Going home slowly

Three weeks in New Mexico flew by too quickly. With a slight course correction through an area near Santa Fe we’d like to come back to (Glorieta NM),we began our winding leisurely trip home. First stop is Dallas, for Jennifer to get in some creative pursuits she’s been anticipating for over a year. We decide to see a bit more of western NM and east TX on the way and avoid I-40. It was a good choice that gave us nice scenery, smooth roads and little traffic. The first night we made it to Palo Duro Canyon.

Just outside of Amarillo on a plain as flat as a tabletop, Palo Duro Canyon is a slice out of the earth’s crust 850 feet deep and maybe 30 miles long. Down in the bottom is a recreation area where campers and visitors can see nature presentations, hike the many trails, ride horses or just enjoy the views of the mostly sheer walls and sit in the shade of trees that mostly don’t grow on the plains outside the canyon. We only overnighted here on our way to Dallas, but we met several others who were on their way from Texas to NM or other places where Texans can go to cool off in the summertime. Great place for a respite from the highway. Surely there were a lot of westerns shot here.

Next morning, listening to Robert Earl Keen sing “Amarillo Highway” on the radio, we rode US 285 traffic into Dallas like a surfer on a thundering wave. Thankfully our home is on a lake on the north side of town, so we sneak in and settle down in a pretty little city camp on the shore of Lewisville lake. The heat index is 111. Three nights here pass quickly, with Jennifer work shopping during the day while Sydney and I sit in the AC and finish a Harry Hansen book I’ve carried all over the country. I love Dallas. Never saw a bit of it.

Moving on we couldn’t get a spot at Hot Springs National Park so we discovered an absolutely beautiful state Park just a couple miles from downtown Memphis. Just an overnight here, but it’s one of the places we will come back to for sure.

Our drive through northern Mississippi to Atlanta the next day was again off the beaten path, but so worth the ride. There were times we wouldn’t pass another car for miles. We would’ve loved to stop in Muscle Shoals for a visit, but for the sake of a schedule, had to content ourselves with gazing at the horse farms and hay fields as we rolled on by. We haven’t seen a state yet that doesn’t have some gorgeous places. In Mississippi that is a challenge, but we found it.

Lake Altoona, just north of Atlanta is a perfect location for relaxing in the woods while having great access to the city. Jennifer’s niece Julie, who just graduated from Kennesaw State, was our raison d’etre, and hosted us admirably as she and Jennifer had a girls day while Sydney and I relaxed in the shade. Three nights of bliss. Showers, clean cloths, good food and walks in the woods.

After stopping for lunch in Helen GA we cruise on home, concluding one of our most enjoyable traverses. We used only about 40 miles of I-40 the entire way, and as little of the interstate system as possible otherwise. We have a few things to accomplish, but we arrive home having already planned our next escapade.

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