If there was an award for the most hardworking New Mexico road crew of the DOT, it would have to be the one that put in a new bridge over I-40 at milepost 177. The Department of Transportation did it with the least problems for those who use I-40 every day to get to work in Albuquerque. The speed limit, at 55, was reasonable and safe. Those who do such important and monumental tasks need the drivers to be aware of how dangerous it can be to move tons of concrete and pyramids of dirt in this effort.
The area was christened Zuzax by the family that owned the gift shop when the only road was Route 66. Tourists visiting the Land of Enchantment for the first time could stop there and get cold cherry cider while perusing genuine turquoise trinkets or Native woven blankets. There were feathered head dresses, Zorro swords, piñon incense, and bows and arrows with rubber tips. They even had a chairlift to ride up the mountainside and see roadrunners with coyotes.
They have done a fine job with the new bridge and are in the process of cleaning up, ready for the rush of semis and vacationers. The only part of the process I missed out on was the take-down of the old bridge. One minute it was there and the next afternoon it was gone. How do they do it?
I think DOT is really like the television show “Ancient Aliens” and how they built the pyramids by starlight. And it must have been magic the way they painted magnificent murals along Interstate 25 in Sante Fe. The colors on those animals of mischief are a joy in traveling the road. The coyotes might just catch the roadrunner in the capital. And let us not forget DOT must have had some powerful shamans to throw such sacred Native American pottery on the center median of Albuquerque’s I-40. These pots are gigantic, and the designs are indicative of the true talent of Native artists. They need to cut down some of the growth surrounding the pots. They block the colors which you can see going east or west. The sign entering Albuquerque says, “Welcome and Bienvenidos.” They should add, “Best in the West for freeway art.” I would help pay for that. We give the DOT grief when we hit a pothole, but I see them working on most of our roads in good weather and bad. Maybe a little encouragement will draw attention to that, especially now everyone is getting back to work. This will be the “new” normal. We could all use some “attaboy,” when we do it right. So here’s to the new bridge at Zuzax. You can’t get New Mexico souvenirs made in China there anymore, but the smooth ride makes up for it.
And now a short personal note. This comes out on Friday, but yesterday on June 17, 2021, Bill and I have been married 49 “Happy” years. For anyone that does not believe in “true love,” and finds Disney movies about love sappy, get over it. Sometimes when you are really, really lucky and work very hard, true love is looking at you over the dinner table. And if there is chicken fried steak with rice and gravy, you can have cake too. That can be and is true love. Roaring Mouse, wiping a tear with love, out.