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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On the Way to Gloria and Bud's

Well, said that we left Texas on Saturday--how I lie--we left on Friday and spent Friday night in Roswell. Fortunately, 285 went right by the motel door so we did not have to go back through all that Roswell garishness to move on. We headed out toward Vaughn which is basically an over 50 miles of open space.  A lot of wind blown snow and grazing cattle. We'd been this way before and had picked a different route but it was more elevated and we wanted to avoid really heavy snow conditions.  Vaughn is another of those towns that once was on the beaten track, had lots of tourists and thrived and is now empty and forlorn. The wintry weather made it even more so, although there is a thriving railroad activity since it is rather centrally located in this area.

One of the things that is so amazing out here, even in thriving towns and cities, is that once you've left the business and residential section you are right back out into no where--the wide open spaces for miles and miles. Bill and I love it but many Easterners are frightened by it. Then again Westerners have told me they feel truly claustrophobic in the east with the trees and mountains just crushing in on them.Route 60 joined us but in time it turned westward and we went with it to Willard.  At Laguna del Perro, where one of the chief entertainments is hunting wild historical signs, we looked out over not only the large dry lake beds but also the Manzano's, beyond which lay Belen, home to Gloria and Bud.

 I thought I remembered a Hotel Willard, where we had eaten lunch last year. I guess NOT. Their Church is very well kept, however. Within a few miles we reached MountainAir which I had many times steered clear of since the name implied heights I was not willing to climb. Last year, Bud assured me there were no sheer drops to worry about so we did leave by this route out to Clovis. Things look different from opposite directions but the hotel I remembered was here and it is the Hotel Shaffer. The stained glass is original to the building but it has been redone inside and Paco's Cafe is a large open room with a large fireplace and scattered tables. I took pictures of it last year.

Since we were close to Belen but past lunchtime and not far from dinner we decided to just have a small snack to tide us over, having eaten nothing since breakfast. I ordered an Indian taco--fry bread topped with all the usual suspects. I expected a taco sized plate--uh,uh--it was a flat bread the size of a dinner plate with tons of stuff. Bill had some kind of salad and his, too, could have fed an army.  Delicious and unbelievably inexpensive--his was $7.95 and mine a dollar cheaper! We finished as much as we could without feeling stuffed but boy it was just too much!

Love the fact that the railroad station is pink and only handles freight!  Like the outfitter building, too.  It is just a cute little town and with three historical missions nearby it is able to manage through the winter doldrums of few visitors.

On we wove through the mesas and mountains to the other side where there was no snow. Continued through the valley on route 47 which cuts diagonally to Belen avoiding Bernardo and arrived at their home with a mini-fridge filled with almost 3 lbs of good Vermont Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese which you just cannot find in the West. The only stuff they have is that awful yellow orange cheddar from who knows where. If Cabot is sometimes in a co-op it is outrageously expensive.

At that point, I put away my camera.  We had a wonderful reunion--I gave Gloria a rednek wine glass--a stemmed Ball Jar--she and Bud just loved it. She and I retired into her newly reorganized scrap room and just caught up on tons of topics that the ladies can probably figure out--kids, grandkids, scrapping, friends, what we've been up to since last year.  The guys were listening to some TV show and catching up too. Lots of laughter reverberating from all directions.

Gloria grilled some rib eyes and the grill went aflame. Bud thought the steaks were charcoal but as it turned out they were not only NOT burned to a crisp but were cooked to perfection--medium rare. She couldn't duplicate that with all the flame and activity if she tried!  LOL Add to that a great burgundy, baked potatoes and Gloria's fabulous salad and it was a feast for the gods and goddesses, of course. Just a great time!

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