Welcome to my new blog. My son Che, encouraged me to start this as I was not writing much any more. Tricia (aka the long haired one) and I are doing a lot of road tripping in Canada, the States and Mexico. I always intend to do a journal but of course never do. We will see how this goes. Thanks to Marina for setting this up.
I am flying to Albuquerque on June 25 and driving back with my brother in law Alan and two dogs Carlos and Diego…Yorkshire Terriers. The temperature there is in the high thirties. There is the potential for some comedy here. Stay tuned. This is Alan’s shack in Corrales, N.M.
June 25/15 Boring night in a Richmond hotel, early get up, packed flight to Denver. Three hour lay over. Must not complain. I love air travel. All those inconveniences add up to a quick trip and I love airports. Lots of Stetsons here. Imagine that. Someone told me this was a terrible airport. Seems great to me.
Sat next to Darrel, a Sioux on the plane to Albuquerque. He is from South Dakota. North Dakota is second to Texas in US oil production. The oil companies are acting very badly there as a lot of drilling is going on on reservations…no regulations. Oil spills not cleaned, bad road work, drugs and prostitution. Darrel says the elders are finally taking charge. The Dakotas sound like nasty places to go….flat, dusty, hot now, very cold later. Told him about our dirty Alberta oil.
Its 94 degrees F in Albuquerque, blowing dust and a snow of cottonwood. Fed the horses and shovelled excrement. In the front yard there is a family of rabbits, quail and 3 thrashers digging in piles of horse shit. Yum. Rabbits and quail aren’t. Just the thrashers. you don’t know what thrashers are? Shame. Alan is anxious to get going but we have to wait for the people who are going to rent his house to arrive as they are taking care of the horses. Hopefully June 29.
Alan and I sat outside till midnight. Cool breezes and a half moon, silhouetted pinon trees, a continuous lightning storm (no thunder) over the Sandia mountains, coyotes yipping and howling and night noises I could not identify.
June 28 I’ve been helping Alan get ready to go. Putting up shelves in the garage, cutting the grass, pulling part of his deck apart. Hot work when it is in the 90s. He is having a locking top installed for his pickup bed. It has to come from El Paso on Tuesday so that is our take off day. The evenings have been amazing. Two nights ago there was continuous fork lightning. Last night a huge storm went through…buckets of rain and gales force winds. Couldn’t BBQ and didn’t want to go out so we ordered pizza. Yeah! Gluten free. Today it is cloudless and expected to hit 95. I’m anxious to get on the road. It’s only 82 degrees in Cheyenne. We are planning to go north through Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Maybe Alan and I better get Stetsons. Damn! Didn’t bring my cowboy boots. Probably a good thing. They look real bad with shorts.
I went for a drive this morning to get some pics. There are trumpet vines in bloom everywhere. The one in our yard in Ladysmith is in its third year and we are hoping for blooms this year. Cactus are starting to show buds. I found a catalpa tree the other day in full bloom. There was a huge one on my parent’s lawn in Vancouver. Beautiful this time of year with huge elephant ear leaves and thousands of fragrant orchid like blooms. In the fall the leaves are like wet rags and the tree has long pods that litter the area. Drove downtown Albuquerque. Nice but nothing to get excited about. Saw a very large and beautiful rattle snake crossing the boulevard down near the Rio Grande. Good thing the long haired one wasn’t with me.
The big buzz in America is of course the shootings of the black people in the church in South Carolina. Some southern states are banning the Confederate flag on Government property. Lots of controversy. At least they are talking about racism but is goes on and on. Americans do not have a corner on the racism market. It is worldwide but they are working on it. The other big news is the Supreme Court decision to make same sex marriage legal across America. Most folks are rejoicing but lots of criticism from fundamentalist Christians and the red neck crowd spouting the usual smoke. Santa Fe has a large GLBT (sounds like a sandwich) community and yesterday was Gay Pride day. Lots of excitement there.
Yeah. Finally on the road. We didn’t get away from Corrales until 3:45. Headed north on highway 550 through northern New Mexico. High hot desert but nice this time of year. The grass, still green, the blue green sage and the darker green junipers against red and stripped hills, mesas and buttes. We stopped in Bloomington to pee the dogs and it was roasting hot. A church billboard told us it was 100 degrees. Back in the truck we soon crossed into Colorado. The change is sudden and dramatic. Lovely valleys with rivers twisting through farms, campgrounds and pine forests. We are following the Anima river. North of Durango we start to climb, switch backs, deer every where, marmots, eagles, across two passes of about 11,000 feet. Dropping down rapidly, we see Silverton, an old mining town with mountains rising straight up on four sides. Eight o’clock and time to stop. We passed three dodgy motels and settled on the Wyman hotel (1903). The Bear room is pretty cool and comes with breakfast. Dinner at the “Handlebar” saloon. Amazing ribs. I’ll get some pics of the town tomorrow.
