I hadn’t been wandering in a very, very, very long time, when, at the age of 63, I got my inheritance, quit my job, and filed for divorce, all in the same week. Perhaps there’s a madness to it, and it certainly can look that way to those on the outside looking in; to those affected by it. But I also know that Aspie’s sometimes just have to get away from everything. As do Explorers, I suppose.
It wasn’t the first job I walked away from and it was my second divorce. And I find myself feeling mentally freed. I look with optimism at the plans I make, knowing full well that I will change them. As I have at least once this week already.
I have a grand plan, at least for the next 5 or 6 weeks or so. And then things get a little hazy, but I have options in my mind. I will leave on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 and head for Big Bend National Park. About 3 weeks there, then I go to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, and White Sands.
I decided that while I am Big Bend, aside from the hiking, I will make the little trip across the Rio Grande into Mexico. I decided that as long as the water is not too deep, I will wade across rather than take a boat that one of the Mexican locals will offer. I decided this because, well, how many people do you know who have waded across an international border?
I will, however, pay for a burro ride from the river into Boquillas, Mexico. Why? Because I’ve never ridden a burro, and I will have fun doing so!
My ex-wife just called me, "You Crazy Genius," which reminded me of some quotes about genius:
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.”
I had originally intended to begin my trip on Tuesday, February 11th, 2020. But I was waiting for my new prescription photo brown glasses to arrive and they didn't arrive on Monday the 10th. So I waited for them and I got them on Tuesday the 11th. Thus I left early on Wednesday the 12th in the dark in a snowstorm. The first hour was very bad driving - I could barely do 50 mph. By noon I had reached the rest area just before you get into Idaho, located in Lima, Montana and there was beautiful sunshine. I was rewarded with the following view:
View from the rest area at Lima, Montana, about noon on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
This trip did not go as planned at all, but it certainly qualifies as a wandering. Perhaps even an adventure. The remainder of my first day of driving was pretty uneventful. The rush hour traffic in Utah's central valley, roughly Ogden to Provo was pretty crazy. Being sleepy didn't help. Road construction didn't help. I think I pulled over somewhere along the line and took a short nap. I ended the day in Green River, Utah:
Thursday, February 13, 2020.
I started my day quite early as I had yet another night of poor sleep. I filled up my gas tank and I was on my way before 6 AM. I hadn't been driving long when the first rays of sunlight started to appear on the horizon. I stopped just north of Moab, Utah, and took this picture that looks out over Arches National Park:
Other than stopping for a few more naps during the rest of this day, it was pretty uneventful. I stopped at Costco in Albuquerque where the line was too long to take the time to fill my gas tank. I looked at their hard alcohol section and found some interesting items, but nothing to buy. I then went to the Total Wine and More on the north side of Albuquerque. I didn't stay long as I was anxious to get on my way. I knew that I was not going to make it to Carlsbad, New Mexico that night, where I had a hotel reservation. I did notice that the Total Wine had some Sotol, something I have been wanting to try. Sotol is a distilled spirit of Mexican origin sourced from Dasylirion texanum, Asparagaceae, and Dasylirion wheeleri (commonly known as Desert Spoon or, in Spanish, sotol), a plant that grows in northern Mexico, New Mexico, West Texas, and the Texas Hill Country. Sotol liquor is a Mexican drink that is known as the state drink of Chihuahua, Durango, and Coahuila and is also currently produced in Central Texas. There are few commercial examples available. It is produced in a manner similar to the more common artisanal mezcals of central Mexico (Taken From Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sotol). I ended the day in Roswell, New Mexico:
Friday, February 14th 2020.
I stamped my passport book for Big Bend and headed north towards Marathon, Texas and then headed west towards Alpine on US Highway 90 passing through Marfa, famous for the Marfa lights. Along the way, I passed through Valentine, Texas on Valentine's Day. No less. And took the following picture:
I continued into the darkness until I finally arrived in Van Horn, Texas, my stop for the night. Google maps does not do the day justice:
Saturday, February 15th, 2020
I started out my morning in Van Horn Texas. This time I didn't start too early. It was Daylight when I woke up. I went next door to the grocery store and bought some fruit for my day's travel. I then filled up my gas tank and headed north towards Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It was a nice sunny day. On the way towards Guadalupe Mountains, I kept passing through these very low washes that had flood stage markings in them. The washes didn't look deep enough to have this much water in them. And if the water was to the top of the flood stage marking, which was 5 ft., it would seem that it would have had to have been a hundred or two hundred yards wide. It would be a huge amount of water. It was hard to imagine so much water can flow through this little wash.
At any rate I got to where I had a good view of Guadalupe Peak with El Capitan in front of it. I was in one of these washers and of course, I tried to capture the flood stage markings:
Sunday, February 16, 2020.
My last two days were pretty uneventful. I left Albuquerque after a quick free breakfast at the hotel. It was daylight again when I left, but since it was Sunday the traffic in Albuquerque wasn't bad. I just drove, and as usual took at least one nap along the way. The last hour or so just before Spanish Fork, Utah was pretty ugly. Rain and snow, low clouds, poor visibility, and it was starting to get dark. I did make it to Spanish Fork in time to fill my gas tank at Costco and go into the store for a few minutes. I then drove just a little bit north and checked into my hotel for the night:
Monday, February 17, 2020.
My last day of driving. Again a quick breakfast at the hotel. It was a little busy driving through Salt Lake City, as again I started in daylight. It was uneventful otherwise. I did stop and take a few pictures along the way:
Just into Montana over Lima Pass.
At the rest area south of I-90, on I-15, near Butte, Montana:
I also took a nap at the rest area just south of the junction with I-90, near Butte. I made it home just before dark: