Walter White Was Right to Choose Here
We had spent the night at a small RV site in the little town of Tucumcari – a bleak place, baked by the constant beating of the sun’s rays. Everything looked cooked and frazzled, scorched from hours every day in direct sun light. Like a few towns further west, Tucumcari tries to create some sort of nostalgia about the Mother Road. They have paintings on the pavement, museums dedicated to the route and many of the motels are named after something from the route. I couldn’t help but think that living things do well to survive out there.
I ran out of the town early; our morning regime would continue until the end of the trip now. The heat at 6am was quite pleasant, nowhere near the temperatures of the early afternoon. At home, even at 6am the traffic would be building, people would be rushing for trains and buses, cars would be whizzing by, everyone would be in a rush. Out there, there is no rushing, what would they be rushing for? It is still, stagnant and lifeless.
I ran for 4 hours solid and saw 8 cars on the old Route 66. The road was in a shocking state of disrepair and once again, like other parts earlier in the trip, the weeds were winning, you could tell that it wouldn’t be long before this part of the road gave up. I would normally list all the towns we went through and the different architecture or touristy things that we saw – we saw nothing, nothing but arid land, cacti, some rocks and a lot of red dirt.
Map of New Mexico Photo Gallery
Everyone ran with me on this day, it was nice for them to be able to stretch their legs, as well. After two days cooped up on the RV we needed a change of pace, we needed fresh air and some different conversation. It’s amazing what you talk about when you’re out on the road, it’s like your very own therapy session. For some reason, you feel more inclined to open up to people about the things going on in your life, the problems you might have or the worries you’re facing. It could be because you feel like you now share some special bond but it was the same when I did my first run. People would come and join me and within minutes they were telling me everything about themselves. I would always listen and give advice where possible but most of the time I think people just wanted to talk, I was happy enough to listen. We spoke about anything and everything from politics to fridge magnets.
The heat in New Mexico was different than anything I had experienced earlier, it wasn’t wet and muggy instead it was dry – unbelievably dry. My clothes were not wet with sweat at the end of the day, instead they were bone dry and dusty. My sweat dripped from my forehead onto my hand and by the time it touched my hand it had turned to salt, it was brilliant and frightening at the same time. Hydration was going to be even more important as I neared the finish and it was now much harder to detect when I needed hydrating.
One thing I had not taken into account when planning this trip was altitude. Call it a blip or a rookie mistake, whatever you want to call it, I had absolutely no idea that along with the blistering heat, the running and the cycling that I would also have to deal with altitude. It was hard enough trying to breath in the dustbowl that was New Mexico, but to make matters worse the air was now going to be thinner!
I muttered to myself as I stomped along the road having passed a sign saying’ Welcome to Santa Rosa – 5000 feet above sea level’. Luckily for us Santa Rosa was where we were stopping that evening, I was shattered and now heavily heaving for air.
As we sat on the RV that evening I knew that there was more climbing to come and that the air would get even thinner. I looked at the maps, searching for as much information as I could find about the area. One part of the route kept coming up, The Continental Divide. I had no idea what it was or for that matter where it was, I just knew from the research we had just done that it was going to be a slog to get there.
As I looked out over New Mexico, I now realised why Walter White chose this place to cook his Crystal Meth – there is no one here and those that are here can’t move because they can’t breathe. It’s ideal for illegal activity, no one could or would chase you.