Good evening from Tucson, AZ! After 900+ miles and 13 hours on the road we made it all the way from Parker, CO.
The morning started very early with a 5:30 AM wake-up. We ran around and made sure we had everything all set and packed for the trip. Schmom had made us the best wraps for the road and we made some ice lattes as well. B-rad took Schmom to the airport so she could make her flight to Tucson and Mackenzie and I did our 35 point inspection of the truck, trailer and car (thanks again to Pops Wildman). We needed some air for one of the trailer tires so we stopped close by and filled it up. We were hoping to grab breakfast sandwiches from the convenience store but it wasn’t open. Mackenzie was, however, offered a raspberry danish from a very kind old man who was also waiting for the store to open. She politely declined and we started our trip south.
I almost forgot to mention that we had another guest in our truck for the trip, Bandit!
Bandit did pretty well, but he is a much better flyer than he is a roadtripper. We hit some high winds, crazy rains, lightning strikes and some truly spectacular views. Apparently Penske roofs are very flimsy as high wind gusts dented the roof in and out a number of times. The first time it scared all three of us and we pulled over to a rest stop shortly down the road to see what we had hit. We quickly figured it out and then only one of us was scared every subsequent time it happened (I’ll let you guess who).
The big Penske truck made it up the Raton pass, although it did struggle a bit. We had the pedal floored and we were dropping in speed from 70 to 60 to 50 and finally to 40 where we had to throw our flashers on and practically yell to hear each other over the screaming engine. Needless to say we all breathed a sigh of relief when we reached the top and crossed the border into New Mexico. I was surprised by how green New Mexico looked, they must be getting all the rain that California needs! The rain storms we drove through were quick but severe. We could see that we were going to be driving into them from miles away and then minutes before we hit the storm, we could smell the moisture in the air. The plains were gorgeous and the line about “where the deer and the antelope play” makes a whole lot more sense now. We saw a bunch of lightning strikes close by in the plains and wondered a bit if the cows in those plains ever got struck. There isn’t much taller than they are in those fields.
We got off the highway in Hatch, NM home to the famous Hatch chilis. You could smell the chilis roasting immediately after you got off the highway. We stopped at a McDonalds a bit down the road for dinner and to wait for B-rad who had been playing catch-up all day. I went in to order. A double cheeseburger with no pickle for me, chicken nuggets for Mackenzie and B-rad, and then like a beacon shining on the menu read “Green Chili Double Cheeseburger”. Could this be real? Was this an illusion? I quickly asked if I could add that to my order. The McDonalds attendant said of course and I waited anxiously to show my spoils to Mackenzie. The burger was everything we had expected and we enjoyed every bite. B-rad joined us shortly after it was finished (that was no coincidence) and we proceeded on the final leg of the journey.