Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15, 2011 Eastward into New Mexico

We woke up to much colder temperatures (33degrees) in Show Low but the sun’s warmth soon had the temperature up 10 degrees before we left the area.Continuing our travel on US 60, about an hour after leaving Show Low, Arizona we crossed into New Mexico.  Throughout the day we seemed to be climbing, not steep ascents but long, gradual rises that slowed us down before reaching the top.  As we went over the top of these rises, we felt as if we could see endless  mesquite covered rolling hills.


We passed through a few small towns that were miles apart.  Occasionally ranches with cattle were along the way.  At lunchtime we were passing through Pie Town, so we stopped at the Pie Town Café.

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Our Ruben sandwiches were good, the slices of Triple Berry for Tom and Sour Cream raisin for me were expensive and far from the best pie we have eaten.  The slices of pie costs $4.95 for Tom’s and mine was the pie of the day at $3.95.  And for $24.95 we could have bought a whole 8-inch pie—and I thought the large 10-inch, at least, pies we saw in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for $19.00 was expensive.

Continuing on we came to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array (VLA) Telescope.

We had been here several years ago but it still intrigues us.  The large antennas are 82 feet in diameter (big enough for 2 average size houses to fit in) and weighs 230 tons.  There are 27 antennas arrayed in a Y configuration, 2 arms for 13 miles and one for 11 miles.  The antennas are moved by way of railroad tracks. The arrays sensitivity is able to detect the weak transmission of a cell phone from as far away as Jupiter.   There is a Visitor’s Center with a self guided tour that is free. When we first arrived at VLA the antennas were all in a stored mode but as we were leaving the antennas were being positioned in a work mode.

We had planned to stop at a campground a few miles to the east of the VLA but when we arrived the entrance had a gate across it.  We continued on to the town of Magdalena, about 6 miles, and stopped at the Western Motel and RV Park.  We entered the campground but the office was locked.  We have set up here and hope that sometime between now and before we leave in the morning that someone will appear to collect their money.  There is a travel trailer parked here but we have not seen anyone around, no other RVs.  I seem to have picked up a virus that has made me feel miserable with a sore throat,a cough and tiredness.  I’m hoping Tom doesn’t  get it.