2017 Aug 24 – Guyman, OK to Taos, NM

Today was another driving day.  There were no museums to visit.  There, were however, plenty of historical makers; many of which also had a geocache hidden close by.

We woke up in Guyman to much cooler temperatures and overcast skies.  Our route today took us due west through the Oklahoma panhandle and into New Mexico.  It was flat, flat, flat for miles and miles and miles.  Many people refer to the Oklahoma panhandle as no-man’s land since it is so sparsely populated and there is almost nothing there but prairie grasslands.  We did see several huge parcels in crops and lots of little groups of cattle in large fields, but no significant towns.  Still, it was beautiful country.

The description of a geocache in this area: “Quick and easy roadside cache.  No need to cross the fence.  Watch out for the usual critters (scorpions, spiders, rattlers, etc.)”  That just really made us want to stop to find that one.  Not.Just before the Oklahoma/New Mexico border you can take a dirt road south for 2.5 km and arrive at the government survey marker for the meeting of the states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. There is a virtual cache there and all you had to do was post your photo at the marker.

These cheery yellow black-eyed susan/ sunflower-type flowers grew prolifically all along the roadside and in the fields.  We saw them all day bordering both sides of the road for miles.

A few miles into New Mexico and we finally saw some hills again.  The community of Clayton on the Santa Fe Trail had multi-sided historical markers with interesting information (and a geocache).

Clayton also had three rather raggedly-looking dinosaurs that at one time promoted the huge number of fossilized footprints in the area. Cimmaron also had a large display of historical information, not all of which I have added here. There was a geocache hidden at the site of this gigantic boulder that had come down off the mountain years ago and created a huge pothole in the road before landing on the opposite side.  There were other large rocks nearby but none as big as this one.Just as we entered Cimmaron Canyon the sky opened and it poured rain.  Fortunately in the length of time it took us to drive to the Pallisades it almost stopped so we were able to get out of the truck and take a few photos and only get mildly wet.

The spire that you can just make out on top of the bluff on the photo on the left and see better in the one on the right is called the Devil’s Mailbox.

We stopped again to find a cache and enjoy the ‘shimmering waters of Eagle Nest Lake.”  Well, they weren’t so shimmering in the rain today.

We were motoring away down the road when we passed a sign for the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.  As we drove by we saw this beautiful curved structure up on the hill and decided to go take a look.

The memorial was built by a couple whose son was killed in Vietnam in 1968.  Dr. Victor ‘Doc’ Westphall did most of the work himself and they gradually sold all but five acres of their 800 acre holding to pay for the memorial.  It is now run by the state and has an amphitheater and gift shop.   The doors of the chapel are never locked.  The building is open 24/7 so anyone can go inside for contemplation and prayer.  It was a beautiful structure.  Both of the Westphall’s and their other son are buried on the property.

The memorial sat atop a hill with panaoramic views all around.  It was really, really nice. We arrived in Taos, New Mexico at 7 pm and found our hotel which was located on the southern edge of town in the newer section.  Every building is adobe style and there were cars and people all over the place.  Even with the tourist season almost over it is busy here.   Our hotel room is really a suite with sitting area with a fireplace and a large balcony.  Gorgeous heavy carved wooden furniture. We will certainly suffer staying here for the night. Tomorrow we arrive at Pagosa Springs, not far across the border in Colorado where we will spend a week.

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