Archive for August, 2011

The ROYAL ROAD TRIP – Day Two: We Love Colorado

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2011 by Queenie

We’d finally given it up and gone to bed on Friday night, with clear skies and beautiful stars, cool temperatures, (almost cold, to those of us who are known for the No Blood Syndrome, and how in the world did I ever live in the mountains), and wondering what the next day would offer. Imagine our surprise, and not a little dismay, to awaken to smoke filled skies and the smell of burn in the air. The Los Alamos fire had chased us, and caught up with us in far northern New Mexico. We weren’t off to a very early start in Road Trip world, due to our staying up entirely too late, a trend that would hold for most of our adventure. So by the time we were packed, fed and loaded up and back on the highway, it was every bit of 10:30. Well, not too bad, considering…. royalty, you know. And other than having a hard deadline on July 4th, no one was poking us with sticks to be somewhere, or anywhere, for that matter.

I had decided to take a new route into Colorado, since I’d been up that way to Pagosa Springs and beyond several times, and I was wanting New Road. That worked for a while, but I soon discovered that we’d missed a turn out there in the hinterlands, and we had to get turned around and back on course. No matter, really, because it was all beautiful, and GREEN. We played hide and seek with the smoke for a while, but finally left it behind us, and then the skies were gloriously clear and blue. No wonder all us pesky Texans flee to Colorado – it’s a glorious alternative to the miserable summers we’re often offered, especially this one. Surely I’ve mentioned too many times about our drought and the miserable shade of sickly yellow and brown that covers the Hill Country, all seared into our brains by the unrelenting heat. It’s a bad summer…. But enough of that.

We had decided to make our way up to Pagosa, on to Durango, and then head up via the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton, to Ouray and beyond. These were still familiar, and wonderful roads, although it had been many years since I’d been much beyond Durango, when the Queen Mum and I used to take our two weeks of Getting the Hell out of Dodge after 50 weeks of Real Job drudgery. We had been out here several times, jeep riding in the high peaks of the San Juan Mountains, and staying in the little gingerbread styled houses that were B&Bs. Hard to take a wrong road up here – it’s all spectacular.

Pagosa was, in a word, insane.  Again, duh, 4th of July weekend, and there were festivals and carnivals and untold numbers of actual tourists, (unlike US!), who were jamming the roads. I’d been there enough to know it as a somewhat sleepy little mountain town when not at the height of some summer holiday or special event, so this was a new experience, and a double whammy. One of my good friends has a little cabin down by the river and we took a short detour to see what was going on down that street. What street? You could hardly see the street for the vehicles that had parked all up and down it so they could access the river and get over to the park where all the rides and tents and 4th of July weekend madness was happening all around. Enough already. We went down to the end of the old street to turn around – it was in what was left of the historic section of town – and it was sad to see where the developer had gone in and torn down the old cabins that used to house the long ago Calvary men, all rustic and time-worn, and they’d been replaced by the ubiquitous “town” condos that sat right next to the river. Progress raises its ugly head once again. Time to get the hell out of this Dodge, and head for the far North.

We got to the western end of town and stopped for gas and liquids, (push push push those fluids in the high country), and got another heapin’ helping of humanity. Where was the peace?  Not here, and we took in the images of the moment.  I was particularly taken by the spirit of the trailer next to us, which evidently portrayed how they get their deer in the mountains. Poor Bambi, to have come to this. I wondered where its new resting place was to be. Target practice, I assumed.

 

But we were Outa There! Onward to Durango, then the turn North where the mountains would really start reaching to the sky, hopefully without quite so many participants of the humanoid variety. (Hope springs eternal you know, even on the 4th of July.)

Our next objective was a lunch stop, so we began looking for a suitable spectacular setting.  Before we got too far out of town, we stopped at Trimble Hot Springs, a posh resort, and took in the sights. We opted for some bottled teas, put it in our memory banks for future reference, then struck out for something a bit more on the wild side. Several possibilities presented themselves on the map, so we opted for a destination point of Haviland Lake, not too far up and off the highway. We took our first side road, and not long after found ourselves in the company of a respectable number of vacationers, but at least they weren’t swarming. We found ourselves a parking place next to the lake, with a sitting area and a little dock.

