After leaving Albuquerque I headed south and then west as I wanted to see the "Very Large Array" (VLA) near Datil. (It was in the movie "Contact" as well as a couple of other movies that I don't recall.) It is conveniently on the way between Albuquerque and Morenci, AZ where my daughter lives.
Very desolate country there and and you have to make sure you have gas. I had planned on stopping in Magdalena for gas as there was a nice new looking Valero gas station showing on Google Street view. Only problem is that when I got there it appeared to be permanently shut down. If I didn't gas in Magdalena I would not have enough gas to go to the VLA and continue on to Morenci directly. I would have had to backtrack, gas at Socorro and take the interstate around. It would have added at least two or three hours. Fortunately a ranger told me there was a little gas station I had missed on the way through town. Only regular but I knew my Strom would run fine on it if needed.
After that more wide open space before getting to the VLA:
The VLA is on an ancient dried up lake bed. I saw at least 5 Dust Devils and perhaps a few more. There is one crossing the highway up ahead on this picture and there was another one behind that doesn't show in the picture:
The radio-telescopes are moved around on rails. On the way into the center you cross the tracks. I almost wiped out leaving this spot after the picture as the gravel was very loose and some of it was round river rock:
The radio telescopes are spred out across the deseert:
These things are BIG! About 100 feet tall: