Quick Run Through New Mexico

Our story begins at an abandoned restaurant just outside Tucson, where we spent the night. Normally I wouldn’t park at a place like this, but there were several recent positive reviews on iOverlander, and others were here as well. I had no problems at all. A semi came in around 4:00 am to pick up a parked trailer, but other than that it was quiet.

Lister enjoyed the grass I parked near. You can tell he’s completely invisible here — at least, in his world. I worked most of the morning, then hopped back on I-10 east. I experimented with my GoPro a little bit, attempting a time-lapse video, shots of the road ahead, and shots of me talking about the trip, all with the camera mounted to the dashboard for hands-free operation. Unfortunately, nothing worked. The settings were wrong, the sound quality was so bad you can’t hear me talking, and the battery died even though I had it plugged in to charge. I’m trying to start making videos again, but it’s just not working.

Along the way, I talked with not one, but two fellow travelers on the ham radio. I passed an RV with a sticker on the back that said “KZ1AMZ, 146.52.” I called him, Adam answered, and we chatted all the way to the Texas Canyon rest area, where we both stopped for lunch and had a quick chat — what we hams call an “eyeball QSO.” This rest area was the first place I intended to stay after the Pima Air and Space Museum, but I’m glad I stayed where I did. The rest area is quite nice, actually, with interesting rock formations, but it’s right next to the highway and loud.

Later, after crossing into New Mexico, I spotted KA9LMZ-14 on my aprs.fi screen, heading right toward me on I-10. I gave him a call on .52, and Cary answered right away. Unfortunately, we’d already passed each other, so we didn’t get to wave as we went by. We chatted until we drove out of range.

My overnight stop was Public House 28 Brewery in Anthony, NM, thanks to Harvest Hosts. I didn’t get enough use out of them last year, and I want to visit more interesting places like this as I travel. It’ll be particularly useful as I travel the east coast, where free parking and camping opportunities are much more scarce than out west. Lister particularly enjoyed the soft surface of the parking area.

I had a great time. All the beers I tried were amazing, and I met some great people, too. One was a fellow van dweller who was passing through, heading from east to west. He mentioned wanting to check out Joshua Tree, so I referred him to the Van Life Campground I stayed at last year. In talking motorcycles, I caught the attention of a young Mexican guy at the other end of the bar who has the same bike as me, just one year newer. We chatted a bit, he bought me a shot, and we chatted some more. I don’t understand what some people have against Mexicans. This guy is great, making a legal living here, and we have lots in common.

That shot was more than I’d planned on, but it’s not like I was driving anywhere. I made myself an easy dinner, then kicked back to watch videos for the night.

On a side note, since I knew I wouldn’t have to leave during the night, I set up Starlink even though cell service here is excellent on both Verizon and T-Mobile. I knew my view to the north was partly obstructed by a tree, but I wanted to see how well it would work. While the red splotches marking obstructions are visible, I had no connection issues at all. I’m sure the situation would be different if there were leaves, though.

This morning I’m working again, then moving down the road to Texas. I really need to spend some quality time in New Mexico sometime. I’ve passed through three times now, but I haven’t yet given this state the attention it deserves. Maybe sometime I’ll pick up that $225 non-resident annual state park pass and go exploring a bit.

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