Okay, bear with me. I'm currently in Altura, CA working on updating the last few days of travel. Things are moving quick and I haven't even updated my travel journal. The road has called loudly.
Perched on the rim of the Valley of Fires, I could see the black lava flow below like an ancient river of magna. The melted black rocks and heat fissured spaces made holes and bubbles in the sides of it. Ocotillo and small cacti grew in the most spartan crevices.
Over the day, I'd fall to the Rio Grande river, my lowest elevation, then rise on Hwy.380 up toward the continental divide. The dramatic colors of New Mexico are earth tones and hues of red, pastel sky blue and light tan fields. The transition from 95 degree heat in the lower valley to mid 50's up toward the Continental Divide came quickly as I climbed up to the Very Large Array, a Y-shaped system of telescopes spanning miles across a 7000 ft high plain basin. They serve a similar function to those back in Green Bank, WV, also part of the NRAO.
Camping was easy on this leg of the trip with the Cibola NF offering miles of trails and campsites. My only concern was temperature at higher altitudes but wound up sleeping at 7100ft again, this time among the Ponderosa pines. It felt comfortable making my way west in a near perfect weather window.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 55'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.