Back On The Road

March 24, 2014 § 2 Comments

I am back. Back to blogging. Back on the road. Again New Hampshire to Santa Fe. Taking a different road this time.

Some of my entries will have more text, others just pictures and captions.

The past few days have been exhausting and I will write more about this soon. So for today I’ll just give you a couple of photos:

New Jersey Turnpike. March 2014

Manhattan from the New Jersey Turnpike on March 23rd 2014.

We drove down to New York City, stayed in Manhattan for 3 days and left yesterday for our road trip. This is the first picture I took from our car, with my iphone.

Sunrise Cafe, Woodstock, VA. March 2014

The Sunrise Cafe, a lucky find in the Shenandoah Valley.

It was still so cold today. 34 degrees at lunch time in Woodstock, VA.

Rural Appalachia

Rural Appalachia

 

The forecast for tomorrow: “Blizzard watch” starting at 4am. Planning a late morning departure for North Carolina. Will there be Spring one day?

 

 

 

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A Quiet Christmas

December 24, 2013 § 1 Comment

( Holy. According to Douglas Harper, of Online Etymologie Dictionary “Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not impossible to determine, but it was probably “that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated,”)

A Holy Day it is. Whether you celebrate Christmas with a religious reverence or simply look forward to sharing the day with family, friends or strangers, giving and receiving, I wish you a Holy Day. A day of rest, a day of peace, a day of wonder, a simple day. Because stopping the calendar machine for one day and making that day Holy in our own way is good and free, light and quiet. So have a Holy Day tomorrow. Snow on Queen Ann's LaceSnow on Wild GrassSnow and SumacSnow on White Pine 2Snow laden pine branchSnow and Red Berries

Historic Route 66

November 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

For 6 hours yesterday and another 6 today we have been driving East on Route 66. From the high desert of eastern New Mexico,  the Texas Panhandle, all across Oklahoma and tonight the Ozarks in Missouri, we saw deep America on this mythical road.

One could say there’s nothing to see from a highway, at least nothing spectacular. Flat dry plains interspaced between occasional clusters of truck stops, gas stations, fast food restaurants and motels, a couple of spruced up old fashioned diners for the nostalgics of 66 complete with oldies music in the bathrooms, the ubiquitous fireworks superstore and adults megastores, it’s a treeless landscape studded with wind turbines, cell towers, telegraph poles, giant white crosses, tall Phillips 66 poles or American flags: Historic Route 66.

Oldies Nostalgia

Oldies Nostalgia, Clines Corner Restaurant.

Patterns on a table and a glass of milk, Route 66

Patterns on a table and a glass of milk, Clines Corner, New Mexico on Route 66.

Big Vern's Steakhouse

Big Vern’s Steakhouse, Shamrock, Texas.

History on a historic road

History on a historic road.

Landscape of the Oklahoma Heartland

Landscape of the Oklahoma Heartland.

A place to spend hard earned money. Joplin, Missouri.

A place to spend hard earned money. Joplin, Missouri.

Red Or Green

November 6, 2013 § 2 Comments

We left Santa Fe bright and early today after three weeks of moving and settling in our little adobe house. As we are just beginning to feel comfortable finding our way around the city and having staked out favorite places for breakfast or dinner, compared quality and value among the main grocery stores and made acquaintances with a couple of bakery owners and garage mechanics, it’s time to go back to New England for our last winter, sell our house and say goodbye.

The Kakawa Chocolate House in Santa FE, where I totally fell in love with hot and spicy chocolate!

The Kakawa Chocolate House in Santa Fe, where I totally fell in love with hot and spicy chocolate!

Powerfully Delicious!

Powerfully Delicious!

Now  I am eager to eventually become a local in New Mexico and Santa Fe (as opposed to a  mere visitor). However I have a feeling it will take time and dedication on my part to achieve such a goal.

