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Jeeping Across America Part 7

Posted in Features on August 3, 2015
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Photographers: Rick Péwé

With over half of my cross-country Jeep trip completed, the rain had started to diminish even though the mud kept up its grip. The loaner XJ still ran well, although the hump and thump of the front tires was getting worse between 50-60 miles an hour. No cords were showing and the tires seemed fairly round so I kept truckin' on across the desert states of Texas and New Mexico. In the rain. Check out what treasures I found!

Ever hear of the Cadillac Ranch in Texas? It's where they bury some Cadillacs halfway upside down in field next to the freeway. I found a better one in Conway, Texas. I'm not sure what it's called but since it's all VW bugs it could be called the bug ranch or the beetle ranch.

I always stop in Conway Texas on my cross-country travels, because of the Flatty that used to be behind the Texaco station. Of course that was 30 years ago, and now all that's left is this awesome box Chevy.

I tried to go wheeling in the mud but kept getting stuck as the rain was so torrential the ground was soaked a foot deep. Luckily the roads are pretty straight so the high-speed slides through the slop didn't turn out too poorly.

New Mexico! That means only two more states to cross before California. I've managed to get about 15-18 mpg so far from the 4.0L but there hasn't been any real mountains.

Just over the New Mexico border from Texas is Russell's Car Museum/truck stop/GS station. Clean and cool, this place sports lots of vintage iron, and of course a CJ-2A. While not 100% correct, it's neat to see a driver in a collection.

Tanks are cool. I found another one at the Santa Rosa VFW post. However I couldn't tell if the barrel came that short as a mortar launcher, or was longer and whacked on purpose. Ideas? How about the blade?

Route 66 is known as the "Mother Road" as it stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles. Nowadays the Interstate highway system bypasses many small towns, leaving the culture, art, and cool architecture languishing in the weeds.

The rain was finally letting up after passing Albuquerque, and the topography was getting better too. The right front tire still thumped a bit at speed but staying off the interstate and following what's left of Rt. 66 helped.

The best junkyards are also off the freeway- and that's where the treasures are hidden. This one is by Gallup, New Mexico, and had the nice J truck with the stake bed seen earlier.

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