I found myself in the desert oasis of Clovis, New Mexico. I have to say a special thanks to Days Inn Hotels. I have stayed at a Days Inn every night of my trip (except the night at the ranch) They have taken very good care of me. All of the managers and clerks have gone out of their way to make my stay with them comfortable. As well as giving me information about things to see and places to visit. Kudos to Days Inn!
In Clovis I was surprised to find a glorious shopping mall complete with a Sears Auto Center. They kindly did a Sunday morning oil change for me. I figure that being kind to my car will help my car be kind to me. Clovis had every chain eating establishment available. Also a lovely movie theater, event center and rodeo arena. Too bad there wasn’t a rodeo while I was here.
A highlight for me was the Clovis city zoo called Hillcrest Park and Zoo.
The zoo hours seemed a bit odd to me, 9:00 am through 3:30 pm. Then I realized that due to the extreme afternoon heat, the zoo closes so that both visitors and animals can be safely out of the sun. I arrived at 9:30 and was one of only a handful of visitors. I’ve never experienced a zoo in such an unrushed and peaceful way. It was a glorious way to stop and visit with each animal. And they seemed eager to visit with me as well. Each animal came forward to the front of their exhibit area when I said ‘Good Morning’ to them.
The monkeys are a favorite of mine. They have energy, curiosity and more energy. Kind of like me! There were several varieties of monkeys, hyenas, a mother and baby giraffe, and then…
This rooster, I dont’ know what breed because he was NOT in his area, took a liking to me and followed me from exhibit to exhibit. He was very small, I would have been able to hold him in one hand, but he had a very loud cock-a-doodle-doo!
Near the pond, there were several varieties of ducks, geese and peacocks. The male peacocks were entering into their mating season and were proudly displaying their gorgeous feather fans. They were apparently disoriented as they were attempting to get the attention of the emus, who couldn’t have cared less.
I enjoyed my time at the zoo. But all things must venture on, including me. I was back on the road heading west on Interstate 70. For a very long, hot time. Did you know that it’s darn hot in the desert? I found out first hand. The temperatures reached 108 as I drove the rather lonely black top. Every now and then another car would be traveling, but for most of the afternoon, I drove on my own. I reached Roswell at mid-afternoon and kept pushing through reaching the Lincoln National Forest area near Rudisio New Mexico. There have been many reports of extreme forest fires in New Mexico. Once in this area I saw evidence of the fires. There were hillsides with blackened twigs standing where once proud trees were. The skies became hazed with latent smoke drifting into the area.
As you can see, the landscapes are breathtaking even with the haze of smoke. However, the smoke did play havoc with my nose. It began running nonstop. By the time I reached Alamogordo even my eyes were running.
But even with the smoke and runny nose, the pool area of the hotel and the mountains in the background, formed a wonderful retreat at the end of my day.