We left Gallup in the morning, and not too far eastward everything began to look hazy. Then it was more than hazy: everything began to look foggy. We noticed that some drivers coming the other direction had their headlights on. Then I began to smell smoke very faintly. “This must be the smoke from the wildfires in Arizona,” I said to Carol.
When we got to the BLM ranger station at El Malpais National Conservation Area, there was a note under the day’s weather forecast about the smoke from the wildfires. From the trail behind the ranger station, we could see how a range of mountains to the north of us was mostly obscured by the smoke:
We stopped for a late lunch in Albuquerque. I couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant Dad had recommended, so we went to Old Town. Although it was very tourist-y, we agreed that we were tourists, so it seemed just about right. The owner of Bebe’s Cafe chatted with us while she made our sandwiches. Carol asked how she was doing in this economy, and she said that she was doing well enough. “I think places like this are doing well,” she said. “It’d comforting to go out for a meal, but people will pass by the more expensive restaurant to come here.” She asked if we had seen smoked from the wildfires, and we said that we had.
East of Albuquerque, the land gradually flattened out. The mesas got smaller, the dry washes weren’t as deep, until at last the land was pretty much flat and we were in the Great Plains:
And all along the highway we saw signs warning of extreme wildfire danger.