I had lunch at The Hollar in Madrid, New Mexico, a town mostly dedicated to arts and crafts, and being pet, especially dog, friendly. We sat in the cool sunshine for over an hour, both of us thinking we might like to live there some day.
This dog loved to sit in chairs and watch us as we had lunch in Madrid, New Mexico.
This dog loved to sit in chairs and watch us as we had lunch in Madrid, New Mexico.
You'll never see Abby happier than she is holding her dog at The Hollar in Madrid, New Mexico on a cool October afternoon.
You’ll never see Abby happier than she is holding her dog at The Hollar in Madrid, New Mexico on a cool October afternoon.
I spotted this unique "closed" sign on New Mexico 14 north of Madrid.
I spotted this unique “closed” sign on New Mexico 14 north of Madrid.
I spotted this Mariachi band made of steel as I drove to The Plaza in Santa Fe.
I spotted this Mariachi band made of steel as I drove to The Plaza in Santa Fe.

I decided to take another crack at photographing Santa Fe’s historic Plaza at night, this time mostly with my 50mm f/1.4. I shot it at night once before on our tenth anniversary trip, A Perfect Ten. This time, though, I wanted more of a “street photography” feel, and I hope I achieved that.

It was disconcerting to see more than one beggar on The Plaza.

The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
I stepped into a leather store on The Plaza and spotted this beautiful coat I thought would look amazing on Abby. Asking price? $1495.
I stepped into a leather store on The Plaza and spotted this beautiful coat I thought would look amazing on Abby. Asking price? $1495.
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico; The Plaza Café was full, and there was a line around the block to get in.
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico; The Plaza Café was full, and there was a line around the block to get in.
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico; I made a very similar image on a night visit to The Plaza in 2014.
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico; I made a very similar image on a night visit to The Plaza in 2014.
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The historic Plaza at Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Winding Road
The Winding Road

• The Flying Tortilla, Clines Corners, the Plague Town, and Russell’s Truck Plaza

We had an amazing breakfast at Flying Tortilla in Santa Fe, and were so happy to be there.

We came across The Flying Tortilla in Santa Fe by accident a few years ago, and it instantly became a favorite. They serve breakfast and lunch in authentic New Mexican style.
We came across The Flying Tortilla in Santa Fe by accident a few years ago, and it instantly became a favorite. They serve breakfast and lunch in authentic New Mexican style.
I'm not a huge food photographer, but I made this image so I could brag on the breakfast burrito at Santa Fe's Flying Tortilla restaurant. It is made with green chilis and their famous "Flying Potatoes."
I’m not a huge food photographer, but I made this image so I could brag on the breakfast burrito at Santa Fe’s Flying Tortilla restaurant. It is made with green chilis and their famous “Flying Potatoes.”
Abby photographed me at The Flying Tortilla in Santa Fe. The food is great, and the atmosphere is charming. If you eat in New Mexico, you know how to answer the quintessential question, "Red or green?" For me, it's green.
Abby photographed me at The Flying Tortilla in Santa Fe. The food is great, and the atmosphere is charming. If you eat in New Mexico, you know how to answer the quintessential question, “Red or green?” For me, it’s green.

Down the road a bit, we found a few turnouts and landscapes. We also stopped at the former Frontier Museum, which I historically referred to as the “Plague Town,” which has almost entirely been taken back by the desert.

I've been watching this feature, at about exit 284 on Interstate 40 in New Mexico, slowly fall down over the past 20 years.
I’ve been watching this feature, at about exit 284 on Interstate 40 in New Mexico, slowly fall down over the past 20 years.
Once a Pioneer Museum, grill and gas station, this feature has been long abandoned, and has been tagged by @poetrybyboots on at least one occasion.
Once a Pioneer Museum, grill and gas station, this feature has been long abandoned, and has been tagged by @poetrybyboots on at least one occasion.

There were several spray painted poems and sayings on the wall, tagged @poetrybyboots, which I was able to find later on Instagram (link) with a statement saying “I write poetry while traveling, photographing, & putting up my poems in abandoned places. Published author.”

