Today I went to the Petrified Forest National Park, primarily since I needed to go past it anyhow. I’ve seen petrified wood before, but just small fragments. I had not been expecting such vast amounts. It resembled a torrent of water had just recently brought down a forest, but these trees were washed down in the very early Triassic, just as dinosaurs were starting to appear. The tree trunks’s constituent molecules have since been replaced particle by particle with different kinds of minerals producing some rather interesting colours. After that I went to Meteor Crater, Arizona, a place I’ve long intended to see. I was suprised to see it so close to a highway and even had its own site visitors’ centre, for some reason I always thought it was out in the wild somewhere. Anyhow, it’s a large hole – 4,000 feet across as well as 550 feet deep – you don’t really need me to relate to you the details of a big hole in the ground, suffice it to say it was a quite recognizable hole as it’s always shown on TV. The crater was made approximately 50,000 years earlier, by a meterorite the dimensions of which you could fit a good-sized building in. Evidently the detonation was just over 20 megatons which is 1000 times larger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in WWII. A little piece of the meteorite, tipping the scales at half a ton, is all that remains and it now sits in the museum. OK so tonight I’m in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I’ve booked into a hotel for a couple of days. After all that barren land I’ve been exposed to, I need to put in time with real folks!

Very little to report today, because I’ve been backtracking my route. I’m now just a little east of where I was a couple of days back before losing my nerve. I’m in a place called Gallup, where I’m sat tight for the remainder of the day because it’s blowing a windstorm outside. Yet I’m getting close to the national forests I wanted to check out, so very soon I’ll be able to remain in one location for some time.

The only entertainment of the day was successfully passing the Continental Divide. So, whilst this morning when I relieved myself it flowed off to contaminate the Atlantic, this evening it’ll contaminate the Pacific. Ain’t that cool?

Well, I’m certain Amarillo has its attractions, but Texas definitely has an issue with looks. A  pack of unsightly enterprises rough and tumble} with each other next to the Interstate 40, and it made me so claustrophobic I simply drove right past without braking. Texans might have the largest this and the largest that, yet someone ought to inform the city coordinators that dimensions isn’t really as essential| as they seem to think it is — it’s the things you do with it that really matters.

The wretched truck and I are exhausted. I really did not intend to drive until now however it got truly windy, so aside from a brief trek on the Sandia Hills all I could possibly do was continue. So currently I’m in New Mexico, in a small city called Grants, west of Albuquerque. I got here mid-afternoon, so I invested the remainder of the day simply relaxing as well as having a swim and a health spa. The hotel sits at 6,500 feet, so going for a swim takes your breath away in the wispy air. However elevation benefits my state of mind. Tomorrow morning I’ll attempt t have a run.

They claim Outer Space is massive, yet those same astronomers have clearly never seen Louisiana.

Today I’ve been piling on the miles (over 400 of them) to get away from the Deep South and its memories and temptations, and make some progress to reach the Rocky Mountains. The majority of the distance was in Louisiana, instead of New York, but now I’m tucked up for the evening in Baton Rouge, a town near New Orleans.

Aside from a bit of shopping for fundamentals, I’ve not done anything today other than drive along while eating. I have now worked my way up ‘Louisiana’s’ boot and if there was anything worth seeing  then I missed it, yet that’s not unexpected given how much ground I have covered today. Plus it’s a terribly long way in between decent stopping points.

Swamps have actually slowly turned to pasture, and also downtrodden black individuals have gradually been replaced by downtrodden Mexicans, but never fear, it’s the same old McDonalds and Walmart.

Preparing for the road

With limited space in my Jeep Cherokee, it is difficult to decide what to take for a 6-month road trip! I’m having particular trouble deciding what tools to take for impromtu car repair. Tire inflator is coming obviously, but then …