After walking due west across Texas for almost 500 miles, I turned south yesterday at a place called Arkansas Junction.
There was nothing there except a cafe which had just closed for the day, but when the owner saw my Coast to Coast banner she invited me in and gave me a drink. She also more or less ordered one of her staff to take me to the next town, Carlsbad, of caverns fame.
So I've established forward base camp there, and now have to catch up with myself by walking the 55-mile, three-day stretch between Arkansas Junction and Carlsbad.
I dislike using the word 'boring', but sometimes no other description fits the bill. The road cuts a dead-straight line through featureless semi-desert, the sun glares remorselessly and headache-inducingly off the white concrete surface, and the only indication of any progress on my part is the mileposts, something I've not seen before except on interstates.
I tried to relieve the monotony by timing myself between posts, but this only served to make the time pass even more slowly and remind me of how my pace flagged as the afternoon wore on.
I shall make sure I have several hours of BBC radio 4 podcasts with me tomorrow - they've saved my sanity more than once during this walk.
Meanwhile, the big news on everyone's lips here at the moment is cockfighting. After an eighteen-year battle, the New Mexico senate has passed a bill banning this dubious form of entertainment, leaving Louisiana as the only state where it's still allowed.
The sport's supporters fought a vigorous rearguard action. One argument they put forward was that the state's economy would be badly hit by the loss of $20 million a year in chicken-feed sales. Another was that cockfighting was simply harmless family entertainment. I enjoyed this response in the letters column of the local paper:
'I have to wonder about this one. I have a young granddaughter and granted we both agree that there is nothing better than enjoying a good blood bath in a air conditioned room with soft drinks, some ding dongs and a bag of popcorn. Oh, I forgot, a chilidog would be nice. But some of these luxuries aren't available at these events. So call us soft, but I guess we'll just stay at home and watch Rambo re-runs on TV.'
Talking of dead animals, I went to yet another excellent barbecue restaurant last night. One lipsmacking item on the menu immediately caught my eye. It read:
DEEP-FRIED IN CHOLESTEROL
FREE CANOLA OIL.