Sunday, March 09, 2014

High Plains Drifter

There’s a stretch of NM Highway 104 that runs east of Las Vegas for about thirty miles of undulating pastureland on its serpentine way to Tucumcari.  It’s a piece of road that has captured my fancy for twenty years or so. I do love my prairie and plains.

As we headed back to Taos after a two day jaunt to the metropolis of Canyon, Texas we found ourselves on 104. Props, by the way, to the wonderful Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon where we were attending an invitational painting exhibition and which was the reason for our trip. Not so much for the dry little burg itself. That’s dry as in no libations to be had in the entire county, one of eleven Texas counties with that dubious distinction.  The folly that is prohibition will be studied in detail at a later time. Damn near happened today.

On the Saturday of the show it was a balmy 72 and on Sunday it fell to high of 23 in Canyon. Not only that, the forecast for the whole of the South Plains was for freezing rain and snow squalls. Heading back on I-40 just before Tucumcari we were turtling through blowing snow at 40 miles per hour.  Never the souls of patience we gambled on going overland on the aforementioned 104 as had been our plan.  At the height of land half an hour shy of Las Vega we were buffeted by cross winds and surviving slick roads but when we dipped down to the high plains the skies parted and the grasslands glowed with the saturated colors that follow a deluge.  Behind us was a crystal forest and beyond the beckoning plains after the rain.

This little spread has all the icons of prairie life that a guy could want, an abode, a windmill, a stock tank and a corral.


Daryl A. Black said...

The top two photographs are quintessential photographs of the plains in stormy weather, regardless of place. Love the layered ice and snow in the first shot, and the infinity of the second. Anyone who has driven in eastern New Mexico has a good handle on this kind of weather. I am surprised you made it traveling 40 mph, but then, you had four-wheel drive. Glad you pursued the route and were able to come out with shots like these!

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