Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

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A long, straight four-lane stretch of Hwy 285 in New Mexico Today was pretty eventless and mainly consisted of time spent in the car. I left Roswell around 9pm, and headed north on Highway 285. It would be a few hours' driving to Santa Fe, and the landscape didn't change much on the way... The road is a four-lane divided highway most of the way and you can drive 70 MPH... which gets you through the desolate landscape at a pretty decent pace. Every once in a while, there was a small town with at least half its buildings abandoned.

There were very heavy winds, which made driving pretty tiresome. Thankfully, I was spared of a massive sandstorm, but I drove through several places where gusts of wind were creating small "walls" of sand where visibility was pretty low.

I arrived in Santa Fe around lunchtime, and since I didn't particularly want to drive around, I just stopped at the first Burger King I could find. The weather was downright unpleasant, with very sharp winds, cold temperatures and huge grey clouds threatening rain, or perhaps even snow in higher elevations. Therefore, I opted not to head North for Bandelier NM, and instead took I-25 South to Albuquerque.

After being stuck on the Interstate for a while due to a traffic accident, I moved further south towards I-40, sometimes employing the classic Route 66 instead of the Interstate, but Route 66 left me relatively non-thrilled.

Lost track in Albuquerque after a road block, but found my way back onto I-40 pretty fast again. I still ventured on parts of the old Route 66, but once again wasn't too impressed.

Route 66 traffic used to drive over Rio Puerto Bridge, but has since been moved to a more modern (and blander) structure just next to it Somehow, I don't feel a particular interest to photograph abandoned houses or whatever, since there isn't even any way to tell whether they are classic Route 66 buildings, or just random old houses. That being said, there's the issue of not wanting to trespass on what sometimes is a hard to guess difference between abandoned houses and ones that are still inhabited. Furthermore, with typical speeds of 45 to 70 MPH, it's pretty hard to stop, or even take a second look.

I arrived in Grants before sunset, but decided that I had enough... So I just checked in at the Franciscan Lodge. For $20.25, this is the best budget motel I've slept in. Had a short chat with the motel owner, after an issue with the heater/pilot light (I hadn't noticed there was a thermostat around the corner, and tried in vain to set the heat on the heater itself.)

I ended the day watching not one, not two, but three movies on HBO.

Miles driven: 357mi (575km)

Motel/Hotel Accommodation: Franciscan Lodge (Grants, NM): $20.25

Written around 7:35 in Grants, NM.