Hippies, Aliens & A Whole Lotta Nothing (ML Across America Stage 4)

Silver City began the day looking decidedly less sinister than it had the previous night.

Back on the main street I detected a strong concentration of old hippies as we passed more than two art galleries with hand-painted signs.  My suspicions were confirmed when the guy running the coffee shop was rocking round specs and an Indiana Jones hat.  At least he was kind enough to recommend a place for breakfast.

Westbound again we took US-180 towards Texas.  Kind of.

The road snaked through mountainous central New Mexico in a linked series of hairpins that made me pine for my sportbike.

I was at the helm and kept the revs high enough to keep myself interested, which meant another workout for the 4×4’s well-exercised suspension.  Sway bars creaked as I loaded the left, powered on, braked, loaded the right, powered on again… and carried on for another hour or so until, as if by divine intervention, somebody ironed out the road and we were gunbarrel straight again.

The Merc settled out of the last corner and I put the hammer down.  The usually subtle V6 made itself known with a kitten-roar as the MPG gauge plunged into single digits and the rev counter surged.  Tunnel vision set in and we figured out about how quickly the SUV could travel before its drag coefficient got the better of it.

Despite the throat-clearing I allowed our engine, the ride to Roswell seemed to take forever and a half… an annoyance amplified by the disappointment that occurred at not seeing a single alien in the entire ten hour period we spent in town.

Which is, by the way, well worth skipping next time you’re passing through the region.

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