Thursday, November 4, 2010
Sleeping by the tracks
After leaving Albuquerque, I was starting to take on a very driven mentality. I had lost some time in the Denver area, and if I wanted to making it back home by Thanksgiving, I needed to book it. My brother and sister-in-law were coming back home, and I hadn't seen them in a couple years. Since Thanksgiving is a pretty big deal with my family, I made it a priority to get home by then. I don't regret taking extra time in the Denver area; it just made the return trip a little tight on time. So, once I got out of high elevation where I needed to find homes to stay in, and thus could camp out in the lower desert, I decided to hold a pretty strong pace.
After I went over the mountains in New Mexico, I was dead focused on making it to Texas by the end of the week. So the next day, I was racing to make distance. However, I quickly realized that, in the desert, there aren't many little towns to stop in, for water or to camp for the night. This kind of presents a problem, especially in the desert. I didn't realize how cold the desert gets at night. I mean, it's the desert, right? Heh.
So, I leave Mountainair, NM, trying to head to the next town, forty miles away. And then the sun sets, and the temperature drops, and my legs start getting tired. And on this road in the desert, there is no sign of human dwelling, only the trucks passing me on the road and the trains passing on the rails. So, what do I do? I find a random pull-off on the highway that's used by railroad workers, where there are some electrical boxes and propane tanks right next to the railroad. (The tracks are only about 50 feet from the road). And I make camp behind these big propane tanks, between the highway and the railroad, and try to stay warm. I think I was pretty well hidden, since no one came by and gave me any trouble in the middle of the night. I did hear some coyotes come by late in the night though...... It turns out that on this section of railroad, a train comes by about every 15 minutes, rumbling right by my tent. All in all, I didn't get the most sleep that night. But, it's all good, because I made pancakes in the morning. Heck, yes!