I hopped out for attempt #2. Better.
And oh golly were the hounds excited!
At our last gas station stop in Arizona I opened Google Maps and scanned New Mexico for traces of green within an inch of I-40 (meaning park or forest areas where we wouldn’t have to detour too far off our route). All sorts of options showed up.
Despite the cold, the place was beautiful. Deep green pines, red-tinged dirt, and a wind-blown, ice-rimmed lake. Skittering down the rocky hill brought us to a sandy beach. Not exactly the best weather for a romantic beach walk, but it worked for us.