The Sonoran desert falls behind us as we drive the black ribbon of asphalt. A blazing sun reflects off the brown earth and silver grasses now dry since the Monsoon ended a month ago. Saguaros and cholla give was to grass and scrub. We travel through Benson and the boulder strewn Texas Canyon. In Wilcox we pass the playa off to the south, and the apple orchards to the north. Farther east we pass pecan and walnut groves that are apparently open to the public. We drive on by, our eyes constantly on the horizon. I have a destination in mind and I want to get there before it’s too late.
Now the grasslands around us turn into gently sloping hills. I-10 starts a gentle but steady climb upwards. It is late in the afternoon and the sun is already casting long slanting shadows before us. The Chiricahua Mountains to the south define the topography with their tall and jagged peaks. Then, I see the sign and Gus pulls over. I have found “Someplace Else!”
I have never been to New Mexico before. I have never counted birds in New Mexico. We won’t cross far into the state but at least I can say I’ve been here. A few more miles east and we exit at Road Forks on highway 80. Here we head south towards the small town of Rodeo, a 22 mile drive. I’m giddy with excitement and all eyes as we turn Birdie south.
To be continued…
Weather: Sunny, warm and windy with gusts over 40 mph. Dust storms are possible, especially in Pinal county along I-10. The current temperature in Sycamore Canyon is 80 degrees F.