Posting tonight from Belen, New Mexico, a little south of Albuquerque. I read the history of the town and as near as I can figure, its main claim to fame is that it's a little south of Albuquerque. Nice Best Western motel, complete with a dead snake (just a little one) in the swimming pool, with a bitchin' '50s diner about 100 feet from our room. The joint's got an Edsel on their T-shirts. Good food cheap, too.
I'll bore you with details in a minute, but first, a couple of observations.
It's amazing how small the United States is. The other day we were cruising through the very pretty Chama Valley NM on US 84. I was just sort of idly musing that maybe they could get just a little bit of the billions in highway pork so they could paint a center stripe on a US Highway when we blasted past a little sign that said "Continental Divide". Just that fast, we went from Out West to Back East!
We crossed the Colorado Plateau through some real pretty high country. Stopped for gas in Pagosa Springs and two things happened: saw a car being loaded on a wrecker that had a deer try to get in through the windshield. The little sucker damn near made it, too. A hoof mark on the passenger door and one on the front fender. The windshield was caved in almost to where the passenger was sitting. If it had been me, I'da damn sure browned my knickers so I think they were getting it towed because the interior of the car smelled bad!
The other thing is I still can't get this silly song out of my head.
All these mountain two-lanes have big rigs runnin' up and down (I mean up and down quite literally) at all hours. All the little towns have signs that say, in effect, "Wake my ass up with your Jake Brake and you're gonna fuckin' die!"
We walked around old Santa Fe yesterday. Went in the St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral that dates from the 16th century. Looked like a nicely furnished old Catholic church to me. The NM State Museum is closed on Mondays, and I couldn't find the Sanctuary of Mary on the Half Shell (thanks, Fixer!), so the morning devolved to shopping. Mrs. G, who has trouble deciding between two items on a menu, went straight to one pair of earrings out of a choice of 100,000! Women!
Santa Fe is basically a lethal hip-hold tourist trap. Get caught in it, and the only way out is to chew your wallet off and make a run for it! It was fun. Note: there's plenty of parking and the drivers are nice to pedestrians. They let the souvenir joints mow you down.
Then up to Taos. Artsy-fartsy tourist town like Santa Fe, but we wanted to see it. Went out to the Taos Pueblo, which is the oldest continuously inhabited place in the United States. Those blanket asses got a racket goin' on, charge $10 a head to look at 1000 year-old mud condos. No shortage of takers, either. They're gettin' back at Whitey good. Good for them. We saw all we needed to see from the parking lot.
Took the scenic route back to Santa Fe through the Carson National Forest in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Real purty country. There sure is a lot of shit around here named for people who raped and pillaged, enslaved and murdered the locals and ruined their ancient cultures. The winners get to name 'em, I guess. Due to road construction, we missed the little town of Truchas where one of my favorite movies, "The Milagro Beanfield War", was filmed.
Today we went to Roswell to the UFO Museum. Well worth the trip. Then we got the fuck out of there. Too close to Texas. I was afraid we'd get all retarded or something. Tried to get gas at a Texaco station and my ChevTex card wouldn't work. The guy told me it was a Shell station, they just hadn't changed the signs yet! In-fuckin'-credible!
We cruised up here through Lincoln County, of Billy the Kid and Lincoln County War fame. Real Old West cowboy country. Population density of 4 people/square mile. Waved to Fixer's buds as we went by White Sands.
We're pretty much headin' for the barn now, but we've got another side trip or two to make. We're three or four days out. When I get home and collect my thoughts, I might have another yarn or two. Or sooner, you never know.