Falling in Love with the Desert: The Story of Claunch


I became obsessed with this area. And while most people would look at me strange if they knew it is a vast desert of nothingness, I will still tell you that I fell in love. There is a reason why I took 3 1/2 hours to drive the 63 miles of road.

Being from New York City I’ve learned to appreciate places of total silence and isolation. My route was meant to drive past Co Road 55 (See Map) and continue North but when I passed the sign that said: “No Food, Gas, or Lodging”, I saw it as an opportunity to take a risk and go into the unknown.

I entered the road and immediately stopped my car in awe when I saw the incredible landscape. It was mesmerizing and seemed like something I would only see in books or movies.

I continued driving on the road, stopping every so often to take in the scenery, breathe the air, listen to the wind, look for animals, and get some sun.

Since then, I dream of this place almost every other day and it had such a profound effect on me. I walk around NYC knowing that there is so much more to life than all this hustle and bustle because I’ve seen it and experienced it with my own eyes.

Halfway through the journey I reached a very small town named Claunch. I thought, wouldnt it be amazing to meet someone who lives in this faraway town? I wondered what people were like, so I stopped my truck in the middle of the street.

I honked. I screamed out, “Hello!?” and waited but no one responded.

The town was dead. With its small church and “Elevator museum” (Which seems a bit ridiculous) the town of Claunch was like a ghost town only to be gawked at and viewed from afar. I’m sure people live there, but I didn’t meet them.

I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone but I’m almost positive most people haven’t experienced the world like this. Its a very unique and specific feeling of Isolation and Pure Emptiness that is incredibly beautiful.

There are even plenty of wildlife to catch. I saw 2 deer, a few hares, and plenty of large eagles. Better yet, If you like motorcycles, this road would be the perfect drive.

If you ever get the chance to see New Mexico and drive down one of these empty roads, take a risk, go beyond your limit, and explore areas that you would never think of exploring. You will thank me.

24 Comments