I was sad having to leave the Corona Motel—it’s a special place. Rhonda had gone into Albuquerque shopping, and she kindly took my grocery list with her (apples, oranges, baby carrots, yogurt, Triscuits, corn tortillas).
Last night she, her husband George, and their old friends Nancy and Eric invited me into the back room for a drink (I brought my Dr Pepper), and we shared personal histories and goals.
The town’s name, Corona, refers to the fact that it’s “the crown” or highest point of the region. There are so few students in the school that they can only field basketball and track teams; there aren’t enough kids for baseball or football. The arts are not a big factor, but 4-H and FFA are. Showing their special livestock at State Fairs is an excused absence from school. Classes are held on Monday through Thursday—the kids are needed on the farms and ranches the other days of the week, and they often have to travel long distances to get to school.
I have three weather apps on my iPhone, and all told me to expect windy conditions today, which turned out to be true. But fortunately it was a tailwind, which gradually scooted me mostly downhill from the steep elevation of Corona. Now I’m headed toward the Midwest, and all I can say is, Hallelujah!
I departed at 8 am and walked until 3:15 pm, clocking 20 miles. I hadn’t intended to walk this far, but when I reached the town of Duran there was no suitable place to pitch my tent, so I kept walking.
Duran, pop. 35, is basically a ghost town near the railroad track. This is a common story having to do with the evolution of the railroad industry, mining, and ranching.
It’s just as well that I kept on walking, because a mile or two down the road I spied a small trail through an open gate that led me to the best camping site I’ve had since starting this journey. It’s about time! While I’m still between Highway 54 and the railroad track, I am surrounded by trees and feel less exposed than usual.
Tomorrow I head toward the town of Vaughn, with uncertainty again as to where I’ll be sleeping. I’d have to say this feeling is the greatest source of any stress I feel on my journey.
@ Duran, New Mexico