Friday, December 27, 2013


Roswell, NM to Cortez, CO | 477 miles

"Drive 137 miles on North Main Street," the GPS told us as we left Roswell at 7:18 a.m.

That gave us a good, long time to decide whether to end our day in Flagstaff or somewhere north. If winter weather was threatening, we planned to drive across Arizona and up California, through Oregon and into Seattle. But, the weather map opened up, leaving us a more direct route through Salt Lake City and Boise, a route I call the Northwest Passage.

So, when we reached the fork in the road at Albuquerque, we turned north, toward Shiprock and a detour to Four Corners, two sites that filled me with giggling anticipation.

Our path took us through towering formations of earth and rock, ravines and arroyos that sent my imagination on flights of fancy, the grandeur tickling my soul. It's fascinating to imagine what incredible forces both beneath and above the ground might have wreaked this mess of rock piles and gouges in the earth.

Ridges loomed up far on the horizon, snowcapped peaks to the west and north. As we left the town of Shiprock, the formation of Shiprock appeared to the west. We watched as it marched toward us, larger and larger.

"Surely there will be a scenic overlook to stop and take a picture," I said hopefully.

I was wrong. Eventually, I pulled off by a barbed wire fence.

Across from The Rock.

Sometimes pictures capture a scene, but in this case, it does squat. Shiprock is simply enormous. Chip feels that New Mexicans don't know what ships look like.

And then, just down the road, is the only place in the United States where four states meet. So, along with everyone else, we waited in line and took a picture in a state of confusion, parts of us in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

But the best part of this day was the sight we didn't even plan for, and we got there in the magical light of sunset.

Palace Rock near Cortez, Colorado. Outrageous.

Chip and the distant Shiprock, 33 miles away.

Roswell to Cortez, 477 miles.


  1. Oh, this brought back memories!

    I'm reliving some of our trip through yours.
    Thank you.

  2. And dang it. We missed Palace Rock. Fantastic photograph!

    (I keep an ongoing list of places we need to see. Just added Palace Rock. Thanks!)