All this began what amounted to a lunch routine for most of the time: find a place, a park, a something – then offload the ice chests and tote bags containing our food goodies, and soak in the ambiance while we munched on cheese, crackers, veggies, and then tried to make a dent in our chocolate stores.

Not a bad first choice, huh:

 

I soon found out that TheQueen is prone to certain behaviors when confronted with appealing waters. She’s into her bathing suit, and then she’s into the water, no matter what the temperature might be, cold-wise. I have to say that immersing myself in cold mountain waters would for me likely be a heart-stopping experience – I am definitely a warm water creature. But true to her stories of such, in she went, and she swam for a while out there.  I tip my tiara to her – you go, girl.

 

Meantime I watched a pair of ospreys who were gliding above the lake, making their rounds while hunting for whatever was available.  I never saw a dive, but they called out often, and that was a thrill.  Hawk is my Spirit Animal, and any special moments with them are treasured.

 

There were dragonflies galore, and unknown aquatic plants blooming in the mossy depths, and dragonfly love was in the air.

 

It was an Americana moment, with children laughing and exploring, people throwing balls in the lake for their Labs to retrieve, and picnics going on all around the shoreline. We fed carrots to the chipmunks, and enjoyed the sunshine on our shoulders, a la John Denver. And took pictures….

 

Not a bad lunch stop, as mountains and lakes go. One more dragonfly graced us with an appearance as we were packing out  – of those red guys. Dragonflies always seem to be mystical, magical creatures. How can such things be?

 

But soon time to press on, since we were supposed to land in Wyoming by the next night, and it was still far, far away, and we didn’t seem particularly proficient at making miles. Too many things to see, and photograph, so we bid adieu to beautiful Haviland Lake, and turned back northward into the high country.

And so began the twists and turns and postcard vistas offered by the spectacular highways and byways of Southwestern Colorado. It was hard to make good time, (impossible, actually), as we pulled over again and again to view the waterfalls and valleys, ridge lines and peaks, still adorned with what was left of winter’s snows. All this was as we drove through the Weminuche Wilderness, over the passes that ranged about ten and eleven thousand feet. We thought a lot of TheQueen’s friend Maria, who does not do well on winding, twisting, fall off into nothing mountain roads, and laughed as we conquered them, and loved those 10 mph curves.

 

 

I’d forgotten about the dramatic highway that led into Silverton, and then yet another with the twisting turns that drop down into Ouray. Maria would’ve been on the floor. Once in town, we stopped at the Visitors Center in Silverton to check things out and pick up a few more maps and “touristy” stuff. I have to admit I was agitated to hear the Star Spangled Banner playing over and over, non-stop, on their sound system. Now it might have been 4th of July weekend, but it quickly became torture after about the sixth repetition. I asked the fellow on duty what he thought about that, and got an appropriate eye-rolling response. He’d about had enough, too, but he had to be there. I’d have been running into the hills after a while for sure. I always wish we’d gone with America the Beautiful for our national anthem, but I suppose that was too peaceful and bucolic for whoever made that decision. Too much war in what we chose, or “they” chose, (all those bombs bursting in air – still!), but I know I’m getting political here, so I’ll put the soapbox back in the closet.

Ouray was even more packed than Silverton – so much so that we decided to just keep on truckin’ through, even dispensing with photo opportunities at every turn – at least of the cute mountain town variety. It had grown so much since the last time I’d spent a few days there, way back in the 80’s. Time keeps marching on, with big boots. TheQueen and I had been having interesting conversations about these little towns. She’d fallen in love with Telluride, (just over one of the ridges), a bunch of years before, and felt fairly well convinced that should such things as previous lives exist, she’d lived one there. I have the same feelings about being one of the “working girls” in such a town, and maybe this was one of our connections, but she swears this isn’t our first go-round. Whatever, in present time, the crowds were not what we wanted, so that was that for Ouray, and we skedaddled out of town, looking for wilderness.

