Posts Tagged With: United States

There’s Not Much Hope in Hope

I have immersed myself in my friends’ lives (both past and present) for the span of a week. I am so very honored that they have entrusted me to help edit a book retelling their lives. Lives that have not only survived unimaginable events that could have destroyed (both literally and figuratively) most of us, but lives that have thrived in so many ways and went on to benefit others. I get teary-eyed when I think about it. One is a lawyer, the other is a doctor, both are activists. I am in awe of and love these two very much. Soon you will be able to read about it. “Beauty and Beyond” will be coming online and to a bookstore near you.

It’s Carlsbad where I have arrived after my 27 hours of car, train, and waiting time in between. Since I have a limited time here, I want to take advantage of the time with them as much as I can, so we have been immersed in the writing. It’s also been so very hot outside that it is not the place to be. Carlsbad is home to the Carlsbad Caverns which are beautiful and certainly worth a visit but I’ve been there before so not a good enough excuse to play hooky. But since even God rested on the 7th day, on the 8th day they take me to the mountains where they have a few acres. I am going to be a tourist with local guides!

Frank has left the night before and will be meeting us in Mayhill. So it’s a girl’s road trip for Marta and me. We don’t pack because this is going to be a day trip. From Carlsbad, NM to Mayhill, NM is about two hours. But first how can we not stop in a town named Hope? When Marta mentions it she has a twinkle in her eye. I need not wonder why for we arrive in Hope soon enough. It t is soon apparent that this town should change its name. An old building which housed Alice’s Treasure at some point is the first to great us. undefined It initially makes me yearn for my little antique/collectible stall I had in a mall in Orange, CA but this store ended up like mine, shut down and lonely. The Hope Store also is closed. undefined All that is left are the signs. In the “garden” a tractor that is very much like the ones I saw in my birth country of Paraguay. undefined This one has no more life in it.

And then there’s the washing machine which brings me memories of my grandma. I can almost see her squeezing the clothes through the rollers to then hang them in the sun on the clothesline to dry. She was a strong woman. One that took control of the household and smoked cigars she rolled herself.

Surprisingly, this town has a USPS a post office that is large and new-looking. Even though, across the street is the only Fire Department that itself has burned down. I can’t think of no other with that fate. (I would later find out that the Fire Department in Carlsbad had a hotel construction next to it which burned down even with its firehouse next door.) It may be a New Mexico thing. Before we reach Mayhill, Marta wants us to stop at Tom and Pam Runyan Ranches. undefined She wants the owner to meet me. Unfortunately he was undergoing some medical procedure and I didn’t get to chat with him. There’s a petting zoo here. undefined One where a camel and an Asian water buffalo co-exist and, dare I say, have formed a friendship.

In the pen you will also find pigs and goats and a few other species.

It’s a rescue farm and they re-home as many animals as they can. I have a little kitten who hitched a ride in the engine of the car (TWO rides of 20 minutes each!) that I would love to find a home for. But they don’t take domestic pets. Anyone? I will deliver! Here is a picture taken by master Pet with Human photographer Johanna Siegmann.

Bootsie has the “Stop maaa, it’s my spotlight.” look.

This metal overgrown rooster has yet to find a home as well. A few signs catch my attention.

And we arrive at their town. It’s only a few blocks long.

Then off to their property undefined to drop off a few things.

We arrive only a few minutes later and pick Frank up to go to Cloudcroft which is 9,000 feet up undefined and a ski haven, therefore a more touristy town.

Our main focus is to buy an incredible piece of pie and a really, really good burrito (not eaten in that order but listed in order of importance).

With our bellies nice and full and our sweet tooth more than satisfied we are ready to move on.

And on we go to Shady Pines. The house of a local woman that holds wonderful classical concerts in the summer.

The place is pretty magical. She is super creative and the garden is chockfull of wonderful plants (she gives me a chocolate mint one, whose aroma later permeates the car and makes me hungry once again), of little quaint areas to rest in, and paths where you can channel your Zen.

Everywhere you look there is something to smile about.

And we head back with a pit stop to take a photo of flowers and bees.

The day after comes my own trip back to Los Angeles.

And I wish not to forget that I would close my blogs with a song. Any song that resonates with me or that catches my attention. So here goes… because this is how I may be feeling.

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Categories: New Mexico, Uncategorized, United States, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

On The Road Again…

We head out today.  Once again on the road.  Am excited.  I almost feel like I’m relocating.  The car is packed and I compartmentalized everything knowing full well that along the way the interior will turn into a chaotic mess where I will not be able to find the most essential necessities.  But I’m okay with that.

