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I'm Chels. I blog about science, art, tennis, and my adventures in journalism. Officially, I'm a Science Writer at Brookhaven National Lab and I blog for them, too. Unofficially, I'm pretty awesome.

Or, you know, owsome.

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Posts tagged new mexico

When I hit Fort Sumner, New Mexico, I’d been driving for 9 hours and I just had to stop the car and stand up for a minute. I saw a sign for Billy the Kid’s grave and I thought, “Yesssssssssss.” I knew nothing about the grave being stolen so many times, but okay, cool. I think it’s sort of hilarious how it’s locked down now. Also, it’s in the weirdest cemetery I’ve ever been to. It was a nearly empty lot with just two or three other graves and then in this big cage in the middle, there’s Billy the Kid’s grave. I did think it was really sort of sweet that there’s a second grave stone for him and his two friends entitled “Pals”. 

Trip Log, Day 5

Oof. Today was a long, long day. I knew it would be. I planned it this way. But somehow, 10 hours of driving sounded like a lot less when I was planning the trip. It was also a rough drive. There were thunder and lightning storms and lots of rain and construction, so I couldn’t just mindlessly cruise on down the road. And I declared it “No Shenanigans Day” so I could get to Clovis before dark, which meant very little stopping for fun distractions. (I broke that rule late in the day, of course.)

So now, I’m in Clovis, New Mexico. Listen up, Internet: if you ever find yourself traveling through New Mexico, let me give you some advice on stopping in Clovis. First of all, don’t. The entire town smells like manure and it’s kind of scary here. But if for some reason you can’t avoid stopping here, DO NOT by any means get off the main highway and drive through town. Tonight, it was pouring rain and lightning was flashing everywhere, and I just happened to drive through the pawn shop area of town, which wasn’t lovely, let’s be honest. And then I turned down Main Street and it was seriously exactly like the town in The Wonders, but run down. There was an old appliance store (who has dedicated appliance stores anymore?!?) and a place that’s actually called the “Main Street Barber Shop” and everything looked like it was built 50 years ago and then forgotten.

Anyway, the hotel is fine. Part of me misses doing the Airbnb thing because it’s so fun to meet new people and it makes me feel safe to be staying with a family, but it’s also nice that I don’t have to make small talk and I can just blog and watch Bravo and go to sleep. In fact, they upgraded me to a suite, so I have this crazy big room with a living area and kitchen and a jacuzzi tub. I’d plan some sort of party, but everyone in this town seems to be a 58-year-old man. Seriously. I have not seen one woman since I got in.

Okay, so here are my snapshots from the day: 

  • The lightning storms were crazy today and I saw something I’ve never seen. When I hit the New Mexico border, there were these weirdly isolated electrical storms coming out of localized dark grey clouds, but the rest of the sky was bright blue with fluffy clouds. So I saw a lot of lightning flashing in front of blue sky, which was a totally strange phenomenon. 
  • Driving out of the Grand Canyon this morning was beautiful. The highway down toward Flagstaff is lined in Black-Eyed Susans and with the hills in the background, I felt like Heidi in the Alps or something. 

Stats from the day:

Cool thing I passed: The Continental Divide

Number of Grain Elevators I Passed: 11

Best Road Sign of the Day: This is a tough one today. There are 2 solid contenders.

  1. "No Unloading of Livestock." This was at the first rest stop in New Mexico, and honestly, the only reason it’s a contender for “best sign” is because I really, really want to know what kind of situation made this sign necessary. Did someone just let their cows out in the Pet Area for a little fresh air? God, I hope so.
  2. "Zero Visibility Possible." When I saw this, I actually said out loud, “Really?? ZERO visibility?!” The sign wasn’t lit, so I assume they mean this is possible during the day, which to me suggests that Armageddon will happen somewhere on the interstate in New Mexico. Good to know.

Body Count: It’s five days in to the trip and I’m a little worse for the wear. I have a crick in my neck from sleeping on so many new beds, bruises on my legs from riding horses, a scab on my finger from where the reins rubbed my skin off, a dozen bug bites from Moab, and sunburn from Arizona. What I’m saying is, I’m getting too old for this. 

Days Left to Go: 6