Sunday morning after the trip.
The Amarillo to Dallas leg of the trip was conducted mainly in silence. The usual joking, laughing, and ribbing gave way to us being in our own world and our thoughts to ourselves. Or we were just tired and played out. It rained a lot on this leg, which enhanced the somber mood.
Note the lightning, hard to do that kind of photo during daylight. There's a reason that most lightning photos are done at night!(and yes, this was during the day).
This weather was no picnic...
I always have this fantasy vacation in my mind where I go to a beach and lie under a grass hut and do nothing but stare out at the ocean for days at a time. I've never done that and there are doubts I ever will. When I'm on vacation, I seem to be constantly moving, shark like, devouring scenery and food. Thanks to roadfood.com and chowhound.com for some great ideas on where to eat. We really never had a bum steer due to those web sites. And New Mexico is one of my favorite places to visit. It's relatively close by and though at times rather hot, the evenings are cool and a nice break from the Dallas heat.
I like to go to locally owned diners. The food is usually better and so is the service. Chains are ok at times, but the local places have more local color, and you get to know a place better by going to where the locals eat. I like to support these places with my dollar. They are in a fight for survival against national chains. I'd hate to see the day when the chains win out over the local establishments. WalMart does it to the mom and pop stores, I'd hate to see the food chains as successful.
One alarming thing I noticed is the amount small town America is losing all it's downtown stores. ABQ and Santa Fe were the few places that had a vibrant downtown. Most of the places we went through at least 50% to up to 100% of the downtown buildings were abandoned. Maybe these businesses were ill conceived or poorly financed, but it was really depressing to go through some of these towns and for the most part be ghost towns. Many of the stores were recently closed this year. With the internet and satellite TV available almost everywhere, maybe some retiring baby boomers will leave the burbs and inhabit some of the small towns and revive some of these areas.
I always find the homeward bound leg of a trip depressing. My mind drifts to the upcoming reality, the horrors that await me at work, bills to pay, etc.
But we had a lot of fun on this trip. It was some 370 days ago we were in New Mexico last. We have dollar bills posted up on the wall of the Blue Gator in Amarillo to prove it. This year we added the date we were there on our respective bills, maybe next year we can do the same.
Oh, the bear story: when we camped out in the hills above Santa Fe, as we were setting up camp, the park ranger stopped by. He informed us that there had been a bear in the area that liked to visit the dumpster right by our campsite. Later on that evening as we headed down the mountain to go get a bite to eat, sure enough there was the small black bear in the road along with two deer scrambling up the embankment to elude our headlights. I didn't think too much about it until the next day, on the way to the golf course there was a modern looking sculpture on the side on the road- of two deer and a small bear.
A small technical note: if you double click on the photos it enlarges them. Didn't notice that until today.
Hope you enjoyed the journey, it was fun to stay connected even if it was just a quick e-mail or two.
See ya on the road!