I admit to having a soft spot for the unusual, and for people who express themselves in interesting ways. I also love photographing decaying structures with visual complexity, so this place was particularly appealing to me.
I admit to having a soft spot for the unusual, and for people who express themselves in interesting ways. I also love photographing decaying structures with visual complexity, so this place was particularly appealing to me.
I wonder what this place was like in its heyday, at the peak of Route 66.
I wonder what this place was like in its heyday, at the peak of Route 66.

Abby always wants to stop at Clines Corners and Russell’s Travel Center in New Mexico, where she shops for gifts, and tours Russell’s excellent free car museum.

Abby smiles as she tours the free car museum at Russell's Travel Stop in far eastern New Mexico. Abby loves fast cars, and knows everything about them.
Abby smiles as she tours the free car museum at Russell’s Travel Stop in far eastern New Mexico. Abby loves fast cars, and knows everything about them.
There is a large dining area at Russell's, where, oddly, we have never eaten. Next time we're through, we need to make a point of eating here.
There is a large dining area at Russell’s, where, oddly, we have never eaten. Next time we’re through, we need to make a point of eating here.
The Winding Road
The Winding Road

• Travel notes

I fluidly moved between my Nikon D7100, my Fuji HS30EXR, and my iPhone. For most of the phone images, I used a Moment 18mm (equivalent) attachable lens, which gave me rather stunning results.

Summer the Chihuahua had never been on a trip like this before, and was a little nervous, though as the week progress, she got more comfortable. On a number of occasions on the road, she wanted to be under Abby's chin.
Summer the Chihuahua had never been on a trip like this before, and was a little nervous, though as the week progress, she got more comfortable. On a number of occasions on the road, she wanted to be under Abby’s chin.
Summer the Chihuahua travelled well with us, seldom barking and always friendly with strangers.
Summer the Chihuahua travelled well with us, seldom barking and always friendly with strangers.
On the road, Abby likes an iced coffee drink, while I get tall cups of hot coffee.
On the road, Abby likes an iced coffee drink, while I get tall cups of hot coffee.

The most perishable information ever for us is hotel room numbers. The second we leave, we forget them. We don’t even know the room number from our wedding night.

For a couple of years now, Abby and I have debated about the possibility of traveling with Hawken, our Irish Wolfhound. He is a huge dog, but well-behaved, and we would love to have him along, but in the end, we just didn’t have the room or the patience to deal with a 160-pound dog. For this trip, our generous next door neighbors, the Nipps, took care of him for us.

Interstate 40 is a main cargo route for America. As you can see in this image of a traffic jam in the opposite direction, most of the vehicles are box trucks.
Interstate 40 is a main cargo route for America. As you can see in this image of a traffic jam in the opposite direction, most of the vehicles are box trucks.
I drew this in frost on the bed cover of our truck the morning we left Santa Fe.
I drew this in frost on the bed cover of our truck the morning we left Santa Fe.
The locking, roll-away bed cover on our Nissan Frontier pickup makes the bed into a huge trunk.
The locking, roll-away bed cover on our Nissan Frontier pickup makes the bed into a huge trunk.

Abby and I travel well in our Nissan Frontier pickup, using the bed, which has a rolling, locking cover, as a giant trunk.

We drove about 2250 miles.

The Frontier averaged exactly 20 miles per gallon on this trip.

Our Nissan Frontier LE 4X4 Crew Cab pickup sits at a turnout near Wolf Creek Pass.
Our Nissan Frontier LE 4X4 Crew Cab pickup sits at a turnout near Wolf Creek Pass.

Our Nissan Frontier LE 4X4 Crew Cab pickup not only has a romantic model name, it seems to be absolutely right for us on these trips. It is roomy, quiet, small, comfortable, and has excellent off-road capability.

This was probably the strongest image I created on The Plaza, and quite possibly my favorite image from this trip.
This was probably the strongest image I created on The Plaza, and quite possibly my favorite image from this trip.