Listen, Caesar, there is only one road in life and it’s this one. Freedom, baby!
Are you sure this is the best pose for a picture?
Pee Wee the Chihuahua is a Mexican con artist. Always playing up to the mistress.
George if you diversity your portfolio you run less risk than “sure bets.” Trust me on this one. Did I tell you I did off shore accounts as well?
Oh well, I guess this is better than being in the dog shelter. Poor little devils.
A while back I was feeling a bit depressed. Not just one thing, several things over several years. Being in y our late 60′s, single with no one to nag you, makes for a boring life. Ever since I lost Tiger a year ago, I have neither the desire or energy to raise another pup. Tiger was a good companion and everywhere we went he opened doors and seem to sense what was needed for the occasion.
On April 2nd, I traveled up the coast of California to visit my daughter, Eva, and my granddaughter, Alexis. Alexis was on school break and visiting her grandmother who lives in Ventura CA, so the plan was for me to pick Alex up in Ventura and then drive up to San Leandro a community below Oakland CA and spend a week catching up my daughter and granddaughter.
It is always good to get away from the hustle of the metropolitan area east of L.A. as the drive north is scenic with fantastic views of the ocean (if you take Highway 101, North) and countryside (Interstate 5 through Central California).
She hates to have her picture taken. Surprised she agreed to this one.
My daughter works for a computer hardware firm and is a single mom making the best of a difficult situation. Alex is in the 8th grade and ready to start high school next year. Besides Anime videos and the Twilight movies, she attends martial arts classes almost every day. It never ceases to amaze me how time flies and before you know it, young people are getting married, having children and wondering themselves how time flies. Mankind is short-lived but an interesting species in its intensity and lust for life. It is kind of like living on the edge 24/7 never knowing when or where it will all end.
A good girl and determined like her mother.
While there, we spend time kidding around (my daughter has a sick sense of humor which she did not get from me), took in the movie, “Host” about alien invaders who take over human bodies for their own good, and had breakfast at Denny’s before I left.
I was feeling rather sad and nostalgic on the way back to San Bernardino. My wife divorced me when our children were not even teenagers but I have tried to stay in touch with them as best I could and now retired it is easier to spend time with them.
I took I-5 on my return trip and between Los Banos and Panoche, I saw a girl waving her hands in the air and next to a car that appeared disabled. Never wanting to miss an opportunity to be a good Samaritan, I stopped to investigate. Little did I know that I would spend the next three hours getting to know them while assisting them get back on the road. As it turned out we were not able to change the tire as the spare did not fit, so I used my AAA card to have them towed to the nearest off ramp. With the help of the tow truck driver who seemed like minded in wanting to help, they were able to continue their journey. I do not know the final outcome of their adventure but I believe they made it home to Bakersfield alright.
Crystal, Allison and Andrew.
The picture is of Crystal (dark hair in a bun) the driver, and her son, Andrew, and their friend, Allison, a 26 year old with a rather interesting background. Allison stated she was on her own since the age of 10 and had traveled all over the U.S. working odd jobs and was thinking of going to Africa with a band as a dancer – kind of a wandering spirit with a touch of wonder and kindness.
Both Crystal and Allison were talkative and certainly glad to finally have someone stop and lend a hand. Apparently, I was the only one that stopped although they had tried to wave down help for over an hour. A CHP unit had also zipped by without stopping. Too many people in a hurry to get somewhere.
Upon arriving home, the T.V. news was inundated with the Boston terror bombings with speculation running wild. This will be the topic of my next post. We live in difficult and dangerous times and anyone not preparing for the worse is going to find themselves at a disadvantage. More on survival later.
Somewhere between Truth or Consequences and Hatch, NM, I saw a pretty flattened-out coyote on the freeway. Just a few hundred yards later I saw this road runner (the roadrunner is a fast-running bird that has a long tail and a crest. The bird is found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. The roadrunner is also called a chaparral bird or chaparral cock. Some Road Runners have been clocked at 20 miles per hour and are usually found in the desert.) dash in front of my car with his head high and long tail fluttering in the wind.
I immediately remembered the cartoons of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner which I loved watching as a kid. Here is a clip of these desert characters from my cartoon-watching childhood.
On the way back from the Albuquerque area I stopped at several places to include Hatch, a small highway community known for its New Mexico chile and the unusual town of Truth or Consequences, a beautiful little community some 6 six miles from the main highway and named after the TV program by the same name.
Truth or Consequences is an American television show originally hosted on NBC radio by Ralph Edwards (1940–1957).
Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed its name to Truth or Consequences, the title of a popular NBC radio program. In 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program from the first town that renamed itself after the show. Hot Springs won the honor. Edwards visited the town during the first weekend of May for the next fifty years.
Anyway here are some photographs of both towns and a couple of videos to add some animation to my narratives.
There is some tiled fountain art in front of the the Geronimo museum in Truth or Consequences, NM that is very unusual.
Juanita is the manager at the store where I purchased some chile and bought some souvenirs for my family. She has been a chile maker for years
. Two very beautiful ladies who work as volunteers at the Geronimo Museum. We talked about UFOs, Indian culture and life in general. Two kindred souls met along the way.
The entrance to the Geronimo Museum in Truth or Consequences, NM had a museum outside as well!
A portrait of Geronimo, one of the greatest Indian Chiefs of the Indian Wars with Mexico and the U.S. Calvary.
