David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
09/22  Plan B, Part 2
09/23  Canaveral National Seashore -- Freaky People
09/24  Seminole State Forest
09/25  Swimming in Pepsi
09/26  Arachnids
09/27  The End Of The Trail
09/28  Go West Young Man
09/29  Mountains in Arkansas? Who knew?
09/30  Kansas ain't so flat
10/01  Two Kinds of Flat
10/02  Points of Interest
10/03  No Place To Hide
10/04  Look! Grass!
10/05  Everyone repeat after me: Medo is not a jeep.
10/06  Without Incident
10/07  The Fever
10/08  Goodbye, Black Hills
10/09  Lunch with Bison
10/10  ''You're in Oregon Now.''
10/11  Sea to Shining Sea
10/12  My anemone's anemone is my friend.
10/13  Fast Times at Seven-Thousand Feet High
10/14  Redwoods and Grapes
10/15  Welcome to the Jungle
10/16  I live to move furniture.
10/17  Whole Lot of Critters
10/18  Deserts
10/19  ''Please state your nationality''
10/20  Essence of Guano
10/21  Cannonball
10/22  All Done
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
Kayak Trip 2012
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

''Please state your nationality''


Carlsbad, New MexicoI suppose if one were to sleep near a railroad every night, one might grow used to the whistles and rumbling and actually sleep peacefully through the night.

Chiricahua (pronunciation: no clue) National Monument in Arizona is kind of a neat place. Erosion has modeled a giant collection of pillars, pinnacles and balanced rocks. Many of these rock formations have taken on likenesses of various persons and things (or so somebody making signs thought). The mountains here are blanketed in forest, which is a distinct contrast to the arid desert plain below. Interestingly, the mountain ranges in this part of the country are small and separated by desert prairie, making them "islands," each range supporting its own unique ecosystem.

From Chiricahua, there's a road that leads through the Coronado National Forest to Portal. Okay, "road" may be too liberal a term. It's more of a snaking, ledge-clinging, single-laned rock trail. I took it slow. The twenty mile trail took me about an hour.

Before long I was cruising across the barren desert of New Mexico on 9. There weren't too many people on this road, but half of the other vehicles belonged to the US Border Patrol. Eventually I hit a checkpoint. With four officers and a car every twenty minutes, they're somewhat thorough in their inspection.

Officer: Please state your nationality.

Me: Uh, United States. [I hand him my ID.]

Officer: Where are you headed?

Me: El Paso or beyond, depending on how far I make it today.

Officer: Where you coming from?

Me: Well, I camped out in Arizona last night.

Officer: So you started in Virginia?

Me: Yeah, sort of.

Officer: Returning to Virginia?

Me: After Wisconsin.

Officer: Doing some hiking? [as he inspected my gear]

Me: At first. Now I'm mostly road-tripping.

Officer: Do you own this car?

Me: Yeah. I got it in Florida.

Officer: Have a nice day.

It would take a pretty sharp illegal alien to come up with that story.

There are a lot of cattle grazing out there in the desert. It's hard for me to imagine what they could possibly be eating as every plant I could see possessed the defensive capabilities of a porcupine.

I've been told many times that El Paso is the armpit of America. I didn't spend enough time there to verify this assertion, but I will say that it is an uglier city than Los Angeles, and that isn't a light statement.

I drove highway 62/180 across a brief stretch of Texas back into New Mexico. Tomorrow I shall explore one of the last destinations slotted for this vacation. Should be easy enough to guess.

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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