Road trip photos: June 17
I crossed most of New Mexico and Arizona on Thursday, June 17, going from Tucumcari in the northeast all the way down to west of Phoenix.
I remember this as a day the road surprised me a few times.
First, despite the fact that I’d planned my route in advance and knew this was going to be a long haul – 630+ miles, give or take – I was unprepared for the vastness of the land and the idea that I could spend so much time and cover so much highway and still have only covered ground in two states. I mean, I’ve spent years doing the Ohio-to-Florida route, so time on the road wasn’t a new thing to me – but going 640 miles south from Canton, you cover territory in five states and get damn close to number six. Even earlier this year, I did roughly the same distance when I drove to Rhode Island for PAX East.
This just felt like a much longer drive through much more alien territory. Don’t get me wrong: I loved it, but man, the scale of everything and the distance between populated places was almost overwhelming at times.
I remember being somewhat startled by Interstate 40’s dramatic descent into Albuquerque, because from the east, you climb into the hills so gradually you hardly notice, and then BAM! things open up and the city is far below and the desert is just spread out to the horizon.
Near Flagstaff, several hours later, more mountains and another surprise juxtaposition: this one the sight of distant snow even as the sun baked my windshield three days shy of the first day of summer.
And then the drive south to Phoenix, which covered all three of Arizona’s geographical zones, starting on the Colorado Plateau, down through the Transition Zone, and finally into the Basin and Range. Pine forests and saguaro cactus and canyons and valleys and mountain range after mountain range. Despite being pretty well exhausted by this point in the day, I really enjoyed this stretch of highway.
Check out the day’s worth of photos here.