Canada Day. Nasty night. The old hotel had no A/C. It is made of red sandstone and I guess it absorbs heat. The temp outside was cool but the room was hot all night with windows open and the fan going like a demented Cessna. The owner asked me how the night was so I told her. Yikes! Did I get an earful. “It’s unseasonably hot. I can’t put A/C in as it is a heritage building. They will not even let me change the windows”. Snarl. Well, she asked. Breakfast was good. Included. I took some pics before we left. The main street is the only paved one. Wonderful setting in the mountains. Hard walking as it is at 9,400 feet. Gasp. Wheeze.
The road out of Silverton was spectacular. We zig zagged up and around switchbacks into the alpine meadows. We were at about 12,000 feet at the summit. The downward spiral was daunting. Impossible to make more than 15 to 20 mph on narrow road with no guard rails. At the bottom is Oulay…another old mining town and more upscale but looks like a super place to stay. Again the setting in the mountains is wonderful. Steadily downward and soon we are making time as the country has flattened out. Just a lot of driving as we slogged up to interstate 80 with a jog through Utah and then into Wyoming. Rolling grass and sage with hardly any people. Crashed at the Rat Chew motel in Cokeville after 500 miles. Tonight we have A/C
Sat outside and talked to a Navajo guy who is working on railroad maintenance. He lives in New Mexico with his family and travels all over western US. He teased me about saying “eh”. I don’t even realize I am doing it. Nice guy.
Thinks I am crazy for travelling in Mexico.
Tomorrow we plan on joining the interstate north of Salt Lake and booting it for home. Jellystone will have to wait for another day.
July 2 Another beautiful morning in Gopher Hole, Wyoming. The a/c was wonderful and I slept like a hibernating squirrel. I walked across the highway to Blondies Diner. (No apostrophe) Blondie the cook, was a bit weird with her dirty blonde wig but she was nice. A table of real cowboys gave me a quick glance and dismissed me as a tourist. Could be the shorts. It was 103 here yesterday but these dudes were making no concession to the heat. Jeans, shirts, vests, boots, Stetsons…the uniform. They probably sit in air conditioned mowers or bailers all day. Chatting Blondie up I learned that it is a horrible place to live. Mosquitos, deer flies and horse flies in the summer, freezing weather all winter with constant wind.
Back at the Wagon Rut motel, I kicked Alan’s ass out of bed and we hit the road at 845. I have to say that Carlos and Diego, the Boys..the dogs are behaving beautifully. Between stops they sleep in their foamy seat/bed or look out the window. I guess they figure we are nuts, driving all this way but at least they are not going to the vet.
I love these American secondary roads. Very little traffic, good shape and never see a cop except in the towns.
We soon hit the interstate in Utah, over to Idaho, through Boise, into Oregon, turn right and over the Columbia and up to Yakima. Lots of cool scenery…black cows standing up to their bellies in a lake. White pelicans, whooping cranes. Over 700 miles. We did gain an hour on the way. Temperatures ranged from 95 to 106. It was 104 when we arrived in Yakima…the Oxford Motel, right on the Yakima river. Ate a huge steak at el Mirador, a Mexican restaurant next door.
I must tell you that Alan and I are starting a “Save the Gopher” campaign. All these road kill gophers show the need for some intervention and compassion. We think they could be trapped and relocated. All donations will come directly to us to be siphoned of and used in hedonistic ways. We need a high profile sexy front person. I suggested Pamela Anderson as she is into saving cute things but Alan wants Salma Hayek as his personal representative. We squabbled over Salma for a few miles as we both want her as our own rep…no sharing. Maybe this whole thing may not work.
Tomorrow a short dash over the mountains, across the border…don’t forget to dump that product we acquired in Colorado, up to Tsawwassen and home. Got to get Alan, Carlos and Diego settled in that house boat he has rented in Cow Bay.
July 3 Made it. 1700 miles. Zipped across the Snoqualmie Pass, by passed Seattle on 405 North as we all know what the traffic is like there. An hour wait at the border and then raced to Tsawwassen. Caught the Spirit of B.C. at 3:00. I was sitting in the dog area on the car deck as Alan had gone for grub. There was a couple with a ginger standard poodle called Ginger. A woman and two bratty kids came in with a golden retriever and asked if we would watch the dog while she fed the kids. The dog hid behind some chairs as Carlos, the alpha male the size of your hand growled at her. Then the dog jumped up on the bench beside the man. I said ” Watch it. Your friend is drooling.” The dog had 3 super long slobbers swinging from her Jaw. He screamed and jumped up. The dog moved towards his wife seeking some reassurance. She calmly got up and rummaged in her pockets for tissue. He screamed “Pick up you purse. She is going to get it.” The woman cleaned the dogs muzzle and gave it a pat. Great entertainment,
At Cowichan bay, installed Alan and the boys in a fabulous boat house. Success. Long trip and we are still speaking. Rather travel with the long Haired One.