A spectacular day!

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Yesterday's travels were just fantastic; maybe the best day of my trip so far. The road from Alamogordo, NM, toward the Arizona border winds its way through an every-changing palette of colors, textures and elevations. Alamogordo is about 4500 feet above sea level, but the road ascends to 7000 plus feet and stays in that range for almost two hundred miles. And just as the terrain and fauna are constantly evolving, so is the sky. So many interesting cloud formations to treat the eyes. The words "big sky" kept coming to mind because you can see so much of it all the time while moving through the landscape.

At one point, known as Valley of Fires, it looks as though a giant earth mover had dumped huge clumps of broken up asphalt roadway on either side of the road for as far as the eye could see. I stopped to take some photos of it and could see that it is actually volcanic rock. An Google search last night educated me about the history of the area. Here's a link if you'd like to know more: http://www.americansouthwest.net/new_mexico/valley_of_fires/recreation_area.html

Farther down the road I came across what looked like a couple dozen giant satellite dishes on railroad tracks. I had no idea what they were, but a conversation with a local later that evening informed me that it is called the VLA (Very Large Array). Basically, there are twenty-seven dish antennas, each one eighty-two feet in diameter, arranged in a Y formation and is one of the world's premier astronomical radio observatories. More info here: http://www.vla.nrao.edu/

By the end of the day I had been thoroughly dazzled by Mother Nature and arrived in Springerville, AZ, just fifteen miles from the NM/AZ border.
Today I traveled through the Apache, Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests on my way to Payson, AZ. More beautiful country, but enough said for now.
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Jeff on

John, this is fabulous territory. I remember traveling through parts of Utah and thinking similar thoughts about the ever changing scenery. Wish we could ride with you for a few days. I hope you are able to use your tripod on some of the photos, and take advantage of the magic light around sunrise and sunset. Have a great day of travels!

Jude Campbell on

Great journey, John. Looking forward to seeing you! Big love

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