Saturday, February 20, 2010

Entering the Land of Enchantment

After visiting Palo Duro Canyon on Friday, we made a brief stop in the urban sprawl of Amarillo, a town that came as a shocking antithesis to the open, rich beauty of the canyon. We had to stop at Target to pick up a few prescriptions and supplies, and everything that Keith brought out to the rig reeked of chemical fragrances. Mary can't even go into such places anymore due to the predilection of such stores for fragrances that make her feel ill, and Keith learned (yet again) that he also must avoid such exposures. It was a wake up call and a minor crisis, and all of the packaging, wrappers and bags were quickly disposed of in order to decrease our reactions to the chemicals permeating the products we had purchased.

Moving westward across the plains, we drove in an uncannily straight line towards the New Mexico border, careening down the highway, frequently surrounded by herds of eighteen-wheelers moving at top speed towards their destinations. Mary pointed out a few tumbleweeds stuck in barbed-wire fences next to the highway, and the vastness of the plains gave way to cliffs and snow-capped peaks in the very far distance.

We entered New Mexico unceremoniously, stopping at the Welcome Center where a large sign announced quite clearly that we had entered The Land of Enchantment.

Our next stop in New Mexico was the town of Tucumcari, with Mary singing an old Linda Ronstadt song which somehow included this improbable name in its lyrics: "I've been from Tuscon to Tucumcari.....".

Tucumcari was at first glance a sad town. Near the interstate, of course, were the usual suspects: McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Sonic Burgers, all beckoning to the weary traveler with their promise of fast and easy food that's cheap, filling the belly and clogging the arteries in one fell swoop. As is our wont, we drove further into town in search of a place where locals might eat, and we were met with one boarded up shop after another, even on streets adjacent to Historic Route 66 and the Tucumcari Historical Museum.

We found the "La Cita" restaurant just near Route 66, and since it was not quite dinner time, we were the only customers in the large open room with naugahyde chairs, a drop ceiling in need of repair, and tired-looking slices of pie in one of those ubiquitous rotating glass displays. The room was filled with light hazy smoke due to a broken exhaust fan in the kitchen. The kind waitress was interested in Tina, who was in the passenger seat of the rig just outside the window from our table, yelping pitifully during most of our meal. She told us about all of the rescued dogs who live with her and sleep under her covers at night, and asked if we needed a bowl of water for Tina. The food---enchiladas with beans, rice and green salsa---was pedestrian TexMex, but it was a feast after not having eaten all day, hungry travelers that we were.

As the sun set, we managed to arrive just before dark to Santa Rosa Lake State Park, a park built by the Army Corps of Engineers. A quiet New Mexican night allowed us a night of deep rest, knowing that the next day would bring a long-awaited reunion with our beloved son and daughter-in-law.


  1. Great videos & photos and what wonderful sights & places a& peeps! Ya'll crazy... you know somewhere and likely more than in just one place, those Texans are telling tales of the two yankees liberals who passes by with a flash on their way to who knows where....!
    That yelp upon the creek crossing was impressive and I think Tina got the best of Mary on the canyon jog! Gotta give it up for Keith for staying behind the lens!
    Any more repairs, parts or tires and you will need to live in the rig for at least another 15 years to get your ROI!
    We are with you in spirit, watching and loving every step you make! Be careful out there!

  2. As I peer out the window at another freshly fallen snow here in Wisconsin, I delight at seeing your photos of your entrance into New reading every detail of your in seeing Mary's romp with Tina, the wonder dog! You guys continue to make my day start off with a smile!
    Hugs and good wishes for a super reunion there. :)s

  3. You're making me hungry talking about Mexican food that some pintos a-soakin' and some cornbread awaitin' (for real). The song isn't Linda Ronstadt, but rather "Willin' ", by Little Feat. "Driven every kinda rig that's ever been made, driven on the back roads so I wouldn't get weighed...", very appropos. Love reading your blog!