Anyway. Eleven years ago yesterday, I climbed into the car and headed west out of Silver City for forty miles, then when that highway turned north, I turned west again onto a smaller road. The warning signs were a bit off-putting, "steep mountain grades, sharp curves, no commercial traffic," but the road itself was much better than what I'd been driving on for the last two days. The worst was a couple of 15 mph switchbacks. "And it was very scenic -- ponderosa pines, junipers, golden cottonwoods, wide grassy fields. At one point it took me out on the end of this finger of land jutting out into a valley, then in gentle swooping curves down to it.
A nice desert view
"I was, however, having a hard time enjoying it this morning. Something in the car (not the car itself) was rattling. It sounded like someone crumpling a piece of paper over and over and over again. It was about to drive me mad. I must have pulled over to the side of the road half a dozen times and rearranged where I thought it was coming from, but the problem with that, of course, is that the noise stops when the car does, so I didn't have a prayer of pinpointing it.
"The strangest things can drive you bonkers when you've been traveling alone for a long time. That sort of thing has been my bete noire off and on during this trip. Car noises. People snoring. People acting like idiots on the road or in hostels.
"Anyway, the rattle mysteriously vanished when I stopped for lunch in a little town amidst the cotton fields called Safford."
I arrived in Globe, Arizona, about 2:30 in the afternoon. I'd been having a craving for ice cream all day, so I hit a Dairy Queen for a butterscotch sundae, then went looking for a motel. It was a good thing I didn't put that off any later. There was a rodeo in town, and I got one of the very last rooms for the night.
When I asked the desk clerk what there was that was interesting to do, she told me about an archaeological site on the edge of town, so I went there. "Another group of Indians contemporary with the Anasazi except that these folks built pueblos rather than cliff dwellings." They were called the Saludo, and the site was called Besh ba Gowah:
A view of the site
One of the exhibits
A closeup of one of the reconstructed buildings
After that I prowled the main street, bought some milk, and went back to my room to rest.
I think the heat was beginning to get to me. There's something just Wrong about 90dF+ temperatures in the middle of November.