In Lordsburg, there must be at least a half-dozen "cheapie" motels. I
wasn't sure what the right criteria was for choosing one, but I pulled
into the driveway of the best-lit, cleanest-looking one appropriately
named the Budget Motor Lodge. My $24 home for the night delivered a
tidy, smoke-free room and a surprisingly neat and well-appointed bathroom
where a hot shower and fresh towels awaited. I rested well thanks to 800
miles of road wear and a couple of Nytol (I wasn't taking chances on
being tired the next day).
Lordsburg had its own set of surprises. The diner 1/4 mile down the road
not only served good roasted coffee, but had a modern rock station
creeping in over the speakers. Breakfast was even better with pancakes
so fluffy I wish I'd slept on them instead. Back in the B, I roared out
of town and down 10 on my way to Tuscon.
Steins, New Mexico is about ten miles east of the Arizona border and is a
minuscule town consisting of three or four ramshackle ranch houses from
the 1800s, some cactus, a big tan dumpster and a billboard announcing its
presence to passersby on the highway. Approaching Steins, all you really
see is a rocky ridge. What I saw was the rocky ridge and a full moon
about to set behind it. I raced to the Steins exit to get the shot. I
was surprised by the town sleeping at the base of the ridge. The
combination of the town, the ridge and the moon on top made an excellent
set of shots. This was the first of many surprises the desert held in
The best surprise was the temperature. By a quarter to ten in the
morning, the thermometer had eclipsed 70 degrees and was rising steadily.
It was time to find out what open-top motoring was all about in the
desert, in an MGB. Benjamin Franklin once quipped that wine is proof
that there is a God and that he wants us to be happy. I feel at least as
strong about beer, and perhaps moreso, about MGs. With the top off, I
discovered what an MGB was all about. All of the things that made me
fall in love with my Midget were there, but even better and in a car that
would travel greater distances, do so more quickly and carry more gear.
The B also has better wind protection, not to be taken for granted by any
By the time I reached Tuscon, the temperature was already past 80
degrees. At a gas station, I changed into shorts, and a t-shirt and set
off to discover the desert that lies between Tuscon and Phoenix.
December in the desert _ in an open top car _ was truly magnificent.
This trip was just getting better and better.
to be continued.....
"When I was a toddler, my dad wanted me to learn to program, but my mom
thought it would be better if I learned to read and write and spell."