The wide open, and wind-swept spaces of eastern Arizona and a new BMW 325i.

Bob & Jean bought a Euro-delivery 3-series wagon and it was delivered to a dealer in Vegas. Bob & i drove the car back to Houston since Jean's leg was not ready for a long road-trip.

    Link to maps of our meandering route from Vegas to Houston.

The reason for my facial expression and swept-back hair was due to my standing in front of a ~30 mph wind. We were driving just 36 hrs in front of a major storm that led to heavy rain/snow storms that hit the west coast and then later the mid-west states.

Close-up of the 4-wheel drive 328i (BMW dropped the 'ix' moniker a few yrs ago for their 4-wheel drive vehicles. This car joins a fleet of 3 other BMW wagons in Houston :-)

We stopped at the Carlsbad Caverns for a diversion.

Cactus flowers outside of the caverns.

Climbing up highway 78 to the Apache National Forest in eastern Arizona. The auto-manual and suspension of the wagon were more than up to the task. This stretch of road was prior to Carlsbad Caverns

Saguro cactii were common east of Phoenix. Along the drive, we noticed a dramatic change in the types of cactii, from barrel to yuka. Wish we had more time to stop, it would have been nice to shoot more pics (this one was taken from a moving car at 65 mph)..

View of eastern AZ.

Guadalupe Mountains National park east of El Paso.

The rock formations on the drive back were very complex, a mixture of sedimentary and igneous rock. Some strata were remarkably different in color and texture (wish my old geologist friends were on the drive). Climbing up the Guadalupe mountains got us up to the Permian basin which surprisingly, was about 5500 feet elevation.

A historic courthouse in LaGrange TX.

Part of the civic square around the courthouse in LaGrange. This reminded me of the Arcata civic square. Not shown, was a little shop that specialized in MG sports car restoration, not clear what kind of business he has since its about 60 miles east of Austin.

Lunch at the Bistro108 in LaGrange; prime-rib sandwich with hand-cut fries.

Outside the SiSenor in Las Cruces NM, we found a good parking spot for the Bimmer.

A tasty dinner at SiSenor.

Huevos Rancheros.

Our first meal before leaving Vegas: In-and-Out Burgers #1 where we each had double-doubles and fries. Also, another good parking spot for the Bimmer

In-and-Out Burgers #2 in Kingman. We ate light here, only had cheeseburgers, no fries

Breakfast at the Phoenix Costco, filling up both the gas tank and our bellies with dogs and coke! This Costco's floorplan was almost identical to the Portland OR Costco.

Miscellaneous views along I-10, also taken from a moving car.

In summary, it was a great driving trip. We may do it again with another new Euro-delivery car :-) but next time i'd like to spend more time in Fredericksburg TX which has a very strong Germanic flavor (several Bier gardens) -- we drove without stopping due to scheduling and a heavy fog layer. The exact route will likely be different to explore other parts of AZ, NM and eastern TX.

Tech notes: the pictures were taken with either an iPhone, Blackberry or Panasonic LX5; bonus points to folks who can identify them without looking at filenames :-). And yes, Photoshop was used on many of the pics.