And then the land got stretched out, and really pleasing. Ridgeway has a huge lake that goes for miles, and that answered the question of “what was the deal with all those boats” we’d been seeing. Stick a beautiful lake in the middle of all that mountain majesty, and well, could I move to Ridgeway? Maybe. Or Montrose, right down the road. I liked the look of all this…. even if I didn’t take any pictures. And I can’t answer what the deal is with that. Sometimes it’s just all about the ride.

In due time we made our way into Delta, which turned out to be an amazing little town. We tracked up and down the streets, clean and updated and totally inviting, and found out that this is the town of murals. Murals, everywhere, well done and dozens of them. But did we get any pictures? Well, no, but there was a reason. (For that you’ll have to stay tuned for Day Three, which was an absolute doozy.)

We found, again, the perfect motel, looking like a compound of little rock and log cabins with all the amenities, including the fantabulous neon sign which would occupy us for quite a while. But first we went out to dinner, which could never quite equal our experience in Chama. We did find margaritas, (which were big, but not anything close to those perfect ones at the High Country Saloon), and nothing worth dolling up for with tiaras and boas. Sufficiently nourished, we headed back to the neon lights.

And boy, did we have fun with them. What a great sign! It flashed multiple colors, red and orange one cycle, blue the next. And neon over the rooms, and even the office was decorated like Christmas. For pure art and ambiance, the Westways won our Best Motel award, and we even had private suites!

It was at this first Night Shoot that I began to learn many lessons from TheQueen. (In truth, it happened the minute I picked her up at the airport – there were numerous lessons, or better put, revelations and positive attitude observational opportunities.) Sure, I call myself a ”professional photographer,” but I often shake my own head at that term. There are countless more who so far surpass me in technical knowledge that sometimes I feel quite the fraud. The appeal of my images stems, I believe, from my different viewpoint and composition – the “different eye” and the story, you’d call it. And for what that is, it works. But I haven’t challenged myself so much with what I don’t yet know, and TheQueen pushed that button. She had herself a brand spankin’ new camera, and was challenging herself to learn it. And as I followed her example, I found myself pushing my own boundaries of experience. Learning, opening new doors, satisfaction with limits tested and surpassed. As I look back on all this later, it becomes more obvious that there was a lot more than a road trip going on, which was a little hard to discern in the giddiness of the living of it. Opportunity, indeed, and wasn’t I just glad that I’d said YES.  And perhaps even more important, so had TheQueen.

The morrow would find us in Wyoming, our destination point. We had two or three days’ worth of miles and sights to accomplish in only one, with the added factor that I was finally to be on new, untrodden pathways. Time for new vistas, and great adventures, and as we tried to sleep, the neon flashed all night long.  Hard to sleep with all that Adventure waiting right outside the door.  But tomorrow would be another day.  Oh boy.

 

Goodnight, Y’all.  See you on Day Three.

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The ROYAL ROAD TRIP – Day One: The Meeting of Queenie and TheQueen

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2011 by Queenie

It’s so very wonderful to wake up by the river in New Mexico – with a good friend to help you get things together – and with the prospects of an as yet undefinable adventure doing laps in your head. Especially so as I think back about all this now, mired down in the worst summer of heat in the memory banks, and thinking how swell life would be, indeed, if one could wake up by a river most every morning. I might have to get working on that. Meantime, the tale of the road continues…….

In my experience, it’s almost always longer to get to anywhere than I think it will be, and so I found it a bit later than anticipated as I headed out to Albuquerque from Ruidoso, trading the mountains again for the exposed rocks and sands of the upper parts of the state. Oh so familiar roads, as usual, retraced again and again over previous years, but this time overriding the worn memories and headed for unknown highways.

