21-May-2000 -- I don't live in Albuquerque, but my
family does. I was visiting for an extended weekend to see my little
brother Mike graduate from High School, and I thought I'd pick up the
confluence just a bit east of Albuquerque. I borrowed a GPS from Dan
'The Man' Egnor and convinced my father to drive me out to Moriarty on a
hot Sunday afternoon.
Not all that hot, really, only about 85F or so. Albuquerque's
"monsoon season" doesn't kick in until July, usually. Anyway,
it's very dry there
(as evidenced by the recent fire in Los Alamos) and you can see that in
the pictures of lovely dessicated ranch grass in the field of the
Quick 30 mile drive east of ABQ on I-40. I-40 is just a 4-lane
divided freeway makeover of old Route 66. Just an exit and a couple of
turns through Moriarty's "business district" (Moriarty is not
exactly a huge center of civilization), and we were on some local
highway going arrow-straight east. Finding the confluence was fairly
easy; we were only a few seconds south of it and a couple miles west, so
we just went a couple minutes along the road, and I counted down the
seconds until we reached 106 W.
At this point, we almost had to give up, because the field was fenced
in barbed wire. It looked to be ranching land--scrub grass and bushes.
We stopped at the field gate, which looked as if it were locked, but it
only had a rusty chain holding it closed, so I unhooked the chain and we
went trespassing through the old cowpies. There was a windmill and a
small holding pen next to the gate, which you can see in the distance in
one of the pictures.
I was worried that the confluence would be hard to reach, because the
maps show it as being in a "borrow pit," a pit where they've
removed the soil for some other use, such as the foundation of a
building. No worries, though--just a slight slope down into a bit of a
depression that looked like it had been there at least 20 years. The
confluence itself was only about 200 yards south of the freeway. When
we were standing on the confluence, the GPS was picking up strong
signals from 9 different satellites. After a few pictures, we got out
and took off before any ranchers with long rifles showed up.
The elevation reading in the GPS picture is correct: it's about 6200
There's a reason they call them the "high plains." Looking
back southeast you can see the windmill next to field's gate. Another
northwestish and you can vaguely make out the shape of the mountains to
the west. The borrow pit was full of big, knotty, bush-trees. Dad's
standing in front of one of them (and at the confluence) in the first