Playing Catch Up

As most of you can probably tell, I’ve been playing catch up and back dating this blog for quite some time. In the essence of moving out of the past and into the present, here are a few photos & photo albums of my travels through New Mexico.

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To Albuquerque

So last night I drove from Albuquerque to Cochiti Lake, NM. What I didn’t realize was that my GPS recognized Cochiti Lake as an actual town, not the lake itself. So I arrive, realize it’s not where I want to be and ask a security guard where the lake is. His directions seemed simple enough but next thing you know, every street is Cochiti this and Cochiti that and there I go down a dirt road by the name of Cochiti Puebla. One thing about New Mexico is that you’re pretty much on reservation land more often than not. So there I am, bumping along with dirt swirling up behind me with no where to turn around. I passed actual adobe pueblos and one had painted on the side of it “No photos or sketching as outlawed by the governor”! I had already guessed that I was on the wrong path but after reading that and seeing dogs laying in the road everywhere, I realized that I was on an Indian reservation at 1am! Luckily the road eventually curved around and I headed back the way I came.

Once again I found the security guard and he escorted me to the actual body of water. Since it was late and I didn’t want to disturb the other guests, I decided to park in the restroom parking lot and pick a good site in the morning. Around 6am, my propane gas detector alarm wakes me up and my refer light is blinking at me which indicates that my propane tank must be empty. My plan is to leave Wanda parked at Cochiti Lake and head up to Los Alamos to see my family for a few days. Not a good time to be uncertain about a propane leak! So I turned the propane off knowing that my refer will start to warm up and opened all Wanda’s windows and door. One nice thing was the sunrise that I caught.

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Cochiti Lake

Long story short, I spoke with a propane expert and he thought it was probably just that my tank was almost empty and for some reason they often emit the propane smell as a warning of sorts. It sounded a bit odd to me so to be on the safe side I decided to pack up the food in my refer and take it with me so that I can leave the propane off while I’m gone. Then off to Los Alamos I went!

I swear my drive to across the U.S. just gets more beautiful as I go!

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To Los Alamos

Truth or Consequences, NM a.k.a. The Best Parking Spot OR Most Expensive Milkshake

Last night, I rolled into Las Cruces to find a Starbucks so that I could figure out where I’d like to stay for the night. Then I realized that it was Saturday night and I hadn’t been out at a bar in quite sometime. And part of this trip is to meet people, dammit! I realized that if I left immediately, I could be in Albuquerque by 11:00p. So I checked out some online reviews and was on my way.

While driving along I realized that my GPS was an hour later that I thought it was. Then I checked my phone and my vehicle clock. They were all different! I knew that my GPS detected New Mexico when I crossed the border automatically so I thought that maybe it changed time on its own too. As I started to loose faith in thinking that I knew what time it actually was., I also started to get tired. And the thought of getting all the way to Albuquerque and the bar being closed really wore me out.

The next Walmart that allowed overnight parking was in Truth or Consequences, NM and what can I say, I’m a sucker for a town with a fun name so I decided to stop for the night. The only Wi-Fi was at a nearby hotel so I park between it and a McDonalds to see if I can grab a signal. A McDonalds screen popped up but wouldn’t give me access so I decided to go in and find out if I needed a password or what the deal was. Unfortunately, they didn’t even know they had Wi-Fi there so I decided to order a chocolate milkshake and be on my way. Then the cashier informed me that my small chocolate milkshake would be $3.21! I quickly reminded her that I had ordered a small and but she just nodded. I hadn’t had a chocolate milkshake at McDonald’s in many years but that seemed a bit more than necessary so I asked her why that seemed high to me. She launched into this obviously repeated daily dialogue about how they don’t have any competition therefore their prices are high because they can charge whatever they’d like! Well that wasn’t an appropriate answer so no milkshake for me thank you! Even though I opted out of enjoying a chocolate milkshake, I felt good knowing that in a very small way, McDonalds was shown the consequence of its corporate greed.