There is another almost obligatory stop on Highway 360 in the very small burg of San Antonio before it runs into I-25. No, not The Owl Restaurant, (well, it is one – well known for its green chili cheeseburgers), at least not this early in the morning, but instead that little gas station that has the famous cherry cider, AND homemade fudge. How can one Queen dare go to meet another without bringing an offering of homemade fudge? There always seems to be one reason or two others to stop and buy fudge, and I do it almost every time I’m on this road, and this day was no exception. Gassed up and Fudged Up and back on the road, off I head down the highway to Big A – Albuquerque – to the airport and the destined meet up with TheQueen, who was by now long since in the air from California, headed east – for our adventure!

Since it was already later than we’d planned, I made the first move at actual voice contact. Remember now that we have only emailed, or corresponded via the Raul Malo forum, and never yet laid eyes on each other. And so there it was then – message left on her voice mail that I was minutes away – and soon the airport was in sight, and then my phone rang. Of course, it was TheQueen, and the ice was broken and we actually spoke for the first time. No problems – how COULD there be – she’d be waiting for me at the passenger pick-up lane. And now all of this was VERY real, for it certainly had all the makings of pure fiction (or Fantasy?) up till then. How many times had we asked each other, in the short span of time since this plan had been hatched: Are we really DOING this? Dang – evidently so, ‘cause I’m at the airport in Albuquerque, and fancy that.

Being unfamiliar with the lay of the airport, I missed the turn-in for that lane, but I buzzed by in the adjacent byway, and there she was, right over there, awaiting my arrival. I already knew what she looked like, having viewed many photographs in various places on the internet, but there wouldn’t have been much doubt. Just how many women do you see standing at the curb, looking expectant, decked out in a turquoise feather boa and a matching sequined tiara? Welcome to the New Normal.

I went around the loop again, doubled back and about, got myself in the right lane this time, and pulled up. Sister Queens, reunited again for the first time, friends already. But of course, TheQueen had immediate business to attend to, which was to reach into a bag and pull out another boa and tiara – MINE! – which happened to be, no surprise, purple. Oh, we were already a pair, just waiting for our kinship to begin in person. Before taking out to the wilds, first we had to stow away her suitcases and yet another load of chocolate delights that TheQueen had brought, along with what I’d packed, never mind the fudge.  Never has so much chocolate been brought for so few.  Chocolate for the masses now secure, off we went, into the wild, grey yonder.

I say grey, because we had to contend with yet another out of control wildfire. Los Alamos was burning, or at least was threatening to, as the fire was moving closer to it all the time. The horizon was cloaked in the yellow-grey mess of it, and we didn’t have our route planned yet, and might be driving really close. It being about lunchtime, I thought the first order of entertainment was to take her to lunch at Harry’s Roadhouse, up towards Santa Fe and one of my favorite haunts in the neighborhood, and then we’d figure it all out from there. It took a little driving and back and forthing and turning around a couple of times, (I was determined to find it, and finally it appeared), and there we were. Our first time to break bread on the road.

 

One cannot miss the opportunity for the Silly Grab Shot.  They are always around, and you have to grab the grin. Welcome to New Mexico. There was one I didn’t get years ago – Tawanda.  That was a classic, but no record of it – only in my memory.

 

Harry’s was, of course, packed for lunch, and many were waiting, and the prime choice of seating was out in the gardens. Supposedly little chance of getting a table out there, but where do you suppose Royalty in boas and tiaras get seated? In the garden, natch, with hollyhocks and blooming plants all around – totally lovely in every aspect.

 

And it had already begun – that being the interaction with most everyone we came in contact with. If you want positive attention, and conversation starters, and smiles from strangers, (especially women who “understand”), I suggest you travel about regaled in boas and tiaras. Works every time. We got Thumbs Up and Queenly Waves and the most delightful reactions. Were we Sisters? Well, yes, sort of. Was it our birthday? Why yes, every day! And when they heard we were on a Royal Road Trip, they were practically giddy. Us, too.

