The day was rather full, so I am going to give the Gila cliff dwellings their own post.
I left the motel around 10:00 this morning and my truck was really not happy about having been left out in the cold all night! She was making a whining sound that was very easy to anthropomorphize as her reprimanding me for taking her away from the heat! It only took about a half a mile for the engine to warm up and the noise to go away. I wasn’t worried. 🙂
I headed a ways out of town to meet up with reader Ed! Ed has been a long-time commenter and route planning helper. How wonderful to end up in the same place like this! He was staying at a nice little RV park tucked away at the end of a gravel road and I got lots of attention and cuddles from his beautiful and sweet dog. Ed and I had a nice chat and then it was time for me to go since I had about five hours of driving to do today, on top of visiting the cliff dwellings.
By the time I’d filled up and hit highway 15, it was just past 11:30. My ETA for the cliff dwellings was 1:30 and I planned to be back on the road by 3:00 to get to T or C by about 6:00.
It’s only about 75KM/45Mi to the cliff dwellings, but the road is very sinuous. Larger RVs are told to avoid the section between Silver City and the junction with highway 35 and instead take 35, then continue on 15. This is good advice. All of highway 15 would be a nightmare in an RV, but the first section was exceptionally challenging!
I was sure the two hours travel time the signs indicated was exaggerated, but it really wasn’t! It was a fun drive with a standard, but I would have hated it if I was driving something large as the drive is one hair pin turn after another. The road takes you through ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forest before taking you high up into the mountains to see sweeping vistas.
You then descend into the valley where the cliff dwellings are located. My new brakes got a workout even though I engine braked as much as I could!
I allotted exactly the right amount of time to visit the cliff dwellings and the visitors’ centre. The next post will have all the details!
I do have to share a bonehead move that almost spoiled my visit. I was coming out of the caves when I had a weird niggle about my truck keys. I emptied out my purse and had to admit that I didn’t have them. Never mind getting a locksmith all the way out there, just think of how much stuff I had in the truck!
I suspected that I had left them at the counter where you have to pay or fill out your pass information. That was more likely than the keys having fallen out along my walk. So I swiftly made my way back down to the entrance and there they were, stuck on an information post and being minded by a ranger! Oy!
I went to grab them and he said, “Woah, how do I know those are yours?” I actually thought he was serious and went to pull out my truck registration and he burst out laughing. A lady he was talking to said, “I don’t think anyone but the owners of those keys would be so glad to see them!”
There was a similar incident on the way down in the fall and after it happened, I thought that I really should get a chain or lanyard and wear them around my neck when I’m traveling like this. Lesson learned and I will buy a lanyard!
But all was well that ended well and I was able to get back on the road by 3:00, with my ETA being just shy of 6:00. No, I wasn’t rushed, I just demonstrated commendable time management skills and was lucky that nothing happened to delay me! 🙂
It was slooow going to T or C. I only had about 175KM/109Mi to go, but it took three hours! It was just more of the same twistiness and up and down all the way to I-25. There was a really long downhill stretch with steep curves where I just stuck the truck in first gear and slow poked my way down, pulling over for the speedy Gonzalezes less worried about burning out their brakes.
It was a short drive off I-25 to my apartment in T or C, which I found without any problems. I’d been told that a key would be left for me in a certain spot and it was there.
The apartment is advertised as ‘quirky’ and it certainly is. I’ll post pictures tomorrow. It has a large bedroom, a combination kitchen/living/dining room, and a wet room with a toilet and shower. The kitchen has a really cute gas stove and is pretty well equipped, but there’s no toaster, microwave, or sharp knives! The neighbourhood feels a little desolate and there’s a surprising amount of traffic, but I think that will go down as it gets later. So far, I like it. We’ll see how I feel after a few days! It’s going to be cool tonight and I’m going to see how useful the heater is.
There is barely any cell service here and I can’t get data to work. 🙁 BUT there’s wifi! Happy surprise!!!
I was beat when I got in, so the first priority was food. There’s a grocery store across the street (!), so I went in to get something with which to make dinner and breakfast. I’ll do a better shop tomorrow when I’m not so exhausted and can think up a menu. I came in and made up hash browns, Polish sausage, and a red pepper, a pretty decent meal, although I should have bought some oil to keep the food from sticking to the pan. I used water to steam the meal instead, more healthy, but not as tasty. I have tons of leftovers, so I’m try the meal again with a little cheese . 🙂
I treated myself to not only English muffins but a jar of peanut butter for my breakfasts this week. And when I say a jar of peanut butter, I mean the kind with sugar and oil in it, not the all natural kind I normal eat, like Jiffy or Squirrel brand. I haven’t had that in ages and ages. But I did have all natural peanut butter a few times this winter, courtesy of the peanut vendor by the police station on Isla. (For those of you who are paying attention, I’ll toast the English muffins in the pan!)
The last few nights of little sleep are catching up with me. I’m going to do the dwellings post, then call it a night. I have heaps of work to do by Friday night, so I doubt I’ll get out to see much of T or C until the weekend.