Just got back from my annual trip to the Four Corners. My route took me from Baton Rouge to Houston, then from Houston to LLano, TX (Pronounced Lano in TX) for cheap gas, then Lea County, NM, then, over Roswell to Gallup.
Gas is only $3.70/gal in LLano. While we were fueling someone said: "You stop for Cooper's?" We said: "What's Cooper's?". Well, Cooper's is a BBQ restaurant. It's tough to get from Gallup back to Baton Rouge in one day, but Cooper's is so good, we made time to eat there on the way out and
on the way back. The picture is of my passenger, enjoying the fair. They keep 5 courtesy cars at the Llano FBO to handle all the flyers landing just to eat at Coopers.
It's always interesting flying in the mountains. The peaks are up to about 12,000' along my route. Temps are pretty high this time of year and you've usually got a head wind going west. I had trouble holding 10,500' at gross weight with the up and down drafts at 7pm local on the way out and had to nurse the throttle and mixture to keep the CHT's in line. No problem clearing terrain, but ATC likes it better if you hold it steady.
It was no problem holding 11,500' coming back at 7:00am with a tail wind. Going over Roswell was interesting though. The missile ranges and restricted areas create a big funnel. It's no fun to watch 4 bogies disappear suddenly on your GPS when you ADSB receiver goes south. ATC kept us safe though and I have a new receiver coming.
Gallup also has a missile launch facility. All I could hear on the CTAF coming in from the east was screeching which I assume was radio interference from the facility. Not much traffic in Gallup though and the long concrete runway is much appreciated at 6500' MSL.
Here's a picture of the valley looking north from Window Rock toward Fort Defiance. Beautiful country! John