Lemitar, New Mexico to Lyman Lake State Park, Arizona (AKA, Driving US 60 West)

Lyman Lake State Park, Arizona

March 16, 2020

The map shows that US 60 is not completely straight from Socorro, New Mexico to Springerville, Arizona, but you could have fooled me. A two-lane highway that stretched out as far as I could see. There were mountains involved - I spent all the drive above 6,000 feet and climbed as high as around 8,000 feet. I saw several cyclists spinning their way; hats off to them.

US 60 is certainly one of my favorite drives so far. Today’s drive was through just vast areas of nothing but spectacular scenery. I drove through a handful of “towns;” a better word might be village or crossroads. Not even a Dollar General store! I was glad I filled the Sequoia up with gas after I did my laundry. I might have seen four gas stations along the drive - and they were all “off brands.” I’m loving seeing gas below $2.00 per gallon.

I didn’t want to drive as much today but my attempt to find a campsite in Apache National Forest did not bear fruit - the campsites are closed until May 1st. I could have found that out online but I had zero bars during most of my drive.

Kind of bummed to be leaving New Mexico - Lake Lyman is an Arizona State Park. I definitely want to return. The geography is so wonderful. I need to get out a state map and plan my next visit!

I hope you will enjoy my slideshow from today. The soundtrack are two songs by the Temptations - the first of which was made famous by Marvelous Marvin Gaye. Can you guess the song??

This slideshow contains some interesting road signs (of course), the VLA (Very Large Array), some landscape shots when it was cloudy and some landscape shots when it was sunny. I broke out my 70-200 lens - you can probably tell what shots I took with it. i really like my photos of Pie Town, New Mexico. And sorry for my continued use of the me-standing-in-the-road shots, but I like how they turn out! 🤪🤙😎

Here’s some information about the Very Large Array and Lake Lyman State Park.


The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) is a centimeter-wavelength radio astronomy observatory located in central New Mexico on the Plains of San Agustin, between the towns of Magdalena and Datil, ~50 miles west of Socorro. The VLA comprises twenty-eight 25-meter radio telescopes (27 of which are operational while one is always rotating through maintenance) deployed in a Y-shaped array and all the equipment, instrumentation, and computing power to function as an interferometer. Each of the telescopes is mounted on double parallel railroad tracks, so the radius and density of the array can be transformed to adjust the balance between its angular resolution and its surface brightness sensitivity.  Yeah, like he said.

The driving force for the development of the VLA was David S. Heeschen. He is noted as having "sustained and guided the development of the best radio astronomy observatory in the world for sixteen years."  Congressional approval for the VLA project was given in August 1972, and construction began some six months later. The first antenna was put into place in September 1975 and the complex was formally inaugurated in 1980, after a total investment of nearly $80 million. It was the largest configuration of radio telescopes in the world.

With a view to upgrading the venerable 1970s technology with which the VLA was built, the VLA has evolved into the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA). The upgrade has enhanced the instrument's sensitivity, frequency range, and resolution with the installation of new hardware at the San Agustin site. A second phase of this upgrade may add up to eight additional dishes in other parts of the state of New Mexico, up to 300 km away, if funded.

The VLA is a multi-purpose instrument designed to allow investigations of many astronomical objects, including radio galaxies, quasars, pulsars, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, radio-emitting stars, the sun and planets, astrophysical masers, black holes, and the hydrogen gas that constitutes a large portion of the Milky Way galaxy as well as external galaxies. In 1989 the VLA was used to receive radio communications from the Voyager 2 spacecraft as it flew by Neptune.  A search of the galaxies M31 and M32 was conducted in December 2014 through January 2015 with the intent of quickly searching trillions of systems for extremely powerful signals from advanced civilizations.

It has been used to carry out several large surveys of radio sources, including the NRAO VLA Sky Survey and Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-Centimeters.

Astronomers using the VLA have made key observations of black holes and protoplanetary disks around young stars, discovered magnetic filaments and traced complex gas motions at the Milky Way's center, probed the Universe's cosmological parameters, and provided new knowledge about the physical mechanisms that produce radio emission.

In September 2017 the VLA Sky Survey (VLASS) began. This survey will cover the entire sky visible to the VLA (80% of the Earth's sky) in three full scans. ] Astronomers expect to find about 10 million new objects with the survey — four times more than what is presently known.

Lyman Lake State Park

Created as an irrigation reservoir by damming the Little Colorado River, Lyman Lake State Park is a 1,200-acre park that encompasses the shoreline of a 1,500-acre reservoir at an elevation of 6,000 feet. It is fed by snowmelt from the slopes of Mount Baldy and Escudilla Mountain, the second and third highest mountains in Arizona. Water is channeled into this river valley from a 790-square-mile watershed extending into New Mexico.

Lyman Lake is one of the few bodies of water in northeastern Arizona with no size restrictions on boats. The west end of the lake is buoyed off and restricted as a no wake area.. This allows the angler a chance at a variety of fish without the proximity of speedboats and water-skiers. The fishery consists of walleye, channel catfish and largemouth bass. The large remainder of the lake is open for all other types of water sports.

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