Well, I left Oklahoma about 3 weeks earlier than I had originally planned. I can't say I regret the decision. I'll have less money to live off of, but I think I'm going to get used to this whole frugality thing. :)
I arrived in Tucson yesterday night around 8:00 pm. The drive took a total of 2 days. The first leg of the trip lasted for about 9 hours: Tulsa to Roswell, NM. There wasn't really much to it, seeing as how Oklahoma is rather uneventful in its entirety and the Texas panhandle has nothing to offer except for the pungent odor of cow crap. Lovely. It was cool once I crossed into New Mexico. The highway from Portales to Roswell was quite dark and a little on the boring side, but I made it to town around midnight and found my host's house with little effort.
Jeff was an extremely friendly and accommodating host (he made me dinner and breakfast!), and I'm so glad I was able to get some decent sleep before hitting the road the next day to do the whole 9 hour thing all over again.
The next morning I got up pretty early and roamed around a small strip of downtown Roswell just long enough to see the UFO museum and to talk to one of the owners of the gift shop next door. Roswell is a pretty cool little town.
I left Roswell on highway 70, which was a nice combination of canyons and long stretches of grassy hills all the way to Las Cruces. I stopped in a few places to take pictures (of course) and had lunch along a wonderful section of highway that had a distant view of the white sands a little outside of Alamogordo.
The White Sands National Monument was amazing. It was miles and miles of snowy white Gypsum sand as far as I could see, bordered on the east by a grassy plain and on the west by mountains. I stopped for about 2 hours to hike around one of the dunes and drive into the heart of the park where the roads disappear and everything is covered in the fine white dust. It was surreal being there - the sand was cold just a few inches beneath the surface, there was barely a breeze, and there were no sounds except for the faint humming of a fly every now and then. Absolutely amazing. I highly recommend that anyone traveling in New Mexico take the time to stop and see it - you won't be disappointed.
After leaving the White Sands I stopped taking pictures for awhile. I felt like I needed a steep dose of caffeine and the road seemed endless once I left the scenery in New Mexico. I crossed into Arizona around 6:00 pm or so, and from there I only had a couple hours to go before arriving in Tucson. The road leading into the city had some pretty nice rest stops with beautiful rock formations, but I was distracted on the phone, and all I really wanted at that point was to get out of my car and get some good food in me. I found Garrett's house with a little help, and he and I had a lovely reunion after almost 3 years of not seeing one another. All in all, it was a full and satisfying day, and I'm glad I made it here alive and with minimal problems. More to come soon!