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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

They Call the Wind Mariah

As you read of our travels on Sunday you may like to listen to www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMlcTor359Q&feature=player_embedded which is the best version of this song, I think. Of course, you may like the disastrous Lee Marvin version better! LOL

At any rate, despite the weather report the night before we left Raton in sunny, 41 degree weather at 9 am and headed south toward Belen. As we traveled the wide open range that extended Eastward to Texas and was bounded by mountains toward Arizona on the West, we tuned in to Classic Cowboy Corral with Ranger Doug and his sidekick, Sidemeat. Both are former musicians with the original Riders in the Sky. We listened to such great hits as www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbhzLEzsD6ks and www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-5buh52Mjl I couldn't find the link for A Great Day in Plainsville which also speaks to the wind here in the West. Wind driven tumbleweeds attacked us in droves getting caught in our grill and crunching underfoot.

The incredible expanses of land and sky out here makes judging distances very difficult --everything looks much closer than it is but then you see cattle in the fields and they look like toys. The sun, at times, tends to bleach out the scene but the orange construction signs were quite visible despite the fact that they were almost flat to the ground. Homes are build close against the wall of mesas to escape the winds that Gloria and Bud told us can reach 70 miles an hour!

Every so often a mesa that has been totally eroded but for the most resistant rock appears on the horizon --a natural sculptural work of art and as such titled "Wagon Wheel " or " El Moro". The rest areas are lovely oases landscaped and walled. Soon the clouds of the predicted storm appear on the horizon--getting thicker and darker--more ominous. The mountains to the West are sprinkled with snow as we watch.

Before reaching Las Vegas, NM we come upon another accident. The third of our trip! A northbound truck is almost in our lane! Did he lose control in the wind/ Did he go for the median rather than jackknifing in his own lane? Whatever, the tow truck was there hooking onto the trailer to take it away.

Little cumulus clouds scudded across the sky--the forerunners of the front moving in with changing weather. As we arrived in Las Vegas rain began to fall to our West but we were travelling on dry but windy, windy, windy roads. South of Las Vegas the colors of the earth began to emerge once more. Evidence of the geologic history of the area was revealed in the cuts alongside the road--uplift, sedimentation of an ancient sea! The variety of colors reveals the variety of minerals; the variety of formations reveal the hardness of each mineral.

Climbing a bit the temperature drops and we are once more on snow bounded roads--well on the west facing slopes anyway--and gaze across at the snow-capped Santa Fe Baldy before descending round curves ( in one of which hides a small chapel) through hills dotted with adobe homes that fade into the background and into Santa Fe--New Mexico's capital city.

We got gas at the Sunrise Market and I called Gloria and Bud for final approach directions..

There are subdivisions here, too, but somehow the way they fit into the landscape is much less jarring than those in Denver. The road spills out onto a flat plain and red dust spirals in the distance like smoke. We crossed the Rio Grande . Every large river starts out as a creek. I love the thought of the convergence of creeks that produces the mighty ONE that drains into the oceans, directly or indirectly. Again there is rain but again it stays to the West, although fog and dust obscures formations to the East.

Bienvenidos--we are in Albuquerque--what does Albuquerque mean? I never can spell it correctly! The people here love color the brighter the better--to outshine the sun!

And then--Belen 17 miles. And a laugh-like we hadn't encountered dust storms until now!

2:30 pm--44 degrees and 279.9 miles and we have reached our destination! The Home of the Eagles--Sunrise Bluffs--Gloria and Bud! Bud immediately popped a beer for Bill, Gloria gave me a house tour and we were off. Laughter, catching up, discovering we know lots of people in common, including a former student of ours who lives on the bluffs above. Talking about our kids and in Gloria's case, grand kids. Recipes and travels and what it is like to pick up and move to NM, what life is like here--they love it --etc,etc.

Then it was dinner time--the most delicious salad and spaghetti with Gloria's homemade sauce--to die for--Bill hasn't stopped raving about either since. Brownies and chocolate cookies --I ate far too many--chocoholic that I am! The time simply flew--the Phoenix race had been on the TV , ignored, although we did notice that Jeff Gordon won. Still don't know what happened with the Oscars--we never gave them a thought. What a wonderful afternoon and evening. At ten, we all retired --happy for having spent a lovely time together!

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