I left home before seven and headed north.
Past one of my favorite windmills,
Passing Whitewater Draw, I just blew a kiss, and zipped on through Elfrida. Past farms and farms and more farms. Then I had to stop at the border patrol checkpoint, a whole thirty miles north of the border.
Fams, farms, farms. This is the area where foreign corporate agra has sunk innumerable wells for crops to ship to their home countries. And in the process, they’re draining the aquifer, causing small farmers’ wells to go dry, destroying the central and northern parts of Cochise County. The area will eventually run out of water and the corporate farms will move on to kill another beautiful spot.
Then through Kansas Settlement.
I passed miles of corn being raised for the poor cattle at a monstrous feedlot. The pesticides on crops and the manure runoff are destroying area creeks that not long ago were still pristine.
I made a stop at Bonita Bean Company for a bag of locally raised pinto beans (much smaller farm than the agra farms).
And Dos Cabezas (Two Heads) towering over all.
On through Willcox and then, sadly, I had to drive on I-10 for about six or seven miles to the next off-interstate stretch of 191.
Through Safford and north on Highway 78 which cut east, eventually taking me into New Mexico for a time. New Mexico welcomed me.
Note all the bullet holes. What a welcome!
Up and up I went on a twisty road with fast-moving semis and few pullovers. It reminded me of the stretch of Mexico Highway 2 between Cananea and Imuris, and if you’ve driven that, you know. White-knuckle driving. Well, 78 wasn’t that bad.
But one empty livestock semi seemed to be chasing me. Truly.
Past a sign that warned of falling rocks, and the warning was backed up with a heavy metal mesh fence that held back tumbling boulders. At least I hoped it did.
I finally was able to pull over at the top of the pass to let the empty truck roar by. I got out to stretch and found the air to be deliciously fresh. I’d been driving through desert scrub, but when I got back into my car and rounded the curve at the end of the pass, I was in a pine forest! No wonder the air had smelled so fresh.
Even some wildlife, and some not-so-wild life.
Two small fauns, little ones that looked too young to have left their mother, hovered at the side of the road. I stopped and turned on my flashers, giving them safe passage.
They stared at me, hesitated, stepped onto the highway, and stopped. They stared some more and then dashed off across the road. The cow stared at me but never moved.
Lots more scenery.
Then I turned north toward Reserve and Luna. Luna Lake just outside Alpine, had a very low water level.
I saw any areas that had been burned.
And signs I never see back home.
And pine trees that turn yellow in fall and shed them their needles.
I stopped for the night in Springerville. Next door was a wonderful little coffee shop called Junk and Java. I saw some “junk” I absolutely loved and if they’d fit I’d have bought them.
Then dinner. Fish fry. Part cod and part catfish. The catfish had been dunked in egg and rolled in corn meal. It was delicious. Perfect end to a wonderful day.