Even if I am fairly confident that, given time,I can learn to pronounce the spanish names and terms correctly, try to look casual in a pair of worn low profile cowboy boots or breathe normally after climbing only 3 steps or walking across a street, I know now that there will be some major hurdles to get over.

And the number one is… eating my chile.

” Red or Green?” that is the question.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner, whenever I order from a simple menu of local food, diner food, food truck food or any food that is not considered exotic and fancy, here it comes! I can’t eat my chile! I wont touch my chile! I am just like a picky eater kid with my chile.

Most embarrassingly I don’t even know the difference between red or green! I feel too stupid to ask so I’ll have to find out the hard way: Taste both and compare.

See, the big problem for me is that if an invisible speck of chile touches my tongue, I am afraid I will turn reddish purple, stop breathing and instantly combust on my chair. So I don’t dare yet or I should say have the courage to eat anything that looks remotely spicy, more precisely anything with a spanish name except for Dulce de Leche or Flan.

For example the other day I succumbed and ordered a chocolate lava cake for dessert at a barbecue place. It sounded pretty safe, even after the waitress warned me that it had just a hint of chile in it. I was too embarrassed to change my mind so I said boastingly and probably with a weird smile  ” Oh! I’m sure it’s okay, I’ll take it. Thank you”.

A hint? That’s what they call a hint? After only one bite I forgot what chocolate or vanilla, or sugar or dessert ever tasted like, and drank my whole glass of  ice water in one shot before I could put down my fork in defeat.

I was sad to leave this morning and looking forward to coming back in the spring to resume my “assimilation”. But I was also secretely relieved to know that in a few days and after many miles on the road again I will be ordering New England clam chowder and Boston Cream Pie…with plain, sweet and very bland whipped cream.

Last stop before leaving New Mexico this morning.

Last stop before leaving New Mexico this morning.

Virtual neighbor

October 26, 2013 § 1 Comment

It has been a little over a week since the moving truck miraculously, as it seemed for us,  found our driveway and delivered our old household goods and treasures from across the country.

At the end of the trail

At the end of the trail

We drove over two thousand miles with a car loaded with last minute additional stuff, so many years after the last covered wagon brought settlers westward over a long and treacherous journey, carrying only the bare essentials to start a new home.

I'll always remember when the truck pulled in...

I’ll always remember when the truck pulled in…

In the past year I had been reading journals and letters from pioneer women, fascinated by the stories of their feats, misadventures and tribulations over months-long cross country trips of a lifetime. I have thought of them often since we  left our New England home three weeks ago. Of course there are many obvious differences between what they had to put up with and what my husband and I have experienced on the journey. Obvious because of the progress in transportation, communications, safety, accommodations, and all those  things we take for granted now.  However there is one thing that was not at all obvious for me at first:  the now indispensable help of the internet.

Every day since we arrived in Santa Fe, we have relied on our cell phone internet connection for information that would have taken months to gather from friendly, welcoming neighbors, local word of mouth, or through multiple trials and errors.

Chez Mamou, a great breakfast!

Chez Mamou, a great breakfast!

Where is the closest Home Depot? How do we dispose of our trash; where do we recycle so many cardboard moving cartons? Where and when do the local farmers’ markets take place? Where is the best breakfast place in town? What does a black widow spider look like, or tips on bread baking in high altitude. A few samples of the questions we constantly have asked Siri, and even if she was fairly reliable, unlike a local old timer she didn’t answer with a local accent (we got good laughs at how she pronounced street addresses like “Camino del Cielo” or “Calle Acequia Baja,” for example).

So now what kind of questions can we come up with to have a pretext to meet our neighbors, to hear the local lore, to listen to the views of an old local sage who brings unique, quirky insights on the community, to exchange and compare views on our respective backgrounds. To make friends who, as our neighbors back in New England, might one day come to the rescue when bad weather strikes, or bring vegetables from their garden surplus; whose wayward dog we can safely return to them from our yard; or just to shoot the breeze when we are all out in our driveways?

