Published: March 30th 2009March 30th 2009
As we drove from Dallas to Amarillo along Route 66, everything was exactly as I imagined it would be. The road was long, straight and quiet, passing by cattle ranches, oil derricks and dusty green crop fields. The 'middle-of-nowhere', 'nothing-ever-happens-here' towns we drove through were very Deliverance-esque; there may have been no porch sitting banjo players, but that was simply because there was literally nobody around. At one point, to my great excitement, our car even got hit by tumbleweed; we are definitely in cowboy country! And, as is tradition on an American roadtrip, we got to see one example of a roadside "world's largest" - a huge white cross in the middle of a field. The sign promised spiritual enlightenment, which is exactly why we took our photographs from the car and kept on driving.
By the time we reached Amarillo, the sky was clear and the temperature was so high that the road was shimmering before us. This is why it surprised us so much when we opened the curtains the next morning and we were in the middle of the worst blizzard I have ever witnessed. The snow was deep and still falling, and the winds were
torrential. On the TV, they were telling everyone to stay inside, and we were more than happy to obey; to the north of us, there was apparently foot upon foot of snow, and to the south, tornadoes were popping up all over the place. Needless to say, we didn't see much of Amarillo, other than the stormy view from the motel window. Who would have thought there would be a snow storm in Texas, in Spring? Not me, which is why I had foolishly left my thermal baselayers in Peru, and packed my gloves and fleece at the bottom of my backpack. Well, I had to dig them out again!
Fortunately, by the next morning the sky had cleared and the sun had returned, so we clambered back into the car and began the journey across the state line into New Mexico. The landscape became much more desert-like, with rocky orange canyons and sand covered shrubbery. By the afternoon, we had reached Roswell, where everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - is themed around aliens, from the street lamps to the bottled water. We went around the UFO Museum and Research Centre, where alien crash landings and government conspiracies
are taken scarily seriously, with photographs, newspaper articles, replica spacecraft debris, etc. We even heard one woman talking to a news crew about how "they are here"...
This morning, before the heat got too much, we drove out of Roswell to the Bottomless Lakes State Park, where deep blue and green lakes sit clustered between orange and red cliff faces. We did a little hiking, but the many signs warning us of rattlesnakes - not to mention the twisting snake trails left in the sand and gravel - made me a little paranoid, so we stuck mainly to the roads rather than the trails. The views really were worth it though; the landscape is so harsh and rugged, but the vivid colours make it beautiful and a little otherworldly. However, the temperature was rapidly increasing (apparently there were highs of 42 degrees), so after a couple of hours, we returned to Roswell and took advantage of the motel swimming pool :)
And tomorrow the road trip continues!
There are more photos below