Move over Mountains

I made it to Arizona! Took the scenic route to get here too. This is a trip to see people and places, the interstate doesn’t really encourage that. So I looked at a map, picked a road and went for it. Saw some great things too!

I wanted to get an early start out of Ruidoso, but I didn’t of course. After waking up and getting the cabin clean I left town a little after 8 am. Not super late but as it turns out leaving at 6 or 7 would have been much better. So I headed north out of town and the mountains. It was a pretty drive down the mountains and got to see some awesome evidence of the past volcanic activity in the area at the Valley of Fires.

Once I got up to Socorro I realized the Very Large Array was right on my route so I decided to stop and check it out. Turned out to be a very cool stop. One of my favorite movies as a kid was Contact which was filmed and based around this radio telescope array. It’s not the most visitor friendly place but I appreciated seeing it and learning more about it. Driving up on it I thought, “man, this isnt “very large” like the name suggests”. But I soon realized its configurable based on what they need to resolve. It was in its closest configuration, D, so they can study the overall structure of the source they are observing. This let me get some very cool pictures and video showing their synchronized movement.

After I got back on the road I stop in Pie Town to grab some lunch, and yes pie. Great little place to stop and interesting because it was right on the continental divide. They say everything is downhill from there, but it didn’t seem that way lol.

Then I trucked the longest section of this drive all the way to Payson, AZ. I was possibly going to visit an old family friend there but it didn’t work out so I had to continue on to Skull Valley. I didn’t like doing this because it was getting dark but I didn’t have much choice, just glad I didn’t see any elk! I arrived at my family’s place around 7:30 pm. Total miles 530 miles, it took 9.5 hrs driving and about 11 hrs total. Surprisingly Bing Maps was right on while Google was way off predicting it would take 13 hrs! It was a very pretty drive, but remote in many places and almost no cell signal the whole way, so keep that in mind if you take this route.

View Journey West 2 in a larger map

Route Elevation Changes