Saturday, January 8, 2011

Speaking of Slow Travel

Carol and I did a road trip February 2010 from Missouri through New Mexico. We wanted sunshine and warmth, not cold and snow, so once we hit Amarillo, TX, we swerved far south of Interstate 40 and stayed there.

Butterfield Trail Rest Area, NM
Our route included Canyon, TX; Carlsbad, NM; Alamogordo, NM; Salt Flats, TX; Silver City, NM; and Truth and Consequences, NM.

One of the slow-travelingest places was the Butterfield Trail Rest Area en route to Silver City. Here's what I wrote about it then:

Stopped at the Butterfield Trail Rest Area on Highway 180, about 1/2 an hour south of Silver City. This rest area is in a desolate place, but you could tell as soon as you drove onto the grounds that someone takes pride - even love - in caring for this rest area. Someone had created a walking path on the area's perimeter, outlined in stones painted white. Along the way chunks of prickly pear (red this time of year) stuck into the ground to start new growth. There were painstakingly-groomed shrubs, and small tableaus of artfully arranged desert specimens, such as ocotillo, prickly pear and agave. Some of the shrubs were shaped into topiary-like forms. Actually, I was so taken with the personal stamp on this rest area that I sought out "the guy" who was present on the site. He was in a truck with another person. His story:
Name is Jo Jo. He's worked at this rest area for 9 1/2 years; he requested this stop after serving at a rest area on I-10 for a number of years. And it's taken 9 1/2 years to get the rest area to its current point, and he still has numerous plans for improvement. To make it more beautiful. A Deming, NM, native, he's a self-identified loner who hunts rattlesnakes in the summer (and makes various items for sale from them), hunts in the nearby mountains on weekends, and raises king and bull snakes for sale. He releases one of his bull snakes at the rest area periodically to keep down the rodent population and to squeeze out rattlesnakes. He had quite a few stories to tell us.

Cafe at Salt Flats, TX

Here's another slow-travel sorta place. The Salt Flats Cafe, in Salt Flats, TX.  Besides me, Carol, and the cafe owner, there was just the cat climbing on the roof. 
At Riverbend Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences, NM

What could be slower travel than watching the Rio Grande flow by while you're soaking in hot springs?  

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