AZCentral has a Wallow Fire Timeline which shows an interactive map of the Wallow Fire progression. It is about to cross the New Mexico border and US 60.
In May I drove from Arizona to New Mexico via US 60. I couldn’t help but think that the whole place was going to burn down, it was dry everywhere.
Meanwhile the smoke continues to roll in every evening into the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho areas.
It doesn’t look like there is any end to this fire and I can’t image how they are going to get it under control. It is 0 percent contained.
The view of the Sandia Mountains from my front window the last few days has been obscured by smoke from the Wallow fire near the New Mexico border in Alpine, Arizona. This fire is affecting the Albuquerque area by creating a cloud of smoke which besides the smell has caused some ash to fall from the sky.
Normally I have a clear view of the Sandias except when we have a storm.
It’s bad enough that the last two nights I have had to turn off the cooler because it was filling the house with the smell of forest fire.
This is going to be a bad year for fires unless we get some rain, which the Albuquerque area hasn’t received a significant rain storm since early this year.
The Arizona Republic as a good FAQ on the Wallow Fire and An image from the NOAA shows the smoke plume (I don’t know if the NOAA has a direct source to this image).
Update 06/07/2011: The trend for the last few days is the smoke goes away during the day and settles back in during the evening. It feels like a nuclear winter. Here are a few pictures I took from the office building last night, note the red dot which is the sun.
While the smoke here in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque is bad, it’s not nearly as bad as for those who actually live where the fire is. The local paper The White Mountain Independent has information about all of the evacuations in the area.
Latest map from the NOAA.
A couple driving from Tucson, Arizona to Chicago had their Chevy Trailblazer crushed when a Mcdonalds Golden Arches fell on it in Window Rock Arizona. 60MPH winds were apparently responsible for causing the sign to fall down. They were pretty seriously injured. This is probably part of the same storm that is in New Mexico now and I’ve had winds this fast at my house before. Imagine driving down the freeway with this kind of weather.
Window Rock is located on the Arizona and New Mexico border, north of Gallup New Mexico and north of Interstate 40. There’s a picture of Mcdonalds on Google Maps that could be the sign that crushed the car.
I wanted to take my Girlfriend and her boys to Carlsbad Caverns since none of them had been. I had been there once before. Since her sister lived in El Paso we decided to visit here for a day and go to Carlsbad the next day. I had never been to El Paso before and was expecting a dirty run down city. Being so close to the Mexico border and Juarez, Mexico. What I found there was a city bigger than Albuquerque and very historic.
The trip down Interstate 25 from Albuquerque to El Paso has nothing interesting to see. But it only takes about 4 hours. In El Paso you can see Mexico from the freeway. The Rio Grand is the border between Mexico and the US, and the river isn’t that wide at the border. Looking at the Mexican side of the border you see a lot of brightly painted houses and small streets. I can imagine what the US side looks like to the Mexicans with our tall buildings for shopping and industry. As if were mocking them with our prosperity.
We did not go into Juarez and the people we met there hadn’t been either/ They mostly told me that there wasn’t much there unless you want to go and party. On the next visit I don’t plan to go either. However on the next trip I hope to stay longer and check out the more historic parts of down town El Paso. On our way out of town there was a border patrol stop. It was interesting that it was there as it was. I wonder if they have one on every exit out of town. They just asked us if we were all Americans and then sent us on our way. It was a mostly boring ride down highway 62/180. But there was some interesting parts like Salt Flat, TX the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. El Captain is visible along the drive. Along the drive I saw quite a few abandoned gas stations and hotels. I often see them along I-40 when I drive to Arizona. I suppose there was a time in the early 1900’s that cars were less capable and it took longer to get from place to place so people needed to stay at hotels along the way.
The Caverns are just south of Carlsbad New Mexico. Prices are reasonable at the cave and they don’t charge for parking. It’s a long into the main part of the cave, half of which is just walking down. But don’t worry there’s is a elevator to take you back up. Bats live in the cave. At night there is a sitting area where people can watch the mass exodus. We did not stay to see that.
The drive back was the most horrible. I figure it takes 6 hours to get to Carlsbad going south of it via El Paso. There are no major high ways into Carlsbad and going north you have to take smaller state roads where the speed limit is 55-65 MPH. This makes a big difference on how long it takes and it must have taken us 9 hours to get back. Our route was north to Roswell the west to I-25. Since you pass through many towns along the way that slows you down even more, and just before we reached I-25 it seems like we had been driving for ever. Which we had. These sort of trips remind me that there was a time when people rode horse through this country with no road or stops along the way. There was some stuff to look at along the way and they were thinking I was lost. I kept assuring them I wasn’t lost, it just was taking a long time.
Lincoln New Mexico was in between Roswell and i-25. I had no idea this place even existed. There is a It is certainly a historic town, nestled in the middle of Lincoln Nation Forest. This National Forest is the birthplace of Smokey the Bear. If we ever go to Carlsbad again, for my Family’s sake I will drive south through El Paso
This week we made a trip to Arizona. Since I’m from there, still have family there and have rental property there I make these trips quite often. Usually I make a straight trip there from Albuquerque to Flagstaff then down to Phoenix. I can make it in less than 8 hours this way. This time however my girlfriend and I decided to take our time and check out the sites along the way. We got a late start that day. I was waiting for a package delivery from UPS and they didnt get here unitl about 2:30pm.
There isn’t a whole lot to see between Albuquerque and the Arizona/New Mexico border. There are several places we could have stopped but will have to save them for next time. First stop was the Petrified Forest National Park In Arizona. The wind was really bad that day and the smoke from the Tucson fire was blowing into the area. I could barely hold the camera still. The park service charges $10 per car, which seemed a bit expensive. The painted desert is beautiful. The main part with the petrified trees was kind of sad. Before the area was a national park people came and took parts of the peterfied wood, so there wasnt a whole lot to see there.I can imagine what it looked like before most of the larger pieces were removed. The park is now protected, so noting can be removed from it.
We got there about 6pm. The park closes at 7pm. So we started heading out at 6:45 when we were about half way through it only to see people still heading into the park. It was after 7 and were wondering why no one else is leaving. After were a few miles down the road I realize that New Mexico time is 1 hour ahead of Arizona time. So the park time was 6, not 7.
Once we got to Flagstaff it was night time and we were tired. We stayed at a Holiday Inn right near the freeeway. If your ever in Flag try no to stay there. There are train tracks about 2000 feet away. The train came buy at least 3 times that night and just had to toot his horn every time.
Once we left Flagstaff we headed to Sedona via State Route 89A. I was hoping to check out Slide Rock in Oak Creek Canyon. We just wanted to go down and take a look, but the park service wants $10 per car regardless of wether your getting in the water or not. We chose to no go this time. None the less the drive through the canyon was nice.
Once we arrived at Sedona we pretty much just checked out the main drag. A tourist trap with lots of shops. Nothing that interesting to see there. They do have tours that take you around which I’m sure are much more interesting. I’ll be posting more on my trip back to New Mexico.