Palo Duro Canyon
The first part of my drive yesterday, from Dixon through eastern New Mexico started off gorgeous through the high ski country and got a bit depressing by Tucumcari. Downtrodden, boarded up hotels. Route 66 ruin porn.
Palo Duro was as beautiful as <jnfr> says, though the trails are all closed due to storms and some of the roads washed out as well. It’s been a very rainy summer here, apparently. Last night was a Violent Thunderstorm that I was glad to be out of. (3rd story external wall instead of 1st floor internal as the weather alert instructed, but I made it 🙂 Canyon, TX is a prosperous looking town with large homes on broad green lawns. A&M campus here. Starbucks. Probably a few people like me. Somewhere. OK for my one stop in Texas.
Today I have to face the fact that I haven’t decided on a route to Atlanta. I DID want to get to Austin, but it’s 7 hours almost due south of here, and doesn’t advance me very far East. I have always been told that Norman, OK is a great college town – probably the easiest choice. But a future driving day will have to be a long one if I stop there tonight. (I should get to Atlanta by the eve. of the 17th as Em has plans for me on the 18th). Push on to Shreveport? Hmm.. that Vegas vibe. Yuk. I’ve been to Memphis, which is the next logical stop after Norman, and I should stretch to see new places. And Chattanooga is on my list as well.
Great news! My Bay Area brother wants me to house sit at the end of September when he and his wife go to Japan. That’s really excellent timing.
I haven’t checked in with the ex by text as I did at first. No complaints from him. I sure hope he packed up my mail and sent it to Em. Bet he didn’t. I feel myself separating, with fewer moments of missing him. I was struck by this paragraph cited in a review of Madeleine Bourdouxhe’s “La femme de Gilles” about a woman whose husband is cheating on her.
For the first time in your life you cannot draw on Gilles’ love, you must stand up for yourself as if you were quite alone in the world. No one can help you, least of all Gilles. You are alone with the greatest pain you have ever known.
In the car I’m listening to the third Karl Ove Knausgård tome. You really need to immerse yourself in his world, and the long wide spaces work well.
I was truly expecting to experience more heat and uncomfortable humidity here in New Mexico, but even in the low 80’s the sun has been mostly blunted by clouds and today there was rain a good part of the day. More due tonight! We visited the D.H. Lawrence memorial outside of Taos today – an elegant white building set into the Sangre de Cristo mountains (they Always seem to be dark and misty) near the cabins that Lawrence and his wife visited several times. Apparently they had a utopian community in mind. A British artist, Dorothy Brett, was the only one of their friends who was into it. We saw her tiny cabin and TYPEWRITER — she typed Lawrence’s manuscripts because he couldn’t. Frieda, (Mrs. Lawrence) obtained the ranch land in return for one of her husband’s handwritten manuscripts. On the way back, I saw the Millicent Rogers Museum – stunning Native American pottery (so adore the shiny black-on-black stuff) and jewelry and she was a gorgeous and interesting woman. I think D. Brett might have been rather stuck on her, actually.
As I left the MRM, there was a stranded woman next to her non-functional car in the parking lot, so I gave her a ride into Taos. Very nice woman who comes to Taos every year, but lives in Austin. She was staying at a co-housing area: Valverde Commons, so I got a glimpse of that. Interesting, but when I checked out the website later, kind of pricey.
W. has gone off to Colorado for his mediation mission, so a couple of nights alone here. Got through the ex’s birthday yesterday, with a few twinges. (Somehow, he got away with “Trixie” for a mini vacation, when he never found that possible with me.) I just texted birthday greetings, though with no emojis. I would have lost by not acknowledging it at all.
Just loving New Mexico. We’ve taken jaunts to Taos and Santa Fe and some of the back roads from Dixon. I have learned about acequia irrigation and incidentally about substandard house wiring. Weather has been very mild — it rained last night with exciting thunderstorms. I’ve been well. Internet here is crappy unless the 3rd visit from Very Flaky ISP goes better than the first two. Even then, they only promise 15 Mps — makes you want to cry. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to earn my keep with weeding. They shoot up OVERNIGHT, I swear, in this rich, damp soil.
The property is still going back and forth with counter offers and I don’t want to say a word until the deal’s done.
I am thinking seriously of going on a trip to Mexico in November with a group of friends. New Mexico is half way there already, culturally. So why not?? It wouldn’t be that expensive and I want to check out the expat existence.
Dixon, NM garden
I have arrived at this beautiful, eccentric estate (4 acres) on the Rio Embudo (“funnel”). The aesthetic is an odd combination of Southwest and Hindi, but it has a serene effect. Dixon (pop 926) has a coop grocery and health food store, but both are closed today. W and I will attempt to figure out why the blu-ray/TV is not connecting properly (I suspect a poor internet connection) and then take a trip to Santa Fe for supplies and possibly see a museum exhibit.
