The Royal Road Trip – Prelude

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.


2 Responses to “The Royal Road Trip – Prelude”

  1. Ready to read more!

    Well….I certainly had fun just now reading through that episode!
    LMAO envisioning you waiting while Mr. Magic was slowly sauntering! Very glad you had some good quiet time and great music and a good friend to share the end of a long day.
    Oohhh, I am staying tuned…this is going to be a FUN ride!!
    In big smile,

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