DAY 8 - Palo Duro Canyon State Park, TX to Manzano State Park, NM

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After my nice hike in Texas in the morning, I got on the road and headed due West towards the sun for my next stop in New Mexico. All across Texas were 75mph two lane roads and endless flatlands. Apparently it was at elevation though since I could not get 91 octane!

At least the gas was cheap and the roads were fast. Until New Mexico. Then all of a sudden civilization went away and the speed limit became 55. Two hours of not seeing a single intersection or another soul on the road. The title image is about what it looked like. Although as the sun started setting and I tried to use my sun visor, this happened :

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The screws must have backed out at some point due to the vibrations of 3000 miles of adventure. So I was stuck using it by hand to keep myself from going blind. Plus my polarized lenses and floppy hat, but it was still difficult.

Once I got to my campsite just before dark, it was a beautiful new landscape of pine trees at 7000 feet. I set up camp quickly before dark, had my leftover pork chops, and then laid down under the beautiful stars! Of course I couldn’t get a picture with my phone but you could see the whole milky way. It was amazing.

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DAY 9 - Manzano State Park, NM to Phoenix, AZ

In the morning, the sun had come out showing a beautiful blue sky and the nice tall trees around me. It was around 30 degrees again so I was bundled up and made some hot cocoa. Then I headed out on a short hike to stretch out my legs and enjoy the nature around me.

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With just my short 3 mile hike out of the way, I made breakfast, packed up, and got on the road for the day by 930am. I had a long day ahead of me so it was good to have an early start. The main goal of the day was to hit AZ191, The Devils Highway!

Overall this was a long drive but quite the diverse adventure of high desert roads, steep mountain sweepers, crazy tight switchbacks, expansive views, and a change in altitude from 5000 feet up to 9000 and then back down to 3000, all within hours. The Devils Highway portion was truly a ‘Pines to Palms’ adventure though as it went through incredibly diverse areas and was completely deserted as my private race track.

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I didn’t take any pictures since I was too busy driving but it had some amazing views as well. There were clearly some major forest fires that had occurred there, along with some still burning in the distance. But even so, the trees around were massive and really added to the experience. I was happy to finally use my Miata again and actually hook up my harness for good measure. This was well worth detour and I will surely be going back just for that!

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As I again road on towards the sun, I eventually reached my airbnb in Phoenix for my LAST night on the road! Tomorrow I arrive at my apartment in Woodland Hills, CA after 10 long days of adventure. I will put together a final day post as well as a summary post with overall thoughts. Somehow nothing really broke on the car and I mostly stayed on schedule. Looking forward to some sleep after the long day today and will enjoy my home stretch tomorrow.