Skipping forward a few months and major changes in my life. I ended up getting a divorce, selling our house and quitting my job to move to Denver to help my Dad.
With all the changes I needed some time to think, regroup and map out the next steps. What better thing to do than get away from the snow and cold and spend some time in the desert in western AZ. One of my desert trip buddies is retired now and agreed with my logic, we need some time out west. His girlfriend Jenn came along as did my trusty pooch Storm with me.
We took off from Bill's house in the dark hoping to be in NM before the sun came up. It was a race against the sun. We were north of Trinidad when I shot this one.
Cutting it close the sun was creeping up over Raton pass as we climbed to the summit.
The pooch needed to stretch her legs so we pulled over at rest area. Bill's got a great setup for him with a really rare regular cab 8 foot box Power Wagon. Insulated topper, comfy bed inside and all the other things one needs.
Our plan was to take a lesser path into AZ by avoiding I-40. We blitzed through Albuquerque and hit US-60 south of there to head west. We wanted to check out the Very Large Array radio telescope and stop in Pie Town for a slice.
Unfortunately, the Array visitors center was closed for the season. So we stopped to see the size on the way back to the highway.
Pie town ended up being a bust. One of the two restaurants was closed and the one that was open was out of pie by 3:00 in the afternoon.
Continuing our race against the sun we hauled down US-60. The winds across the higher elevation plains were heavy. We crossed into AZ and kept rolling downhill. Alas, we lost the race with the sun to be parked before it went down. We saw the sun set on the road almost an hour before we stopped.
Bill had a patch of BLM land scoped out that we hit in the dark and set up camp quickly. It was in the high 50's vs freezing at home. We ate some sandwiches for dinner, had a beer or two and turned in.
Not a bad spot for getting there in the dark. However, it turned out to be prime parking for snowbirds who tow in side by side OHV's to go play in the dirt. We bugged out quick to avoid getting boxed in.
The drive across Phoenix sucked even off rush hour. Our target was Camp Bouse, an WW2 era tank training facility. Our last fill up prior to hitting dirt. (pricing was high to us, but it was a full week before the invasion of Ukraine)
Gotta love when you finally see a sign like this. Fun begins..