Our windows on our new neighbor's

Our windows on our new neighbor’s

We can always Skype with our old friends and neighbors back in New England, but no matter how strong the signal is around here the Internet will not bring us close to our new neighbors the way a knock on their door will.

Panhandle Plains

October 15, 2013 § 2 Comments

If you want to have breakfast on the road after you leave Lubbock on your way to Amarillo be prepared to drive about 50 miles before you find a place that will serve anything to eat. Mile after mile we saw nothing but flat land, a couple of small towns, cotton gin plants, farm equipment and truck parts garages, grain mills and their railroad, abandoned homes and gas stations.  Hungry and with our eyes fixed towards the roadsides or the seemingly never ending road straight ahead on the horizon, we sat silently, feeling like total strangers in this bleak end of the world. A place where no one goes anywhere or lives for much.

Abernathy, TX, early .morning on main street

Abernathy, TX, early .morning on main street.

Looking for food on Main Street, Abernathy, it felt like we were in a ghost town

Looking for food on Main Street, Abernathy, it felt like we were in a ghost town.

Finally, in the town of Plainview, past New Deal, we saw a couple of fast food signs and stopped at an IHOP. It was chilly, 48 degrees, with a biting wind and still overcast, but warm inside, serving a hot breakfast.

Further along the road, the skies cleared.

Further along the road, the skies cleared.

An hour or so later the sun came out on the plains.  Looking forward to a walk in the fresh air, we went to Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo.

A flowing creek in Palo Duro Canyon is an ephemeral site.

A flowing creek in Palo Duro Canyon is an ephemeral site.

And tonight we stay at The Big Texan Motel in Amarillo, our last night before Santa Fe and our new home …

A colorful Texas motel,

So different from this morning's world, yet still in Texas.

Texas in Technicolor

A room at Big Texan in Amarillo

complete with a horse hotel,

Horse Hotel

Horses Welcome

A REAL horse hotel!

A restaurant,

Dinner in Amarillo

 

Steak in Texas

Cowboy Dinner

And to top it all off a glorious evening sky…

Glorious evening sky

 

Through The Texas Panhandle

October 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

Back on the road today, we drove from Austin to Abilene to Lubbock in the Texas Panhandle. At last, away from the Interstate, the road was quiet and the landscape peaceful. The sky was overcast with heavy rain or drizzle so we got to see Texas in unusual weather.

On Highway 84 near Abilene

On Highway 84 near Abilene

Goldthwaite, Texas

Goldthwaite, Texas

green meadow in Texas

Texas meadow after a few rainy days

Near Rising Star, Texas

Near Rising Star, population 835.

Lunch here?

Lunch here?

Peabody’s restaurant in Goldthwaite was a bet but it turned out to be a great find. The place looked like a modern concrete and steel barn, industrial decor at its most authentic, where farmers on lunch break where catching up on the topic of the week: the rain!

We could have been in 1970, 80, 90, 2000 or now, no way to tell for sure. Best choice on the menu: a juicy, fluffy slice of meatloaf made by the wife of the restaurant’s buffet server, with ‘tatoes and white gravy, corn bread and glazed carrots…. and mmm, it was good!

Great Lunch at Peabody's

Great Lunch at Peabody’s

Later, back in the car, my husband woke me up around Roscoe to see that we were driving through what turned out to be one of the largest wind farm in the world. We would have never thought that in the Oil State alternative energy projects were also Texas size!

Wind Fr

Wind farms and cotton fields

The landscape changed as we neared Lubbock. Oil wells with their dutiful jack pumps bowing regularly appeared all around us in the middle of backyards, cotton fields, parking lots and abandoned plots.

Oil well near Lubbock, TX

Panhandle Landscape

And in Lubbock, after a steak dinner and

Dinner in Lubbock, TX

Dinner at Bryan’s Place

as there was not much else to do, we finally checked in for the day,Pub in Lubbock, TX

but not before taking one or two last pictures, in Red, White and Blue!Blue door in back street, Lubbock,TX