Thursday, February 25, 2010
Enchanted, Mystical, Wonderful New Mexico
Upon checking out this morning, Sara, the manager noted that we are Elite Diamond customers, which means we have stayed in Choice Motels 40 or more times last year. She was so thrilled about it that she awarded us with an additional 1000 pts..So the motel managers have also been given these vouchers, which is nice. I asked where Cadillac Ranch was and since it was on the way West we made a little jaunt to the muddy field, which we did not walk across, to see the ten cadillacs sitting at a slant along old Rte 66, which was still a frontage road of I 40. As I stood there in amazement a flock of Canadian geese flew so low over my head I could almost have touched them. They were flying northeast so I guess Spring is sort of coming. The weather report is not good West of here though it keeps changing--from either 22 inches of snow to torrential rains. At any rate I think we are going to head south sooner than planned. Certainly, no Taos this year either. For the moment, however, we returned to I40 headed for Tucumcari which I wanted to see just because I remember my parents talking about it and I like the name. We stopped in Vega--advertised on a billboard as the first cousin twice removed to Las Vegas. They certainly mean Las Vegas, NM and NOT Las Vegas, Nv!!! LOL What a time in Rooster's! Sat at a table with an older fellow who was born and raised here and whose mother ran Rooster's as a restaurant 55 years ago. I have not a clue how these rural type guys have the humor they do--but quite a breakfast. For one thing the cook was the waiter and since he was making heuvoes rancheros for our tablemate we had a wait to place our order. In the meantime, the old fellow pulled out his cell phone and called an insurance adjustor--I don't know how fast I was going--road was glazed --wasn't looking at no speedometer--couldn'ta been too fast my truck has a dent but the other guy's didn't have a scratch. Got off the phone and said when he called his agent the girl gave him this number to call--he said to her-why that's right down in Hereford Tx--how'd you know that,asked her--whall it says 863 and that's the call numbers for Hereford--oh, says she. Then he continued : She is probably one of those buck and a quarter secreteries! The cook was able to get away for a minute and in broken English asked what we would like. Bill wanted to know about the chili con queso--I said no--you won't like it--that's cheese. Since he couldn't get anything without cheese he opted for 2 pancakes as I was having. When he returned to the kitchen our pal said to Bill--thought you were from Vermont---I am, said Bill--Whaaaat, and you don't like cheese that's like a boy from Texas not liking steer!!! Soon his meal arrived and he sat for awhile until the cook came out with coffee for us--apologizing for being slow but Amanda--you know Amanda?--no we don't!--well, Amanda was supposed to be here at 10. It was now 1020. With that our table mate said Am I supposed to eat with rubber gloves or something with a large guffaw. Oh, I said, thought you were waiting for it to cool--nope, no implements. With that Amanda showed up, much to cook's relief. Followed shortly by a guy with a hat--Our man greets him with hello, what you been up to--thinking? Hell, no, says new arrival can't do that--just gives you headaches and confusion! With that the young couple in the other corner got up to leave and our man says to the young guy--hey can you see if you can get some of these shirts--bought this over at Shilby's and it cost $40! Young guy says I'll see what I can do--our guy says no, laughing, can't get them any cheaper --I'ved tried. As they left, he says to us--don't know if he works there, even. With that hat sits down and Amanda appears from the kitchen with the cook, who is sweating and can finally take a break. Oh, says hat man, New Girl--hi New Girl! To the cook, New Girl got a name? Amanda. Well, hello, Amanda. With that his phone rings and he informs us all that it is probably a very important call--with a grin! Talking about heifers doing it faster than cows, good day for it--sunny --tomorrow won't be. Makes an appt and hangs up. Somehow the cook gets questioned about how many girls he has working there which somehow led into how many wives he has. Only one but she's his second. Our guy--married 65 years to same women--hat man--45 years ditto but he was only 13 when they married --very young and ,I added, an arranged marriage at that to which he agreed. Another call came in--Not much says hat--was going to procrastinate today but decided to put it off. When he hangs up--announces great job I have putting my fist up the cows' rear ends. Breeder asks Bill-no checker on the breeders--our guy says don't let him fummox you--he's a vet. By this