Day 4 (Thursday, October 23)
Two of the reasons for taking this long road trip were to seize the opportunity to see parts of the country I'd never seen before, and to experience the changes in scenery in a way that one cannot fully appreciate from an airplane. Our drive today helped to fulfill both expectations for me.
We arose early, packed up, and headed on on Texas 118 from Alpine to I-10, via Fort Davis and the Davis Mountains. I had driven on that route as far as the McDonald Observatory on a prior trip. This morning, a fog had settled in over the region. Once we got into the mountains outside of Alpine, the drive to Fort Davis was wet and slow; however, a few miles past the Indian Lodge State Park, before reaching McDonald, the fog lifted and we had a beautiful drive through the switchbacks in the mountains. We stopped at a roadside overlook just before the turnoff to the Observatory and took a few photos.
Looking back to the east, we could see how the fog bank had settled into the mountains and Fort Davis, creating white peaks beneath the mountain tops like whipped topping in a bowl. It was beautiful! Unfortunately, the lighting was not good to get a decent photo of that.
The rest of the drive on Texas 118 was sunny and beautiful...this must be one of the most scenic routes in the state. There is a wonderful moment when you descend suddenly out of the mountains and back into the desert. Immediately, the vegetation changes and the temperature rises as the altitude lowers, and there is an almost automatic response: exhale!
We sped down I-10 and drove through El Paso, arriving in Las Cruces early in the afternoon. I had driven through here before, but hadn't given the city much thought. There is quite a bit to do and see here! We are planning a walkaround through old town Mesilla on Friday morning before heading up to Santa Fe for the next few days. More pictures later!
A challenge for me on this trip has been to just "let go," not worry so much about the next stop, the next meal, keeping a schedule. I hope the wide open spaces we continue to encounter will remind me to exhale and enjoy the ride!