Wednesday, August 27, 2003

83: WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAYS

6: NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY


DAY 6
Santa Fe/Los Alamos/Espanola/Chama/Pagosa Springs, CO/Durango/Cortez/Monticello, UT/Moab

Time to start heading north...but first a sidetrip to Los Alamos, home of the Manhattan Project. It was worth the trip just for the scenic drive along New Mexico 566. Discovered Chevy Cavaliers don't like putting on speed while going uphill, but the car never overheated. Stopped at the Bradbury Science Museum, home of atomic-age artifacts.
One amusing, yet still frightening one in light of recent paranoia, was this notice...



Models of Fat Man and Little Boy were on display...not the originals, but similar casings from the period. Most of the museum was gung-ho about the benefits of nuclear physics, but efforts were made to show the downside.


Not a buh...

Drove back to US 84 and grabbed lunch at a Subway in Espanola. We were stuck behind a family who we suspected had never stepped foot in a Subway before, or were used to everything going to their picky, picky standards. The mother asked questions about the content of half the sandwiches, then discovered anything could be turned into a salad. She kept insisting on 3 slices of cheese on the side and some extra bread, in a tone that suggested her family's life depended on this. The workers were relieved when they took our order, making snide comments about the folks ahead of us while they were still there. All this time, the line grew...

Not much to report on the next leg, other than the scenery, which was beautiful.


One of the lesser examples of the scenery along US 84

Quick pit stop in Chama (dash off e-mails), then we crossed into Colorado. Endless construction until we hit Pagosa Springs, where the power went out in a grocery store. Drove along US 160 in on-again/off-again rain until it was time for dinner in Durango. Looked like a resort which would have been interesting to stop in if we had time other than dinner. Eat we did, at an Italian place called Mama's Boy. Another winner...garlic soup, mmmm...

On the road for a few more hours. At Cortez, we hopped onto US 666 - "The Devil's Highway" - which I imagine some fundamentalists pressured the government into changing. According to this article, seems the road has been hexed over the years (though I found it a nice highway to drive along at dusk into Utah). As of a few months ago, the highway is now known as US 491...though US 666 markers remain for the timebeing for the transition.


Lead us not into temptation...

(OK, the liquor store was not on 666...but it was close enough).

Drove into Utah in the dark, unsure of what kind of landscape was around us. Drove into Moab late and managed to get one of the last rooms available at a Microtel. Place was unusually active for a small town around 10pm (later learned Moab was a resort town, a gateway for rafters and mountain bikers). Followed what was becoming a pattern on the trip - quick dip in the pool, then lights out.

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