A spectacular day!
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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.