Once parked and settled, I opened my computer to write a bit. Low and behold I had Wi-Fi! Sooo not a bad spot to pick for the night, thank you! A bit of writing and I was off to bed. At around 7am this morning I was awakened suddenly by plummeting rain and the LOUDEST thunder my wussy Cali girl ears have ever experienced! Super Cool! The rain stopped about 5 minutes later, the sun came out and holy bajeez but I have 360 degree views all the way around. Views and free Wi-Fi, what more could I ask for! Seriously people, it’s the simple things in life that can be most magnificent. So heck, with all this abundance, I’m going to stay for at least the day and get caught up.

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More Early Morning Views

What do The Thing, a Ghost Town and a Giant Roadrunner All Have in Common?

They’ve all been visited by me and Wanda today! For a over hundred miles yesterday and today, I’ve been seeing signs that say “The Thing”.

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We all know it’s not actually “The Thing” but I start to get curious of course (you would too, don’t lie). I mean they know that you’ve been driving along, not much to see and probably need to stop anyway. And if you have kids, forget about it, they’ll whine until you do stop. When I walked into the gift shop I knew that the shop alone could be “The Thing” since really it could be anyThing. I notice a sign above a door within a cave like entrance that says Adults $1.00 so I think why not and pay my $1.00. As I open the door, I notice big yellow “Thing” like footprints leading to a shed like structure.

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Of course right in front of me is some guy saying things like “I’ll bet it’s a horse or something lame like that”. Upon entering, I see…Oh My G! Not a big hairy anything, but a museum. An odd assortment of antiques, and even odder many are from Italy, not the good ole US of A. So I wander along to two more of these sheds and it’s pretty much the same Thing, nothing big and hairy (besides the woman in front of me) just a mish mash of artifacts.

The Thing Photos

Back down the freeway I go until I need to stop for gas in the little town of Lordsburg. I notice a sign that says “Shakespeare Ghost Town” so I ask a gal at a nearby hotel and she says that the ghost town was the original town until they built a new road and the town moved closer to the road.

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She wasn’t sure if it was open but I decided to check it out anyway as she said it was only about a 10 minute drive. Maybe if you’re not towing Wanda it’s 10 minutes! I turn off onto a dirt road that had been graded like a wash board making it super bumpy, and a bit painful to my upper endownment. A storm was coming in too so it was super windy making it seem all the more creepy.

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The ghost town itself was completely fenced in and if I hadn’t been alone, I probably would have hopped the fence to get some better photos. But between the crazy wind and a random guy driving up, I decided a few pics was plenty and went on my way.

My last stop of the night is a rest stop just outside of Las Cruces and Oh No! Silver and Wanda are almost eaten by a giant New Mexico state bird, the road runner!

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More Photos

I *Heart* Palo Verdes, Hitchhikers and Clouds

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I selected the above tree to start this post with as it’s the Arizona state tree, the Palo Verde which is Spanish for “green pole” or “green stick”. I saw a few of these where I used to live in North Park and just love that the entire tree is green, including the bark. I also wanted to delay a bit as I know my mom is reading this and freaking out – “what does she mean she hearts hitchhikers?!!!” Keep reading Mommasita.

I left Phoenix yesterday and spent the night in Tucson. Though a few nice men helped me out with Wanda when she decided to drag one of her jacks, I just wasn’t feeling Tucson. So I found a nice, new safe looking subdivision to grab some shut eye in, and then was on my way early the next morning. I’m sure Tucson has some good things to offer, but I was super excited to be on my way to New Mexico.

The sign says “Prison Facilities in This Area, Please Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers”. Not that I needed the reminder, but now not only will I not pick up hitchhikers, I will also lock all my doors, and drive just a bit faster. I didn’t get a picture of the sign, but this one made me miss North Park and all my wonderful friends there. It was almost like a last chance sign, and made me a wee bit sad. Miss you guys!

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More Arizona Photos

I start to get excited as I leave Arizona. This is actually the furthest I’ve ever driven from California, and have also never been to New Mexico. Though it’s still desert, the landscape certainly does change for the better. Or maybe it’s just my new found obsession with clouds. I’ve always had a minor fascination with them but for some reason on this trip, I just can’t stop photographing them.

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And another…

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And since I know you can’t get enough of her, heeeeere’s Wanda!

