Birthday on the road

Trip Start Mar 28, 2010
Trip End Apr 20, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Sunday, April 11, 2010

By Adam

I'll be honest with you. If you'd have asked me where I wanted to spend the night of my birthday, Carlsbad, New Mexico would probably not have been top of my list.

But with the Grand Canyon and Vegas to come in the next few days we had to hit the road to cover some big miles. And what a journey it was.

After unwrapping my presents, eating my breakfast in bed, and enjoying other birthday activities we got going out of Austin at around 10.30, speeding through the beautiful Texas hill country, which at this time of year is covered in red, yellow and blue wildflowers.

After that, the countryside started to flatten out and dry out into the proper Texas that we'd come to see - the kind you see in westerns. Huge hot plains with mountain backdrops, cactus and Joshua trees. Soaring eagles, amazing vistas and long, straight highways. Brilliant.

I made up for my defeat in the first-to-see-an-alligator contest in Louisiana by winning $10 in the first-to-see-a-cactus competition. Get in.

It was around this time Kate made an amazing discovery. In our hotel in Austin, despite the fact we had been staying in a ten floor suite in one of the nicest places in town, internet access was $10.95 a day. Given that even the roughest econo-motels here have it for free, we said no.

However, in the rest areas (essentially lay-bys with toilets) in the middle of the desert the great state of Texas lays on free wi-fi. Bonkers. We updated our Facebook status.

However, getting Kate out of the car at this point was tricky. She wanted the toilet, but spotted the "Watch for snakes" sign. Clearly feeling that she would make a tasty snack for the local rattler she decided it was better to wet yourself. "There's no way I'm getting out the car. Look at the sign!" she said. It was only after I pointed out that there are snakes everywhere from here to California so she'd have to hold out for another week that she decided to risk it!

It was around this time I realised that if we made the New Mexico border we would cross into a new time-zone and gain an extra hour, thus giving me an extra bonus hour of birthday! I put my foot down.

New Mexico is one of the most intriguing places in the US. It's a real mix of cultures. The state has some stunning scenery and the bluest skies you'll ever see, but is also the home of UFOs (more on Roswell tomorrow), the nuclear bomb (the first ever test happened at White Sands) and some amazing art.

It's also hot as hell. By 8.30pm it was still 86 degrees. My kind of place.

Prize for most bonkers place name of the trip so far must go to the town of Loving, New Mexico. Childish I know, but how we laughed at Loving High School, and at the sheriff driving around in his Loving Police car. It'd been a long day.

We pulled into the nicest looking motel in Carlsbad (which isn't saying much), ordered a pizza, drank beer and passed out. Great birthday!

Miles covered since New York City: 2,748
States visited: Texas, New Mexico
Time zones crossed: 1 (Central to Mountain time)
First cactus seen: 12.56 (CT)
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