Saturday, August 11, 2012

To Beat the Heat

The heat has beaten us.

We had planned to spend two weeks in the Ozarks, but based on the forecasts that called for temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s, we thought that instead of exploring the area we’d be spending much of the time indoors.

So, we decided to head for Santa Fe two weeks early. To head for temperatures in the mid 80s during the day and upper 50s at night.

We had overnight stops in Checotah, OK; Shamrock, TX; and Tucumcari, NM. Shown in the next three photos are the early morning scenes before departing from Shamrock.

But to reach Santa Fe, we had to cross Arkansas, Oklahoma, the Texas panhandle, and eastern New Mexico—all which were in the throes of “extreme heat” weather days. At the time we were planning to pass through Oklahoma City, the city was registering its nineteenth straight day of 100+ degrees.

With these temperatures in mind, we planned on leaving about dawn on each morning of the four-day trip (about four to five hours per day). Our travels took us along I-40 from Russellville, AR, to Santa Fe, NM.

The scenes from the interstate covered the farms and ranches of the plains in Texas, the fringes of Amarillo, and the high desert. (At the risk of not matching the text with photos, I have kept the photos in the order in which we saw them on our travel westward.)

Some of the scenes show farm buildings in the midst of very large grain fields, some with extensive irrigation equipment.

And then there's the series of billboards announcing the FREE 72-ounce steak available at the Big Texan in Amarillo, TX. Free, that is, if you can eat it in an hour.

If you can't finish in that time, the cost of the steak is $72. According to the menu, 27,500 have tried, 4,600 have succeeded.

Several of the scenes are remnants of days gone by—windmills, water towers, abandoned buildings, and isolated grain elevators.

The effects of the strong winds which frequent several areas along the way are shown here, and one of ways of capitalizing on these winds appeared in one of these areas.

The exits off the interstate were few and far between and towns identified on these signs could not be seen from the highway.

As we approached the New Mexico border, we began to feel cooler--even though we still had a stop in Tucumcari before reaching Santa Fe.

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