I don’t believe there is a bad meal at Harry’s, (not to mention the wonderful ambiance and fabulous art always on display), but we were both moved to order the same thing, (quel surprise), and a gorgeous plate was delivered to us: shrimp salad over a just divine grilled artichoke, bib lettuce, and olives and cucumbers. Major Yum. It was the perfect start to our adventure, and probably the best of our fancier meals, but we soon found out that food was to become one of the last concerns on our agendas, along with sleep! There was simply not enough time – already, and constantly.

 

Lunch having been deliciously accomplished, and having entertained many unsuspecting diners with our outfits, we pushed on. Back out into the parking lot, where yet another silly sign awaited discovery. If this is the state of things, I hope they got the guy who did the damage.

 

And so…. Onward! Shortly after meeting TheQueen, I inadvertently pontificated one of those quotes which managed to capture one of those themes that sometimes define my life.  At the time, it sounded somewhat profound, (however lame), but I suppose it has its merits: There’s no way to get to where I’m going without going to where I’ve already been. Not even any margaritas yet….maybe it was the altitude.  But, it was true – on several levels. But I shall spare you the details of dissecting such a statement, even thinking it might be some sort of universal truth regarding our personal truths.  This is supposed to be a fun read!

We decided our first direction would be along those familiar (to me, anyway – read previous paragraph) roads up past Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch, (the environs of one of my heroines Georgia O’Keeffe), heading to Colorado, at least vaguely towards Wyoming, and we’d see what the road held for us. The smoke was fairly miserable all in Santa Fe and further north. The big fear was that the fire would take Los Alamos and release all those nuclear toxins, but once the lab was spared, evidently the Native Americans in the path of the flames would be on their own. Cynical, I know, but this was related to us by those supposedly in the know about such things.  Once past the smoke, we were blissfully unaware of the “news,” for we never turned on one television or read a paper for the rest of the trip.  No wonder vacations are so healing, and magic and wonder so accessible.  Along with the smoke, the news is toxic.

 

We managed to get out of the smoke after a bit of driving, and before too long we were out of the red and orange rocks and coming into the high country, all green and grand and glorious. We decided that the quaint little mountain-hugging town of Chama would be our first stop of home away from home. Tourists were thick, (I had to remind myself about 47 times during the trip that this WAS 4th of July weekend, and something resembling the entirety of the human populace was on vacation – and the rest of the bunches around Chama were fleeing the fire), and we checked out the neighborhood before settling in at Spruce Lodge, our rustic stopping place for the night. Not fancy, but it would do. Ponygirl thought it was just fine, and so did we.

 

It had the added attraction of backing up to the river, and of course we had to check out the river and any accompanying river rocks that might need a new home. After I had sat close to the running waters, trying to release a stubborn candidate that proved to be full of attached river life and therefore ineligible, TheQueen pointed out to me that I had collected my first heart of the trip.  Fairly ridiculous, but a heart all the same, even if it had to be viewed upside down to be appreciated…..but I was NOT going to pose for THAT picture.

 

We had some fun putting ourselves together before our trek into town, trying out our Queenly poses and testing our tiaras. Was Chama ready for us? Were we ready for the High Country Saloon?

 

But before we could get away, TheQueen was entranced with the water droplets from the sprinkler. How wonderful that not everywhere is in severe drought, and people are actually allowed to water their grass and flowers, and it’s lush and green!  It all felt so good.

 

After proper maintenance and preparation, we headed out to the local watering hole and wondered what adventures we’d be scaring up. Turns out at the High Country Saloon (and attached restaurant – we were planning on dinner, after all), we didn’t scare anyone at all, but we sure amused a few cowboys. Not only did we sport boas and tiaras, but we came equipped with cameras, so we were “professionals” — well, professional somethings, but truly, we were treated with great respect, and a lot of fun ensued, all amongst proper Western memorabilia.