My real-estate/emotional knot of yesterday was resolved after I successfully played the bitch in texts. This, I think I can say with honesty, does not come naturally to me. My hands were shaking as I put my foot down, and it enraged my ex, I know, that I was putting up any kind of fight at all. He accused me of undermining my daughter’s financial security and other stuff. Bullshit of course. However, less than an hour after I went off on him (and her), she cut her commission in half. So, out in the middle of nowhere, with my phone’s internet connection and this funky laptop, I e-signed the papers for the counter offer. I will be glad when the property is in escrow. The whole incident made me realize just how icy relations have become — and I haven’t even been gone a month. I think I will start preparing to divorce. There is nothing left. I didn’t feel this way even 48 hours ago. But his behavior has been revealed to be dishonest and definitely not in my interest.
Meanwhile, I will enjoy where I am very much. I want to help in the huge garden here. New Mexico is a place I could live, there’s no doubt. The light, the expanse of the land, the jumble of poverty and elegance, the Spanish culture. I do love it.
3 h 52 min (226.8 mi) via I-70 E
By tonight, my (so far) solitary journey will gain quite a few more characters: brother and sister-in-law, any of their children who aren’t off doing their various good works (my nephew and nieces are rather extraordinary), and my stepmother and her boyfriend who are flying from San Diego. I’m just piggy-backing on this already arranged gathering for the Vail Dance Festival, that my SIL attends every year. The house we’ll be staying at belongs to my SIL’s father. I will be glad to see everyone — and I’ll be ready to extract myself in a few days, if I’m honest.
The exhibit of dinosaur fossils dug out of the quarry (about 15 miles east of Vernal) was quite wonderful. Easy to see that my troubles, to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart, don’t amount to a hill of 150 million year old bones. The vistas of the rivers and canyons were awesome as well. Rivers older than the Green and the Yampa split mountains in half and swept these gigantic corpses into what became a scientific treasure trove. Worth the trip to hear the squeals of delight from dino-mad children 🙂
On my way out of town, I’m driving up from the Canyon park HQ to see some last views. The Green River Campground inside the Park looked like a place you might never leave until winter.
I was hesitant to bring my coffee stuff, but I’m glad I did. My hotel neighbors aren’t going to be happy when I grind beans in about a minute here, but hey, it’s 5:38 AM. Up and at ’em I say. Glad this hotel still has an old fashioned coffeemaker that lets you heat up water. (Insert rant about Keurig here.)
Utah is a funny combination of constraint and heedlessness. The speed limit on the I-15 is 80mph for large stretches (wow!), but don’t you dare drive into Nevada for liquor you haven’t paid State tax on. (And now they have recently legalized pot to worry about too.) The map was not kidding about the squiggly-ness from the turn-off just south of Provo, UT over the mountains to connect with Route 191. At the highest point it was over 9000 ft, some of it barely paved, with only a scrawny shoulder for allowing sturdier, speedier Utahans to get around me. It was all beautiful though — green pastures against the hills, complex pine/oak/aspen forests, those wonderful red mesas and rock layer cliffs at odd angles. Well OK, Roosevelt is an uninspired looking town. Vernal is not a whole lot better, but has a brewpub, an interesting pizzaria and the dinosaur bones. And the petunias. Way too many petunias. May qualify for Accidental Wes Anderson. Lots of gentle rain today — which was wonderful too.
I promised the ex that I would check-in. When I do he texts back what he’s fixed around the house. I don’t know if that’s to butter me up or create guilt. Try not to think about it too much.
5 h 27 min (350.1 mi) via I-15 N
It’s going to be a longer drive tomorrow, and I’ve never been north on I-15 from here. I want to leave pretty early in the morning. This morning I spent at the laundromat — sort of built into the KOA campground and that was interesting people-watching for sure. Two Warren Jeffs style women (long dark dresses, boots) were there when I arrived. They were each amusingly engrossed in crossword puzzle books. Today was a parade too, with a good part of downtown blocked off for a celebration of the arrival of Mormon settlers. This had the annoying result of cutting me off from any possibility of lunch. Thunderclouds hovered all day and there was a little rain. Cooled off nicely.
Puck – Utah Shakespeare Festival (SUU)
Loved the performance of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ I went to this afternoon. As with all the plays I’ve seen here, they pay extra attention to clarity of diction and the acting was excellent.
I got an email from hometown folks (“oh you poor thing”) and it plunged me into gloom. Perhaps I am just plain tired of talking about this predicament. It’s 3 days out and I have a wall of exhaustion I notice that pops in right about this time on a trip. I really need to pace myself. I got a hotel in Vernal for the next two nights, because they are cheap and I can be alone ahead of a good two weeks of family. (Vail, Taos). I want to see the dinosaur stuff!
I will keep writing, but posting will depend on the internet connection. Far more in the boonies.