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More Photos

All About Arizona

I’ve been in Arizona for a few days now. Wanda is hanging out in front of my friend’s dad Larry’s house. Part of the plan of this trip is to hit up thrift stores to pick up small vintage items to resell. Come to find out, Larry actually enjoys shopping so he and I hit up a bunch of them in Phoenix yesterday. One thing that amazed me is how many thrift and vintage stores they have in Phoenix versus San Diego, and how nice some of them are. Savers and Goodwill look similar to Ross, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, I swear! They’re so organized I think the good stuff is probably minimal and maybe never even makes it to the floor. After several shops over the course of a few hours, we decide to head back to the air conditioned house. Actually I’ve been very fortunate in that it’s only been in the high 80’s – low 90’s which is certainly tolerable next to the usual 100 plus temps.

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Today I’m off to Prescott, AZ to go “Where History Lives On!” It really is a beautiful little town with plenty of historic charm. I wandered around for awhile and decided to grab a bite at The Palace Saloon, a famous restaurant and bar that has been around since 1877.

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Here’s a fun photo I noticed in the restroom. Sadly they don’t offer the same level of entertainment today.

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Driving back to the freeway, my eyes spy a hot orange truck. Those of you who know me are very aware as to my infatuation with the color orange so of course I had to stop for a photo. Come to find out, the truck is used to drop off hotel guests in downtown Prescott for The Motor Lodge, a boutique hotel that you must consider staying at if you’re ever in Prescott, AZ. Each room has a fun mid-centruy look and several of them even have a gas fireplace and front porch! My favorite part is that the hotel allows you to borrow a bike for free, tandem and a three wheeler included. If Wanda weren’t so darned cute, I’d stay there for sure.

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More Photos

Cutting it Off in Rock City, AZ

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No sillies, I didn’t cut all my hair off. I have been wearing the same ring on my left middle finger for at least 15 years. I have no idea when I actually stopped taking it off, but then one day it just wouldn’t come off at all. My mom gave me the ring, it didn’t hurt or make my finger swell so I was perfectly comfortable having it stuck there.

I used to say that whenever someone put something on my ring finger, then I’d have it cut off. Well folks, I decided not to wait for that and just make room for whatever is to come. So there I was in The House of Gold & Silver in Rock City, AZ and I asked the jeweler if he could cut it off. Not only did he say he’d do it for free but he gave me the option of having it re-sized for my pinkie finger for only $8! I’m sure I’d put off the “cut off” for awhile because it was a gift from the momma and I didn’t want to just dispose of it, so this really was the perfect option.

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My finger will probably be indented for awhile but he promised it would look normal again, eventually. I’m not too worried about it. I just look down at my cute new pinkie ring and it makes me happy!

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Thelma and Louise, the Reenactment

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Okay not really, but almost!

There I was driving along to Phoenix, chatting away on the phone to my mom (yes, I was handsfree!) and I pass this trucker on my right. I wasn’t really paying too much attention but did notice that he held something out of the window like a book, or something rectangular. He pulled it back in before I could figure it out what it was.

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Then he held his hand out his window with two fingers pointing toward the sky. I mention it to my mom and she thinks he might be telling me that my roof vent is open. I ignored him and refused to look up as I drove by. Since I’ve seen Thelma and Louise only about 65 times, I immediately thought he must have been making some sort of rude gesture. What I had no idea, but I also knew that had just checked my roof vent when I last stopped. Mom said that maybe he was just bored but I was certain it was something dirty.

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Next thing I knew he was trying to pass on my left but as we were going down hill, I was using this opportunity to pick up some speed which is what you do when you’re driving something heavy that sucks gas – you use the terrain to your advantage at every downward slope. I told Mom that if he gestured again I just may have to pull a Thelma and Louise, lure him into the desert and shoot up his truck! But when he finally did pass me, no more gestures so I kept my pistol holstered.

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More Photos

Update: After a few days I had a thought, what if the “book” he held out was actually the Bible, and his fingers pointing to the sky were actually pointing up to God? Gee whiz I need to clean up my mind – not a chance as we all know!