 

We requested margaritas, which were upgraded by the bartender to The Perfect Margarita, and I do believe it was the best one we had on the trip. We later, after a lot of interaction with the locals, sat ourselves down for dinner in the dining room, but one of the gentlemen that we talked to that night insisted that we join him for dinner – spaghetti and meatballs, home made – at his place just down the road.  Mr. Rey was indeed the perfect gentleman, just like that perfect margarita, and he was thrilled to entertain us Queenly types. He showed us around his place, and made special effort to point out his best collected rocks. He’d been a widower for years, and I guess we were something special to have in his home, and cook for, and show us pictures of his grandkids. He bestowed upon us our proper names in his language: La Renya and La Reynacita. We were honored. We didn’t stay long, for it had been one long day already, and there were many miles ahead, and already pictures to play with when we got back to our room. None of all the characters involved knew what a time we were going to have that night, but I have a very warm spot in my heart for Chama and the souls therein.

We found that the best way to have an adventure is to open your heart to it, and magic just walks in the door. So many have been envious of the life I lead, (believe me it’s not all pretty pictures and exciting roadtrips, like now when I’m battling my credit card processor…….), but I have to say it has its moments. Often I am asked, (by more “reasonable” persons):  Can you afford to do this?  And the most applicable answer is generally… No. But then, if I’m going to live this life righteously, in the way that I choose, and pursue my dreams and my art, then I have to answer:  But I can’t afford not to.  Otherwise there would have been no raft trips down the canyon, no tears of joy and wonder while exploring Antelope Canyon, and no magnificent Royal Road Trip with my new and always was Best Friend TheQueen. She said YES! And so did I. And here we were, on an adventure. Could we possibly have more fun? What do you think? And it was only the first day……

Cheers, Y’all!

The Royal Road Trip – Prelude

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10, 2011 by Queenie

The preliminaries, and actually the finishments of the Royal Road Trip, (henceforth known as the RRT), have already been recounted here. However, there remain an awful lot of details to be disseminated, and since I have this convenient time “at home,” and it’s too damned hot to do anything outside, (and the lake is gone), then what better occupation to be throwing myself into than sharing that wonderful trip with my minions. Well, there is always that Housecleaning Thing, and it is just that. There is always that Housecleaning Thing, and so shall it be, and it is. The right inspiration for that accomplishment is surely just around the next dust bunny. My dust bunnies resemble those from the Cenozoic – they appear to be descended from the saber-toothed bunnies running with the tigers of the time – and perhaps they will roam at will for just a bit longer. My pet spiders had better keep all eight eyes out.

The RRT has similarities to one of those homilies I’ve heard about Life in general: There is a Beginning, and an End, but all the Fun happens in the Middle. And you already know that Queenie is all about FUN. As you can well imagine, there was Fun in such copious amounts as to leave the two Queens practically breathless at times, and we’ve said that our angels must’ve been Happy Dancing in whatever aisles there are – wherever it is that they are – as they gave High Fives and Attagirls on every day of our ramblings. Every day was a gift, and we have the pictures to prove it.

In the matter of a Prologue, there was of course the necessary trip out of Texas and into New Mexico where I was to pick up TheQueen at the airport in Albuquerque. Now just about every trip Westward for me is a paean to some significant part of my previous existence, and so it was yet again. I lived in Albuquerque as a childlet, so it is another version of home to which I have a few momentous memories therefore attached. I can remember snowy treks to the high country of the Sandias – back when my jack of all scandalous trades father sold Jeeps for maybe a living, or not – and all of that can be verified in now faded photographs of the family being forever immortalized standing next to a fabulous Woody of a Jeep – which of course I really wish I still owned. Those were the days – evidently – sort of.

But even before getting to Albuquerque, where the Queens’ journey as a duo actually began, there was that getting to New Mexico. There is really not too much to be said about all that, except for the good feelings her royalness gets when she has finally crossed the state line and can indeed say that the Land of Enchantment is beneath her feet.