It’s early in the morning and we have about 8 hours, 545 miles to reach Redding where we are staying on our way to Seattle.   Never been past San Francisco so I am all revved up to go and explore.  As usual, I only know what Daisy, my GPS, chooses to share with me.  Though I have sort of mapped out through http://www.roadtrippers.com our route, I basically am ignorant of what terrain we are crossing -something that later on in the trip I will learn to regret.

So far, the 5 North has proven itself to be exactly what I thought it would be.  Lots of traffic and with stretches which are absolutely, hypnotically boring. But I like driving and it doesn’t phase me.  There is good music on the stereo and I can go on forever. When I was in OZ and NZ my guy did all the driving.  I was not to keen (an Aussie expression) on driving on the wrong side of the road or, as in New Zealand, having the stick shift on the left.  Too much to concentrate on!  So while he was in the West Coast I was intent on doing all the driving.  Good intentions.  Not so good on the execution of it.

About 4 hours in more or less, we pass Gustine, CA.  Actually, we don’t pass it since I see a big sign that says Andersen’s Pea Soup Company 20121227_120207 and Baby Blue (aka: my Prius) perks up and suggests that my Aussie passenger should experience a bit of Americana. Now in its 75th year of existence it is more an experience than excellent dining. Baby Blue goes in.  I have pea soup and chicken salad.  Pea SoupAussie has steak and eggs. Both on the mediocre side but heck, we are experiencing part of American history!

And the trip continues with not much more excitement.   We use airbnb often when we travel.  Staying in a local person’s home who guide you as to where to go and what to do is so much more welcoming and holds more warmth than staying at a hotel and usually paying more.  It also comes with some perks.  Our hosts in Redding, where we arrive 4 hours after our coma-inducing ingestion of food, have a Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy (Is there an Aussie theme here?) of about 3 months that is so fun to play with!  She is the size of a chihuahua for now and will grow to only about 10 pounds.   Jamma (which I am sure is spelled wrong) was such a happy little girl that she would not stay still for a photo.

Morning wakes us up to a dreary rainy, cold day (34º F).  But off we go!  On our way to Portland, where we have decided to head straight for.   The drizzle is constant but I am unconcerned.  But less than an hour in we are heading up and it’s starting to get colder and now the raindrops have turned into snowflakes and they are swirling on my windshield. We are about 3,000 ft up the mountain. I’m not liking that this is combined with mountains and curves.  Oh my!  Then the windshield wipers aren’t wiping as well and I’m noticing Baby Blue’s windshield is icing up.  My legs start trembling.  Remembering my friend Dani Kehm who has a blog about panic attacks. (I’ve linked her name to her blog.) Haven’t had one in eons but my heart is beating way too fast… Dean asks me if I’ve driven in snow before.  The answer is no.  Do you want me to drive? Yes. Yes. Yes. Please! I am surprised as to how scared I am. Feeling like a wus but that doesn’t stop my legs from shaking.  So I pulled into Dunsmuir.  A lovely town.  If I weren’t so nervous I’d notice how the area is so incredibly beautiful under snow.  The exit ramp is icy and snowed in.

It looks so peaceful... though still shaking I take out my camera and take this photo.

It looks so peaceful… though still shaking I take out my camera and take this photo.

Dean is guiding me as to what to do.  We pull at a gas station and I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for not being alone.  We still have 5 hours to Portland.   He drives for a few hours while it’s still snowing and icy and yucky.  Eventually we go down the mountain and it stops snowing.

The HouseWe arrive in Portland mercifully after rush hour.  It’s about 8:30.  The city surprises me as to how huge it is.  It’s a maze of intersecting freeways.  I’m at the wheel now, tired, cranky, and missing most of my turns and exits (which is not that unusual with me).   We once again have booked through airbnb.  This time I had communication with the host on the road.  We arrive at a charming craftsman-style house.  It’s chilly and it’s still drizzling but as soon as we come in we are greeted by the most welcoming human host and two of the sweetest and cutest cats ever.

These photos were taken in the morning.

PiperPiper, a gray beauty that I knicknamed “burpee” ’cause she loves to be held and patted like when you burp a newborn.

Ready for a petting session.

Ready for a petting session.

P1140223   Her tags match the season. :)

Her tags match the season. 🙂

P1140216

Phineas, her brother, a shiny black cat that wears a bow tie with grace and pride.  The house is warm, our room is perfect and I am extremely content to be here.

He's totally owning that couch!

He’s totally owning that couch!

A side “bow tie” view.P1140219

A front bowtie view.

A front bow tie view.

Our bed is super comfy and it doesn’t take long to be in the arms of Morpheus.  I dream of flat terrain and no snow and a day when I can transport myself with no other means of transportation than my mind.

Categories: Alberta Arts District, California, Dunsmuir, Gustine, Oregon, Portland, Redding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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