“Ristras” are strands of long chiles characteristic of cuisine from New Mexico. They were on sale that day for $12, a steal.
After leaving the Cerrillos area and spending time with John and Hilda, Gina’s friends, I proceeded south on Highway 14 back toward Albuquerque, the backway.
Fourteen is a windy, juniper-rich area with great vistas and small communities along the way. Madrid is a small town with many little shops reminiscent of an earlier period, kids were skateboarding right on the highway and shops were enticing the tourists with food and souvenirs, signs of land for sale, horses, and plenty of dirt roads. I took some phone number down to call later and inquire.
Back on Interstate 25 heading south toward the Arizona/New Mexico border, I stopped in the city of Belen to check out some property I saw advertised online for about $2,300 per acre. I finally found it using my GPS but I found the lack of roads and significant vegetation a negative, although I will keep looking until I find my querencia.
If you like isolation and little communities then New Mexico is for you, but do not expect five-star accommodations, live theater or large shopping malls.
I later passed through Socorro, a very sad looking town right off I25 that is know for a UFO sighting in 1964. To make a short story even shorter, Sheriff Lonnie Zamora (died in 2009) saw and investigated an explosion on the hills north of town and saw first hand what looked like a oval shaped craft sitting on legs next to two or three small men with white overalls. He saw the craft take off and later investigation determined that the sand beneath the craft, now gone, had turned to glass and four imprints of landing gear were seen by both Zamora and another officer who was called to the scene.
The owners of Harold’s Curio Shop told me they knew Zamora and a more sincere and honest man there never was. I was fortunate to have found a local resident who gave me an interview about the incident. Zamora was apparently the target of some criticism and he never really lived down the controversy the incident created.
Just a note on motel accommodations. I have found over the years that you do not always get what you pay for. Anything with “Budget” or “Inn” is usually not a up to par. Nonetheless, the Motel 6 chain with over a 1,000 motels throughout the United States is usually a good bet with rates below $40 (senior discounts). They are clean, close to freeways and restaurants and the staff for the most part are helpful and friendly. They will have, in most cases free Internet, laundry facilities and vending machines. The young lady ictured below told me about the best hamburger place in the area and was able to give me a downstairs room right next to the swimming pool, but who was going swimming in 35 degree weather?
By the way the hamburger place is called Blake’s Lot-of-Burger and they are found in most large cities in New Mexico. They have excellent breakfast burritos but if you are not used to New Mexico chile (hot, hot hot!) tell them to hold on the sauces.
My first stop leaving the snow covered elevations of Gallup was a self storage facility just on the outskirts of Albuquerque, Extra Space Storage.
My plan has always been to store my critical camping items somewhere in the heart of New Mexico and then explore areas in which I might build a small cabin or rent an out-of-the-way house.
After storing my belongs I drive to the Cerrillos area and the property Gina owns which as you may remember she allowed me to stay while I searched for a place of my own. Her neighbor are friends who were expecting me so I finally found their place which was not an easy task.
Green Junipers, blue skies, white clouds and typical of the New Mexico experience
Greeting from Gina’s friends and neighbors in Valencia County, NM.
Friday, February 08, 2013: Sitting here at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Needles having breakfast before I hit the road with a destination of Kingman then Flagstaff (Arizona). There was a dummy of a cowboy sitting on a chair as I entered the restaurant and once at my table I could see an old timer (like me) with a NRA (National Rifle Association) cap, two couples probably passing through the area and a local fire department official with a friend.
The signs around the restaurant reflect some local attitudes as follows:
• You might be a redneck is you’ve ever done your Christmas shopping at a truck stop.
• Life is all about how you handle “Plan B”
• You might be a redneck if you view duct tape as a long term investment.
• Complaint Department – 200 miles
All you hear in the news currently is the shooting of several California police officers by one of their own – a disgruntled ex-cop from the Los Angeles Police Department. He is on a rampage because of an alleged conspiracy wherein he saw himself as the victim of some sort of discrimination or injustice. He apparently published a “manifesto” on his website them proceeded to kill a couple he knew and three police officers, one in Riverside and the others in Los Angeles. He has not been caught as of yet, but police agencies all over the state are in high alert. He is reported to have a “hit list.” His pictures show a rather large black man with muscles and a large smile. He is also a weapons expert according to news accounts and served in the military as a military policeman.
Having served in probation and the court system for over seven years I fully appreciate that law enforcement agencies have a problem not only with the community but within their ranks. Such is the nature of a military hierarchical structure.
This kind of incident certainly is unusual considering the national concern with gun control following the Newtown shooting which resulted in children and teachers being killed by a deranged student. If nothing else it brings to the foreground that it is not weapons that are at fault but rather their possession by unstable elements in society private individuals as well as public officials. If the laws currently on the books were more effectively enforced we would not have the problem we have now with regard to gun violence.
Should we also require universal background checks for pocket knives, baseball bats and ice picks? I don’t think so.
More shots of my ride across the California/Arizona border.
Thursday evening, 10:07 PM in a motel called Knights Inn in Needles CA. Left San Bernardino around 2:00 PM this afternoon and will head out tomorrow morning hoping to get to Albuquerque NM sometime in afternoon or evening.
The winds on the high desert were moderately strong but they subsided as I approached Needles. Took some pictures in the Victorville area and video as I drove along.