First order of business was just getting out of the driveway, which was impeded somewhat by Mr. Magic, the Royal Bird, (and justifiably so, you have to admit), of the Slippery Slope Ranch. While I was so eager to get out of the compound, he had his own agenda, and I had to wait till he decided it was time to move on. There seems to be no hurrying of The Bird. Despite having my camera at the ready, I didn’t get to it in time to catch him in full display, which has been his morning M.O. at the entrance to the property when in the height of his sartorial splendor.

 

The usual first stop on the more northerly route west is the Valero gas/convenience store in Llano, where every year I get to check on the bird nests in the signage. Yep, still there this year, even in the heat. I’ve got several different versions through the years, and this time I decided to do the obvious:

 

Ponygirl, my other faithful roadsteed of what I figure is of female persuasion and 4-hoof drive, was fueled and ready, and she balked nary a bit and was in fine form throughout the adventure. I literally manifested this vehicle out of the ethers a couple of years ago, and it’s been a wonderful relationship. She do like to run.

On exiting the Hill Country, one other obligatory stop on this particular route is Cooper’s Barbeque  – also in Llano – where I always stock up on their beef jerky.  It’s thick and hearty, and makes for a great non-stop variety of lunch on the road. (I have vague aspirations to be a vegetarian in my next life.) That and trail mix, fruit, and lots of ice tea and chocolate, and I can make many good miles at a fling. (Also keeps one away from the deadly Cheeseburger-on-the-Road experience, which is exceedingly bad for mpg with the added tonnage involved.)

My mascot road companions consist of a stuffed frog with a crown and a red lipstick kiss on his cheek, (let your imagination go with that one, and you’ll likely be more or less correct), and the little beaded roadrunner sculpture that I bought on the trail in Big Bend last spring, and a piece of fluorite purchased likewise, affixed to an illegally absconded with piece of pretty rock from the same area. So here’s the view out the front window, with the dreamcatcher hanging from the mirror barely in view.

 

Once past the miles and miles and then some miles down the road towards the south of the panhandle, things open up a bit and begin to look a somewhat different. Outside Lamesa, the flatness really settles in, and they’d actually grown some cotton before the drought began making its stand. I suppose they’re irrigating, too, for there were still a few more crops in waiting. They store the collected balls under roofing of varying types till they go to the gin, and it makes for strange scenery.

 

And truly, there’s not so much to say about the rest of that day until I got close to Ruidoso, where I was wondering how I was to dodge the Donaldson fire close to town. I could see flames topping the hills, but it was all still to the other side of the highway, so not much of a delay.

 

Once I made it into Ruidoso, it was so sad to see the hills in town blackened by the last big fire that happened back in spring, but the monsoons were finally beginning, so maybe that it will be it for the season, fire-wise. I rolled into town at the perfect time, and met my friend to pick up Chinese food before heading to the casita where I’d bunk in for the night. I thoroughly enjoyed putting my feet up and watching the river go by in front of us while we munched contentedly, and decompressed with a glass of wine. Simply good girlfriend time in a relaxed setting, and the Big Adventure would begin in the morning.

Some are slack jawed to think that TheQueen and I, unmet and even untalked to on the phone could or even would consider such an intimate encounter for miles and days on end, (well, it could be disastrous if in the company of a less tolerable personality, where there would be death on the road either by murder or suicide), but we had no qualms, and indeed, not one qualm was ever necessary.

All will be revealed. And on the morrow of the tale now being told, we are to meet for the first time, and head ourselves northward into the Great Unknown. Well, the semi-unknown, anyway. Oh boy.

Stay tuned, as the next installment will include The Meeting of the Queens, and our first day on the Royal Road as we reacquaint ourselves from our evident separation at birth, or some other significant shared existence in a previous life. Too much fun, indeed – or rather, just enough.

Rally the wagons, y’all. We’re off on an adventure.

Here’s to TheQueen

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2011 by Queenie

Well, I’ve gone and done it.  Or not, actually.  July has come and gone, and nary a peep from me in these parts, though there were a few updates here and there on Facebook.  Facebook – an alien entity which once I disdained from afar, only to find myself joined in, and touching perhaps so many more souls than Queenie ever imagined.  But FB is hardly the place to bare much of my inner ruminations, even as I have avoided doing that right here.

