Gallup, NM to Salida, CO and on towards the home stretch
However, if the cache had not been placed near this beautiful mural, I would not have known it was there, and when I get back home and have time, I hope to set it up as a Waymark to draw others to see it.
At the restaurant where I got a cup of coffee that morning, a Tribal Policeman recommended I take the minor highway through the Indian Reservation up to Farmington. He said the main highway, which used to be US 666, has a lot more truck traffic, and "a lot of crazy drivers." On my way to the highway, I passed by Red Rock State park just east of Gallup, and saw some fantastic sandstone bluffs that reminded me of Kanab Canyon north of Kanab, Utah, where I used to take people for horseback rides.
Along this lonely road that rolled out in front of me for miles and miles, with no caches to pause for along the way, I stopped several times to take pictures of scenes that just "looked like New Mexico."
As the road climbed, it passed over the Continental Divide. Here in New Mexico, that divide happens at a much lower elevation than the same Continental Divide in Colorado.
After I took this picture, I went into the supermarket on the Reservation. I picked up some fresh fruit and while in the Produce Department, I heard the sound of rolling thunder. Soon afterwards, the system that mists the produce came on. I thought that was so much better than the little "ding" that warns me the mist is about to come on in my local store.
In Farmington, I stopped at a cache in a cacher's front yard. We shared Geocaching stories, and I let him "Discover" the coins I had with me, as well as the GJTB I had. He told me about a coffee shop in downtown Farmington where I could get a WiFi signal, so I backtracked to "Andrea Kristina's." The coffee was good, and strong, and since I had a rough night, I needed the caffeine to wake me up for the next stretch of the road.
As I downloaded a couple of PQs and loaded the GPSr with new maps and caches for the next section of my trip, I glanced around at the local people enjoying their coffee and delicious-looking sandwiches, and wished I could join in their conversations. It would have been interesting to learn what these sophisticated-looking people do in Farmington, and how they came to live there . . .
After a quick visit to the nicely-appointed restroom,
I was on my way, heading out of town on the highway towards Chama.
Along the way, I saw trucks sporting highly-visible orange flags on tall, flexible poles, and many gas wells. These eyesores were painted green to lessen their visual impact, but the scenery along the way would have looked much better without the wells, storage tanks, and roads that scared the area.
Higher up in the mountains, the scenery was beautiful, but I didn't take many pictures because of the overcast sky.
In Colorado, the small towns I encountered offered reasons to stop and take pictures.
After stopping to take a few pictures, and to find the "Howsan Park" cache, the one that turned out to be number 2000 for me, I got back on the highway so I could make it to Salida for the night. I liked that small city so much on my last trip, I wanted to stay there and spend more time exploring it on this adventure.
Late in the day, as I made that long drive up lonely Colorado Highway 17, past the turnoff for Great Sand Dunes National Monument where I spent a night last spring, I stopped to take a picture, in the rain, of my Waymark, a WiFi hotspot, The Mirage Trading Post.
And, finally, after turning onto Highway 50 from Highway 17, I stopped to get a picture of another one of my Waymarks, the "Highway 50 Pet Cemetary," before continuing to my "camping site" for the night . . . in the Wal-Mart parking lot . . .