time we were all finished eating--another young man arrives and our guy tells me in an aside--that's the patron. And so our redneck comedy hour came to an end and off we headed along old 66 to Adrian--where ,just as our guy warned , we'd either get on I40 or go into a ditch. We passed on the ditch. Arrived in Tucumcari--our guy also told me how it got its name..Seems long ago an old Navajo Chief was looking over a bevy of very pretty young squaws. Not being able to choose just one he turned to his braves holding up two fingers and said " TWO! Come Carry! " We stopped at the last of the many curio teepees that used to dot 66 in the West. Nice couple going to Las Vegas, Nv for a souvenir show and convention--worried about the oncoming storm so hoping to get past Flagstaff tomorrow--that's a long haul! Bill drove up the road, as I walked along taking pix of all the old motels that date back to pre-Interstate. There are lots of murals in town, too but we wanted to move on to Santa Rosa, where we are spending the night tonight. The navigator chose a route using the play map--a one page map of the State showing all the scenic drives. We would drop south about 25 miles and then turn West directly into town. About 15 miles out I took out the real map and discovered that part of the chosen route is gravel! After the rains and snows they've had we didn't want to chance that--so we made a zig-zaggy " U " down one side of the first wind farm in NM and up the other side. No sooner had we turned the corner out of Tucumcari we had a total change in topography--I mean from flat long views to mesas in every direction--within minutes and maybe a mile. It was unbelieveable. Even more amazing is that in every direction, once the pre-cursor baby cumulus clouds had passed, we were surrounded by heavy,lowering clouds that showed intense verga rain. At least, we think it was verga, it certainly never rained on us. We stopped in Fort Sumter to see Billy the Kid's grave. There is some question as to whether he was even killed by Pat Garrett much less buried here. I choose to believe that they were at the Matthew home and a gunfight ensued and Garrett killed the Kid and he is buried here. Looking over the wall of the cemetary at the cattle and long views I thought--this is sure a long way from Brooklyn, Billy Boy! My Bill is so full of funny remarks--as we passed through a part of Ragland where all the houses were decrepit huts, he quipped " And here we have the historic district of Ragland!" As we were trying not to fly off at a tangent to the sharp curve in the road he laughed and said " They are f****ing nuts out here--this is a passing zone!" And as we moved along rte 84 between Fort Sumter and Santa Rosa after passing through the 1938 bridge that I thought the tractor trailer in front of us was going to trash, I developed a new road game called Tumbleweed. Points are given for driving so that the tumbleweed is pulled under the car by the wake you leave behind; for running over a tumbleweed; for driving so that the tumbleweed rides along the length of your car; but the most points are given for capturing a tumbleweed and carrying it for several miles on the front of your car. Then bonus points are given if, without getting out of the car, you pull over, pump the brakes, back up and hit brakes hard and in the fewest manuveurs dislodge the tumbleweed and watch it tumble away. We got the big points plus bonus. The truck in front of us flattened one beyond recognition and shot it off to the side and another truck going in the opposite direction pulled one in and under himself from the rear. Such fun! And with that we arrived to find that the Route 66 restaurant on my Tucumcari postcard is really here and that there is yet another legend to the Tucumcari name. Big chief going to die--to warriors eligible to succeed him but his daughter Kari loves one, Tocom but hates the other, Tonopah. Big chief says you must battle to death and whomever wins is chief and gets Kari. Tonopah kills Tocom with his knife--Kari, who had hid as they fought, leaps out and knifes Tonopah to death, then grieving commits HariKari ( I just couldn't resist !!!) with Tocom's knife. Big chief is led to the scene, unable to bear it, he plunges a knife( kari's I think) into his heart and as he dies he utters " Tocom-Kari" The scene of this Native American tragi-comedy is the present Tucumkari Mountain--of which there are several shots-one of which has a lovely trailer in front of it--all of which show its use as an antenna laden pin cushion. And so the day ends--in Mountain Time so now my TV shows are two hours earlier out here....I think I'll just read. Take care all. Not at all sure which way we are headed tomorrow--Albuquerque--what a spelling--or Socorro--no one knows--but " The Shadow Knows" Oh, I'm silly tonight.