Rolling thru Amerika on 18 wheels. Volume II - 2014 Yuma, Arizona to New Mexico.
Just went through border patrol in Yuma, Arizona. Stopped at Love'sTruck Stop and got some pretty decent coffee. Now we're cruising through some really beautiful territory in Dome Valley. We just passed through an area called "Coyote Wash."
Mr. J.S. is re-living his casino experience last night. We're plotting out the next stopover. No casinos tonight as they are all up on I-40. We are on I-8- which meanders alongside the Mexican border, which is border less here (no fence). I'm sure there are drones taking care of business here...
We should make it to the Texas border tonight. We have all day to pass through Arizona and New Mexico, and the scenery is very easy on there eyes. Gazing out my window I see homesteads intermixed with PaloVerde, Ironwood and KiaweTrees with a smattering of Ocotillo cactus, which the Native Americans here used for medicine (the entire scene is one big medicine cabinet for them I imagine).
The houses, so far, all seem to be single-story "California Ranch" style houses. I haven't seen any Adobe style houses here in these parts yet. The yards are typically barren. Maybe a few scrubby- looking trees, some purple or white Sage bushes, etc. Many cars, in various stages of decay, line the 'compound'. It's so interesting to witness these little slices of life (I call them 'scenes') while driving through. A snapshot of existence.
Just passed Dateland, Arizona. It's a little pitstop of a place with an oasis of Date Palm Trees- Duh...
Heading for Phoenix, but first need to go through pass over the Superstition Mountains. It's 8:30 am and the 2-lane highway is quiet. The sky is dramatic with clouds hovering around the mountains. I love the names here: Sand Tank Wash we just passed. Very descriptive. Butterfield Trail- wonder who Butterfield was... Gila Bend now so I'm thinking the area is known for Gila Monsters :)
Just passed through a forest of Cholla ("Teddy Bear") cactus. Apparently they 'hug' you when you pass by too close and their thorns stick on you... All these cacti here look deadly honestly. I'm going to look up Apache and Commanche Indians to see what lore/oral histories there are with them using cacti.
Just saw a tree loaded down with Mistletoe. I've never seen so much on a tree before. Now a forest of Saguaro Cacti. So cool looking. They are so stout and tall, rising above the low scrub brush desert flooring.
Just passed a border control (Mexico) truck at an Arroyo (Wadi). The "Coyotes" (smugglers) bring in the illegals through these areas so the border patrol agents hang out in the wadis (lower elevation) and then pounce on them- I guess.
We have about 35 more miles to go until Casa Grande, Arizona - where we'll stop and grab some breakfast. Smooth morning on the road :)
Just passed through the Papago Indian Reservation. From the road all I could see were mobile homes. Their homesteads just be well camouflaged. I see a fair bit of mobile homes, piles of old tires, rusty tractors, shipping containers, etc.
Arizona is an "open-carry" state meaning that ordinary citizens can carry pistols, or any type of guns. I guess there are many dangers her: rattlesnakes, bandits, etc... I think I might possibly freak out to walk into a store and see someone toting a rifle... Maybe not though. I might also think it was kinda hot...
Okay relief in sight. I have spotted the Petro truck stop- which means BATHROOM :). We'll have breakfast at The Iron Skillet... Oh the life of a truck driver. It doesn't seem so healthy: sitting down all day, driving for 11 hours a day, fast food at truck stops, etc., but you can make it healthy actually. Mr. J.S. certainly does- most of the time :)
Santa Rosa Wash ( a "wash" is a dried-up riverbed) had a little trickle of water coming through. The landforms here in the Sonoran Desert is beautiful. This area gets a monsoon season actually. Out in the distance is Picacho Peak - which is a famous Tuscon, Arizona landmark. It's on the I-10.
The deserts here in America are "living" deserts meaning that there is all sorts of animal life, trees, cacti, etc. You could survive here for a while, as opposed to "real" deserts like in the Middle East. You can find shade here. You can cut open cactus and get gallons of water. You can catch small animals and eat them. Birds are cruising. Flowers are sprouting from cacti, etc. Of course I'm sure the Bedouin can survive in Middle Eastern/North African deserts too. I obviously don't have an eye for how to survive in those deserts as all I've ever seen was sand in them...
I'm having a traditional southern breakfast I guess with eggs over biscuits and gravy. Why not? Funny to see Mr. J. S. purchase a newspaper and proceed to read over it over breakfast. So old-fashioned in my mind I guess. Perhaps it's that newspapers where I live are generally in Arabic, and I don't go out to eat breakfast much...
A lone Zopelote (vulture) in the sky against the backdrop of Picacho Peak.
Entering West Tuscon, Arizona now.
Texas Canyon rest stop has these really cool balancing rocks - some are HUGE and just seem to defy gravity. Ah, America the beautiful. As we head out of east Arizona and get closer to the New Mexico border, the air is drier and the scenery more dramatic in terms of contrast of desert scrublands and intense blue sky with large, puffy white cotton-ball clouds. Chiracahua national monument is coming up. The Chiracahua are an Apache tribe. They were feared, fierce warriors.
Chief Cochise was their last great fighter. His hideout is somewhere in these mountains (Chiracahua Mountains?). Looks like Mexico is getting a thunderstorm over to the east now. Damn, the cloud formations here are amazing. Big, puffy 'thunderhead' clouds leave huge swaths of shade spots on the ground and the contrast is to interesting to take notice of: hot, dry, sunny land masses broken up with clouds casting soothing shadows
New word I learned: "Lot Lizards"
Lot Lizards (I'm obviously thinking a derogatory word here) are hookers that frequent the truck stops. They go up to the trucks at night and knock on the doors to see if the dudes need any 'comfort.' Must be interesting when they knock on the female truckers doors... There are a lot of single, female truckers I've seen out on the road the past few days. Also there are a lot of couples that live the trucker life. Two people mean 2 incomes and 22 hours a day of driving time- if they wish. Little dogs are also frequent co-pilots in the cab.
I don't know what Johnny does when driving alone. I mean, he talks a lot! He IS storyteller. He knows all the secrets that these mountains hold. All this information that I'm relating to you guys, it's all from him.
Century plants line the highway in these parts. Some of their white flowers are towering over the desert scrub brush. The colors of the land here are beautiful. It's a gradation of beiges, reds, pinks, browns, etc. The greens are super electric and vibrant. It's like a hallucination so beautiful and alive when you get a glimpse of them. Railroad lines absolutely litter the scenery everywhere. Picturesque trains chug along all day and night. The American flag is always in the caboose, and the individual boxcars are full of unique graffiti.
Dust Devils are whipping up right now. We are near the New Mexico area. Now a grove of Pecan trees. They sure look luscious against this rocky landscape. On the other side of the highway are Pistachio trees.
2014: rolling thru Amerika on 18 wheels. New Mexico to Texas.
New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. Upon entering the state, you see the sign and there are a pair of red and green chili peppers on the sign- enchanting, right? The white, puffy clouds seem so heavy, like they are falling down to the ground underneath their weight. Many different layers of cloud formations too. It's 2 pm and it's hot.
Here we are in El Paso, Texas at the Petro Truck Stop. The famous Rio Grande river runs the distance and separates Mexico from the US here at El Paso, and the entire length of the Texas/Mexico border.
Time for a shower, dinner and sleep. I think I'm catching a cold.