US-50 West 2022:
Day 15 - El Reno


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US-50 West 2022: [Day 1 - Owensville] [Day 2 - Dodge City] [Day 3 - Cañon City] [Day 4 - Colorado NM] [Day 5 - Great Basin NP] [Day 6 - Folsom Lake SRA] [Day 7 - Lassen Volcanic NP] [Day 8 - Humboldt Redwoods SP] [Day 9 - Portola Valley] [Day 10 - Pinnacles NP] [Day 11 - Yosemite] [Day 12 - Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP] [Day 13 - Picacho Peak SP] [Day 14 - Flagstaff] [Day 15 - El Reno] [Day 16 - Heading Home]

Saturday, October 15, 2022: Today was going to be a very long day, so we awoke at 5:30 AM and were on the road about twenty minutes later. Our first stop was a nearby McDonald's for a warm and hearty breakfast, and we could see Humphreys Peak in the early morning light.
We headed west on I-40 in the pre-dawn glow, ...
... turning off at the exit for Walnut Canyon National Monument right at 6 AM. We knew that the monument would not be open yet, but we still hoped that we'd be able to get a photo of the Mather plaque at the visitor center.
Noooooooooooooo! There was a locked gate across the road prohibiting any access until 9 AM. We were less than 1,000 feet away, but we had to turn away.
After the twelve minute detour to see the locked gate at Walnut Canyon National Monument, we were back on the road ...
... watching the sun as it slowly climbed up and up ...
... before finally making it over the horizon.
It was full daylight when we crossed the Little Colorado River outside Winslow, Arizona.
Once again, we found ourselves looking at the Route 66 display in Petrified Forest National Park. We weren't really sure that it was possible to drive past it without stopping, but the van somehow kept going and didn't automatically slow down.
Maersk!
New Mexico welcomed us across the border right at 8 AM Pacific Time or 9 AM Mountain Time, ...
... and we stopped at a rest area a little while later. We got a good look at this Escape Campervan, with a green paint scheme on the passenger side, ...
... and a blue and pink scheme on the driver's side.
Albuquerque looked like an oasis of buildings and services rising from the desert, ...
... and we turned off to get a photo of our very last Madonna of the Trail statue.
The statue was in great shape, having been restored in 1998 when it was moved to its current location.
On two sides, there were poems ...
... about the roles of women as pioneers in the settling of the West, ...
... and then the usual inscription about who placed it here.
On the base was a sign stating that there was a time capsule inside, to be opened in 2048.
We drove by Gravity Bound Brewing Company and admired the mural on their wall.
As we made our way out of town, we saw these giant sculptures in the Arts and Cultural District. This one is a transformer, ...
... and this appears to be Iron Man. There is a third one in the background by the building wall that appears to be a dinosaur, with big bitey teeth facing us.
Keeping with the theme of eating at places we don't have at home, we stopped at Twisters Burgers and Burritos to get burritos. This is a chain of restaurants, but it only exists in Albuquerque and in Denver.
As tempting as it was, Tom was able to resist getting anything that he would later regret. Debbie ordered the Green Chili Chicken burrito, without beans of course, and Tom ordered the Carne Adovada burrito. Both were very delicious.
We like driving through this part of the country because the colors are so beautiful. Check out this hillside with its greens and reds and tans.
If we are leaving New Mexico, ...
... then Texas must be next. We laugh every time we see the slogan on the welcome sign.
Texas is the land of Dairy Queen, so we stopped at a convenient exit and ordered a hot fudge sundae with peanuts (!?) and marshmallow topping for Debbie and a Reese's Blizzard for Tom. It was only after we'd ordered that we realized they had steak fingers on their menu. We discovered steak fingers in Boise, Idaho, on a trip last year, and we are obsessed with them. It will forever remain a mystery as to why we didn't get some this time.
Right at 6 PM, we reached Oklahoma, our last state for today's epic drive.
We got dinner at a Wendy's because they have caffeine-free Diet Coke, and it was getting late in the day.
Just before 8 PM, we arrived at a familiar destination, El Reno West KOA Journey, just west of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We had booked a cabin for tonight rather than setting up the tent in the cold and the dark. It had two rooms, with the main room having a table and chairs, ...
... and a double bed, ...
... and the other room having two sets of bunkbeds. We brought in the portable toilet from the van and used this second room as our private bathroom, which was so very convenient.
We used the lower bunks on the bunkbeds to store our gear and organize our clothes for tomorrow. We would be leaving very early again, and we did everything we could to make it quick to depart in the morning. We took full advantage of the KOA wi-Ffi as we surfed and relaxed after the long day. We listened to the rain start to come down as we drifted off to sleep, and that made us even happier that we had booked a cabin.

Day 16 >


US-50 West 2022: [Day 1 - Owensville] [Day 2 - Dodge City] [Day 3 - Cañon City] [Day 4 - Colorado NM] [Day 5 - Great Basin NP] [Day 6 - Folsom Lake SRA] [Day 7 - Lassen Volcanic NP] [Day 8 - Humboldt Redwoods SP] [Day 9 - Portola Valley] [Day 10 - Pinnacles NP] [Day 11 - Yosemite] [Day 12 - Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP] [Day 13 - Picacho Peak SP] [Day 14 - Flagstaff] [Day 15 - El Reno] [Day 16 - Heading Home]

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