Things have been quiet here with the Road Worrier for the past few weeks but recently, some new adventures have cropped up. Last week, after visiting the Flint Hills with my friend and colleague Cheryl Unruh (check out her http://www.flyoverpeople.net/ for that story), I headed back to New Mexico. Today, my dad and I got a chance to visit some land, including an old ranch house, that the family once owned. The ranch was a vacation house where we spent a lot of weekends during my early years. I had not quite realized how much that little ranch had shaped me during my growing up. I sorta knew it then but now really can see how much my appreciation of the NM landscape came from those times out there. This was a place with electricity but no running water. We had to use an outhouse but at night we listened to the local Spanish stations from Las Vegas NM on the radio (no TV reception either). In these years of the late 1970s and early 1980s, there were no cell phones to annoy, no satellite TV with 300 channels and no wii game sticks to distract us. It was quiet and relaxing--the occasional chore notwithstanding.
Going back now decades later, it is amazing how much has changed and how little has changed.
The area was and is very remote. It is a place where, as my dad says, you want to drive on the upper half of the tank (your gas tank over half full) since there aren't a lot of facilities for the motorist out here. The roads are dirt out here. Little twists and turns that I had long forgotten. The earth is a lot more reddish than I remembered. The desert plants have a spicy smell. Some of the old adobes are now in ruins. Even took a picture in one old home of the remains of a chair in a room.
Other families have brought in mobile homes. Prefab to the rescue when maintaining adobe is too much, I guess. I am glad I made it back there.