Parts 1 and 2 from the mid-America road trip have been published, but I haven’t made it to my destination yet. Yes, ultimately, my destination was White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, but my destination for those couple of weeks reprieve from shoveling and the artic blast that put Minnesota on the map (again), was Lake Havasu City.
Feeling a little bit of exhaustion the day after my big adventure, I started out on the road again. A little way out of Las Cruces, New Mexico, I was greeted by border patrol agents. As the three-lane highway gradually morphed into a two-lane mandatory exit, complete with orange cones and patrol cars, I found myself a little worried. About what? I suppose I was worried about all my luggage and camera gear that I kept covered in the back with a conspicuously heavy blanket.
As the mandatory checkpoint became a reality out of my windshield, I began envisioning my conversation with the border patrol agent describing my not-at-all suspicious blanket in the back and solo cross-country undertaking.
In hindsight, I’m thankful that the line was short enough to limit the
When I finally rolled to the stationed guard, I was taken back at the beautiful man with black curls and brown-eyes that greeted me. He smiled and simply asked if I had anyone with me as he eyed my backseat. “Nope,” I managed to utter with confidence as he told me to be safe and waived me through.
I breathed a sigh of relief from not having to stammer about all the contents in the back of my Jeep which coincidentally still had no license plates, thanks to the great state of Minnesota.
Then the words, “Be safe,” hit me. What did he mean by that? Is there something going on I should be concerned about? Was it just because I was a young-ish looking woman driving across the southwest without legal plates on a white vehicle all alone?
I decided to be content with my happy little encounter and know that I had the wits to properly judge situations and keep myself safe. Besides, I was getting hungry and had to start thinking about my next meal. 😉
Once I crossed into Arizona, I pulled off on Dragoon Road as the landscape started to change into very unique large round stone formations which were separated from one another but clumped together in a backdrop of “regular” mountains.
As I continued on the highway, my next stop was also spontaneous as I approached a new range of peaks, I noticed an unusual amount of greenery and had to stop and check it out. It was Picacho Peak State Park and I started the most strenuous climb up the rock cliff, Hunter Trail, a little 1.6 miler, a little late in the day.
While the trail was relatively short, it was also relatively vertical. May hikers I passed looked at me with my 25 lb. backpack and asked if I had hiking gloves and suggested that I not go the entire way up as daylight was already
I decided to go as far as I felt comfortable and turn back so I still had time to hike down in light and find a place to camp for sunset images. The hike was a bit more taxing than I had anticipated, and I didn’t get anywhere near the top but rather saved that adventure for another day.
When I arrived in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, I was finally able to deliver my four metal prints to Q Gallery and chat more with the owner. Each time I visit a new town and stay for a while, I learn more about its residents, their way of life and can appreciate all the uniqueness it has to offer.
After a couple of weeks of mild temps, high winds, some sunshine, some rain, and one print sale later, I set out for my three-day journey back to the tundra.
With February in full swing, I decided to take the northern route home to avoid the ice storms in Kansas and timed it right between two huge winter storms hitting the entire length of the United States.
Oh yes, the adventure continues ….