From the Rio to the San Juan

Whatever New Mexico’s strategy is for maintaining highway 64 across northern New Mexico, it’s not working. I think our campervan got it’s suspension broken in though.

Rio Grande

Our route took us across the Rio Grande north of Taos to the San Juan river in the desert of southeast Utah. The easternmost leg was through flat, dry scrub land. The area looked as though it was a tough place to make a living.

From there we crossed the San Juan mountains through Carson National Forest, where we caught a bit of fall colors. Unfortunately the best bits of color we’re not in a place where I could pull off the road without making the local news in bad way, so I have no photos. ☹️

San Juan mountains

The route crosses another section of the Carson National Forest before hitting the oil fields of northwest New Mexico. The difference between north central and northwest New Mexico is stark. If the businesses along highway 64 are an indicator, it’s clear that the extraction industry has made a huge impact to the economy of the northwest.

We crossed up into Utah, stopping at Goosenecks State Park, overlooking a series of gooseneck bends in the San Juan to river.

It’s a primitive park – no water, no numbered camp sites. Just pay 10 bucks, pull up to the bluff and park for the night. Bring plenty of water though.

There’s a blue Transit campervan somewhere in this photo
Let’s try the 600mm zoom.

The scenery rocks.

Extraction – oil, gas, coal – has no doubt been one of the backbones of our economy for the last century or so. Cheap energy has brought us great wealth and almost obscene standards of living.

But that came at great cost. Japan fought WWII over access to oil, Germany’s drive to the Caucusses that ended in the Stalingrad disaster (or Soviet victory) was to secure it’s oil supplies so it could continue the war. We started and fought what I call the ‘Oil wars’ in Iraq so that we could maintain access to oil. For decades, we left behind the by-products and toxic waste from the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels. Many of us are still are denying the climate impact of our lifestyle.

The question for us is whether or not we can continue on the path of conspicuous consumption and leave future generations the task of cleaning up after us.

I view myself as one who cares about energy consumption. Our house is very efficient, our utility costs are low, we rarely use air conditioning. But I’m driving around to he country in a decked out cargo van that gets 15mpg.

I’m not very consistent I guess.

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