The American Road Trip • Part III

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salt missions trailWE BEGIN WHERE IT ENDS  The GMC Sierra rolls eastward.  A 4:40am start is fortuitous.  Choosing US-60E out of Phoenix, our sky offers a dazzling dome of stars and a planet or two one usually misses.

An hour later, the sky is nearly as black as when we start.  Directly overhead, dominating the heavens is one huge bright planet.  Later I learn it was probably Jupiter. Thus protected by the God of Travel, we set our destination to Amarillo, with a pit stop in Socorro NM.

US 60 is the right road to see the Southwest.  Through multiple National Forest – Tonto, Apache, Sitgreaves, Gila, Cibola, through Reservations, we travel some of the last undeveloped land in America. 

pinto creek bridge 1955Socorro has arrived.  At the corner of I-25 and US-60, this collection of artists is also a nifty college town, home of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Resting in a cavernous, bare coffee and sandwich shop, I notice no radio, CDs, or TV.  The exhaust fan hummed along with muted voices.  Excellent coffee.  A piano and guitar in the corner.  Balancing my mug on a couch arm, I retrieve the guitar and tried a few chords.  Wow, these folks are easy to please!  A few start dancing to the New Orleans funky butt strut I strum.  Hey, this is nice!

After a bit Foxcatcher is rescued from the truck, allowed to thaw, then given a try.  And who’d a thunk it!  A fiddle, penny whistle, and accordion join my mandolin within the hour.  I was in the thick of it, all right!  This is living in Socorro.  The road, however, beckons.  Celtic music follows me out the door, back to a 25˚ New Mexico winter.

East of Socorro, enormous views continue.  Near zero traffic.  A great place to reflect while enjoying beautiful country.  On one pull-over along a 15 mile straight-away, its absolute silence was profound.  Be sure to carry whatever you may need for 24 hours in case of break-down!  

We fold our map and succumb to I-40E as the sun nestles her head among pillows of distant hill.  We didn’t make it quite to Amarillo, despite an early start.  Slowed by slush in Arizona, music in New Mexico.  Next time we’ll do the trip in two days, and overnight in Socorro.  Right on the Old Town Square!


One thought on “The American Road Trip • Part III

    American Toolbox responded:
    March 3, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Found this link to Socorro and and Central New Mexico Musical Events . . .

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