Joined: Jun 2004
Location: Sometimes in Hillsburrito
Phoenix to Las Cruces
After a hard week at work , it was time to hit the road again . On a beautiful Friday just before noon, I get on the bike and continue the trip south. It's warm enough to only wear a long sleeve shirt under the 'Stich. After the previous days' ride getting to Phoenix, I have a hard time believing I wont be cold, but as the miles accumulate, it seems I made the right decision. Welcome to the southwest.
Traffic south of Phoenix on I-10 is incredibly heavy. I am guessing it's not moving at more than 55 and sometimes even slower. A bad combination of 18 wheelers and paisanos making their way south and blocking traffic from making progress. "Paisanos" is what Mexicans call the Mexican ex-pats returning to visit (and most typically go back for the holidays). You often see then caravaning, 2-5 cars/trucks heavily loaded, bringing back everything and the kitchen sink.
Back to the paisanos. For reasons I don’t fully understand , they tend to drive in tight formations (no one ever heard of safe following distances here), typically well under the speed limit (on I-10 in AZ where the speed limit is 75 - and effective speed is actually quite a bit higher than that - these caravans were going about 55) and unfortunately, almost always in the left lane. Now imagine one of these caravans trying to pass an 18 wheeler going, oh, 1 MPH slower then they are. No wonder traffic wasn’t moving going south. But, if you drive as if you were in a RHD country, there is always a passing lane available.
I finally manage to find some clear road and start making progress. It's a still a beautiful day, and I can't help but enjoy the ride. When I stop to get gas in Benson, AZ, the road to Tombstone is calling my name. Never been to Tombstone, this is the day to go check it out. The road is OK, I was hoping for a bit more entertainment, but certainly better than an interstate.
Tombstone was a bit of a disappointment (Wyatt Earp wasn’t there to greet me ). Maybe I wasn't in the mood for a tourist trap today.
Not much trading going on today:
It's not obvious from the picture, but these two gents were ready for a gunfight of their own...
Bird out of the cage :
I continue on to Bisbee, the road will take me over Mule Pass. Finally some curves.
Curves? Not yet:
...like the deserts miss the rain...
Not quite as steep or twisty as I expected:
Unfortunately, they decided to put a tunnel instead of going over the mountain, so the curves didn't last long.
You go through the tunnel and you are in the great metropolis of Bisbee, AZ. Bisbee is also the name of a huge copper mine on the east end of town, you can see much of the open pit mine as you drive AZ-80 towards Douglas. Douglas is a border town, and if you weren’t paying attention, you couldn’t tell when you are downtown on which side of the border you were . I followed the main downtown street all the way to the border. It's strange, you run into a dead end and a fence, but the street seems to continue on the other side of the fence. Only the Border Patrol truck parked by the fence clues you in to the fact that this is an international border.
After that short detour, I got back on the highway and started making time. I calculated that I could have made the whole loop from Benson back to Lordsburg, NM on a single tank, but as I was making my way NE from Douglas I started second guessing my estimate. Not sure why, but I decided to stop and fill up before I got back on I-10. I found gas in Rodeo, NM.
Rodeo, NM. Yes, this is IT:
A few miles after Rodeo I see a sign for New Mexico Hwy 9. NM-9 runs more or less parallel to the border, and it’s a shortcut to Deming, NM. I figured there would be almost no traffic, so it’s probably as fast as using I-10. Turned out to be much faster and it had some nice curvy sections (everything is relative) for entertainment value.
NM highway 9:
As I was getting to Deming, the sun was disappearing fast and the temperatures dropping even faster. It was getting really cold really fast . I went from thin long-sleeve shirt to long-sleeve shirt, heated jacket, fleece and Heat-Troller cranked way up in one gas stop. Welcome to the SW. Hey, at least it wasn't raining.
Which reminds me. Yes, I spent most of the day singing - and I miss you, like the deserts miss the rain...
Gustavo screwed with this post 01-21-2007 at 06:26 PM