Day 110. Saturday 17th August. Santa Rosa to Grants, New Mexico.


Waking around 7am. Breakfast made in the Landy and we are on our way by 9am. The first stop was a car museum, just down the road. It’s nothing flash but a lot of old ’50’s & ’60’s memorabilia. There were a couple of nicely prepared cars. One a 1938 Buick straight 8 Coupe and a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado. It has been restored and quite well done. Everything looking original. It’s for sale at $29,000. Mmmm. not a bad price. Moving right on..:)

Driving out of Santa Rosa along the old Route 66, the place is clinging on to the history of the Old Road but only just. Petrol stations and restaurants abandoned. 

We tried to stay on the old road but every time it ended at a farm gate or just had a fence blocking it off. The I-40 it had to be. This is insanity. Trucks flying past at 75+ mph(120kph). I noticed that there is no chivalry amongst truck drivers here. It’s every man or woman for themselves. A driver two trucks behind wont wait for the truck in front of him to pull out and pass. They will drive around and block him in, with no compunction.

It’s fascinating to me, seeing the fairly small diversity of truck makes. What is clear in this part of America that European trucks are trouncing the American brands. Freightliner and Volvo are the most popular. The newer American trucks such as Kenworth and Mack are copying the European style. Peterbuilt, White and Western Star are staying with the traditional style.

At Moriarty we were invited to rejoin R-66 with 40 miles to go to reach Albuquerque. We took it and not long after we noted the I-40 running parallel, was stationary. There must have been an accident just before we left it. For some time we cruised along the old road but further on encountered traffic joining the old road, to get around the bottleneck ahead.  Gridlock. It wasn’t long before the old road was jammed up too. It took us a couple of hours to do the 14 miles to Albuquerque. We never saw what caused the hold up but the road was jam packed with trucks. 

Albuquerque is Mexican with an American veneer.

Stopping in the centre of the city I noticed a sign that was fairly forthright. You have to love the prefix and suffix..:) Close by, a lovely mural on a Bank wall.

We found the ‘Old Town’ part of the city and parked up to wander around the shops. The architecture is Spanish with Mexican art and artefacts for sale. The atmosphere is relaxed and very pleasant. We could hear a Pan flute and guitar being played, so sauntered over to enjoy the music. It’s beautiful. We bought a CD. We’ll have to wait till we get back to NZ to load it down on the iPod, as we don’t have a CD player in the iMac. 

After an ice-cream it’s time to find a grocery or supermarket to stock up on food. We found one that sells fuel also. Jen had fun in the supermarket as everything was in Spanish but she managed to get most of what we wanted.

We then filled with diesel and were on the road again by 4.30pm headed for Grants, 40 miles away. Would you believe it, after 10 minutes back in I40 the traffic ground to a halt again with two solid lines as far as we could see ahead. This time it was due to roadworks. Two lanes being reduced to one. 

The countryside has changed dramatically. Beautiful rock formations with high flat top cliffs and wide valleys. Scrubby vegetating with a little golden grass. Traditional Mexican towns with a cluster of buildings on a hill.

The Landy has been down on power since filling up yesterday. I think, or I am hoping, it is due to a percentage of Bio Diesel in the last fill. I am also hoping the new tank full is petroleum based. The lady at the cash register had no idea what I was talking about when asking if there was any Bio in the mix.  

An observation. This is a large diverse, dynamic country. However, because of this, there seems little knowledge or understanding of the world and what is happening outside this country’s borders?

It’s a little cooler in Grants this evening. Lets hope this signals a change.

The Land Rover attracts endless attention. One guy stood looking at it for a few minutes and said “man is that for real”? “That’s one bad ass machine”..:)

All Black 30 Australian Wallabies 0. Equilibrium restored, for now..:)

Black Caps beaten by Sri Lanka by 6 wickets. ..:(

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  1. Interesting point about the bio content in diesel fuel. There’s probably some in all the fuel you have purchased in the USA but the content can vary. The percentage of bio is given in the labelling, eg B20 means 20% bio diesel / 80% petroleum diesel.

    I found this comment at the Alternative Fuels Data Center (part of US gov’t) website:
    “B20 and lower-level blends can be used in current engines without modifications. Engines operating on B20 have similar fuel consumption, horsepower, and torque to engines running on petroleum diesel. B20 with 20% biodiesel content will have 1% to 2% less energy per gallon than petroleum diesel, but many B20 users report no noticeable difference in performance or fuel economy.”

    While another website gives this comment:
    “However, currently the only type of biodiesel fuel that can be used in vehicles in the United States and Canada without violating manufacturer’s warranties is B5, a blend of 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent regular diesel.”

    Perhaps you unknowingly found some B20? I suspect that a lot of the diesel fuel used during last year’s part of the expedition also contains up to 5% bio.

  2. Yes, Jen, look like the same museum we went to!

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