July was a trip.  Or two trips, rather.  The first was the Royal Road Trip, filled to overflowing with experiences from one end of the spectrum to two others, feeling like I was running out of spectrums to experience.  I met up with TheQueen, my sister from some previous life or a parallel version of this one, and we had us some sublime adventures while touring the West that I so love.  I have been, shall we say, shocked into some version of silence and reticent to recount our whirlwind travel tales here, for she went and had herself a royal heart attack shortly after she returned to her own castle.  So easy, (but not), to toss off those words — She had a heart attack.  But she did.  And on this particular morning as I write these words on this offwhite viewscreen of cyberspace, she will receive the results of her latest tests which will direct her to the next step of her recovery.  And it may be more than a step – it could be a helluva journey.  We don’t know yet, but I cannot let the unknown dictate what I do or don’t say anymore, while we await some verdict and decisions.  To just wait seems as unholy as censuring myself in the darkness of the unknowns.  Perhaps it’s time to honor my new (but lifetimes long) friend with the snapshots of a few memories from the trail, as we await what comes next.

 

After barely catching my breath from that adventure, Duty called, (you know how Duty is, even as I say I love my work), and off I went again in mere days to my favorite art show in New Mexico.  Well, not quite the sublime experience, as vehicle problems and a spottily attended art show added to the cobbles on the road.  Too many extra expenses and too much tumult in show production made for perhaps a break-even proposition, and these past middle age bones are a bit too worn to go through all those gyrations for the “make your expenses” reward system.  And yet, there were many artists who didn’t do even that, so I must remember Gratitude for coming back whole, and not “in the hole.”  Thank you for that.  And for no broken elbows this year!  And still I hope for recompense for the first repair to Arty (my trusty show steed) which didn’t hold, and that will help some.  It was all just mighty frustrating….. but then, not nearly as “frustrating” as a heart attack, right?

 

And so I use the new month and the big #1 on the calendar to begin again.  I am grateful, again, to be home for a while.  No big exploits planned until October when it’s back to New Mexico for a Cowboy Art Adventure.  Not sure what they’d make of my abstract landscapes, but we may give them a chance to pull off their cowboy hats and scratch their heads and scrape their boots in the dirt over a few of them.  I’ll be sure to take plenty of Horses though.  However there will be a slight respite soon to venture down south to hear my favorite singer again as he makes an appearance next weekend – a surprise engagement that will get me on yet another road trip way sooner than I anticipated – but just a mini one.

Time for home projects and new art ideas and working with photographs and inspiration from different quarters.  It’s hot as Blue Hades here – naught but day after day of 100 degrees plus.  The lake is all but gone, and too hot for this Queen to try to work in the dead and dying yard that can’t get enough water that we can’t afford.  However, despite the heat and drought, we have big bucks in velvet and as many as six fawns at once in the yard. Life, indeed, does go on….. somehow.

 

So here’s the challenge then — to make beauty from the sadness, the unknown, the undiscovered, the disappointments, the things we fear.  To honor what we do have:  Friendship, Love, our Beingness, our Promise, our Possibilities.  I’ve spent the last few or many days in holding my thoughts and words while waiting…. for what, exactly?  I no longer wait to mention my friend because we don’t know what will happen.  Hell’s Bells – none of us knows what is to happen, even when we think we do.  Here’s where insurance comes in, or so they tell me.  That, and the kindness of strangers.  And the blessings of Friends.

And so I ask you to add your prayers/healing thoughts/good wishes for the best possible result for my friend TheQueen.  She’s a keeper.  We’re planning new adventures.  What’s life without thinking about the next adventure, even as we tend to those Duties, and decide not to honor Fear.  Caution, maybe, but I’ve given up enough to Fear….. which is why I keep deciding not to watch the news.  But that’s another blog.

Here’s to TheQueen.  Long live TheQueen.  She’s a good’un.