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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's Big!

The West is big, really big.  Huge, immense, grand, pick your adjective and it fits the American West.  We saw it driving the valley of the Eastern Sierras, the vast hills of Eastern Oregon, the huge canyons of Idaho and Western Montana and the plains of Montana and North Dakota.

Today's drive once again brought home the incredible amount of space, land this nation has.  Leaving Tulsa we went through the Osage hills of northeastern Oklahoma into the central part of the state where wildfires have devastated Creek County with hundreds of homes being destroyed and then past Oklahoma City we entered the Plains.  The vast, open, see the curve of the earth on the horizon Plains of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.  In the area around Amarillo, Texas town silos are like city skyscapers as they tower over the flat landscape, visible ten, twenty, thirty miles away.

Leaving Texas and driving through eastern New Mexico one begins to climb in altitude and the landscape becomes more green, trees and scrub brush are more prevalent and ranches the norm.  But again the vast size of the region leaves an impression of how lonely the frontiersmen, trappers and cowboys must have felt with no sign of other humans or any break in the landscape from horizon to horizon.  The advantage of the New Mexico traveler is the mountains that break from the prairie and climb to 10,000 feet.

Although our drive today was 650 miles and about 10 hours our drive was a geography lesson of the west as we left hill country for prairies for hill country for mountains.  It's big, real big, our American West.

When we arrived at our Best Western destination this evening the girls took a dip in the pool to cool off while Mom and Dad imbibed with cocktails from our car-bar by the pool. Afterwards we walked about a half mile to Old Town Albuquerque for dinner at Monica's El Portal.  I love chili verde and in Southern California it is almost always made with pork.

In Albuquerque chili verde is a chili sauce, very spicy, that is more of a sauce than a dish.  I had the chili verde chicken soup with rice. Served with the meals are sopapillas, a variety of tortilla dough that is fried and puffs up.  One of the best Mexican meals I have had, anywhere.

Today's picture is of the beer I enjoyed with my meal, a local brew that was excellent.

Tomorrow we have a relatively short trip into Northern Arizona past Flagstaff to Williams where we will bunk for two nights and make an excursion to the Grand Canyon on Friday.

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