Special Edition: What I Did On Vacation   Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What's worse than looking at at a proud parent's baby pictures?

How about looking at someone else's vacation pictures?

Sorry, but that's what this is about, a few (and I emphasize "a few, " relative to over 100 I had to choose from), along with  my seven day journal.

New Mexico is a land of vista enchantment, so I have some of those pics, also a few from a little side trip a weird place.

But mostly the pictures are about Santa Fe, it's architecture and it's art.

day 1, starting late

day 2, scrub brush and little green men

day 3, gone to the mountain

day 4, introducing the usual suspects

day 5, denizens of the day and night

day 6, starting the long drive home

day 7, home is the traveler

I should say that the journal entries don't necessarily relate or refer to the previous photos or the photos that follow them. I had a lot of photos and wanted to include them in a way that they didn't end up all in one place. So  they're scattered throughout.

day one, starting late

starting late
we stop for the night in Fort Stockton,
passing beginning 40 miles east of the dry dusty city,
mesa after  meas crowned with slow-turning wind turbines

not much of a city,
a convenient place to stop for the night
when you start late

the field of white goats
grazing among coal black creosote bushes
was worth the

day 2, scrub brush and little green men

usually an early riser
so on the second day I'm up at 5,
looking for coffee in Fort Stockton where
they don't unroll the sidewalks
for another two hours

finally coffeed-up and breakfasted-full 
we head for Albuquerque,
6 hours traveling  according to our GPS,
a straight road with no  turn, again
according to our GPS, for 122 miles
across the state border an  time zone
to Carlsbad...

the first 50 miles to Pecos
present the Texas stereotype most
who've never been  to the state
envision whenever they think bout it
if they ever think about it at all...

flat as far as the eye can see,
sand and gravel broken only
by stringy, knee-high bush,
the only excitement about 20 miles
into the long drive, cougar 
running across the highway
with the speed and long-stretched
grace of an alley cat dodging
taxi cabs in Houston...

the passage to and through Pecos
uneventful except for dense
fog that falls and rises, leaving
the flat prairie grass and rocks
and low brush sparkling like diamonds
from the dew the fog  dropped
as it  passed...

after Pecos, the last habitation,
no matter how  uninhabited, tiny Olna,
nothing but a quarter mile on either side of the road
of falling down,  derelict buildings, roofs gone
walls fallen down, abandoned buildings,the only living soul
I saw, a tarantula crossing the road, this time
the same ruined buildings, and, again, a tarantula,
maybe the town's only survivor since last I passed...

across the state line, crashing from 80 mph
in Texas to a New Mexico 55 mph sped limit,
behind huge  oilfield trucks going 40

passing the several small towns 
along the way to Carlsbad, tiny towns
that seem to stretch their city limits
and their 30 mph speed limits for miles,
like going nowhere slowly...

then Carlsbad,  which, if you're not  going
to the caverns is just a big whoop and good-bye,
then to Roswell, the alien  town, where
I stop downtown to  take  picture of the
Alien Museum and Research Institute
(adding the "Research Institute" tag to their  name
several years ago so the could pretend to not
be crafty crackpots making  fortune off gullible
suckers, it's true what the man said, one born
every minute, and the City of  Roswell happy to empty
the purse of every one of them...)

from Little Green Men Central, another hour
or so to  interstate 40, at Clines Corner,
a truck stop that somehow got itself
on the state highway map as an actual
town and then on  to Albuquerque, a city with great memories
of my days at the University in the winter of 1964,
so much changed, so little remaining, the changing
out of control, one of the worst things about
getting old, everything always changing, nothing the same,
the best of everything frown down and taken away

but old friends,  like the friend
from military days who took us to dinner,
both of us older, grayer, and  we both hope, wiser,
renewing old conversations sand shared memories...

a great way to end a so-so day

tomorrow to Santa Fe the long  way, along
the Turquoise Trail, mountain vistas,ghost towns,
and many interesting stops along the way...

with luck,
I'll tell you about it tomorrow


day 3, gone to the mountain

third day,
up t 4:30, but that's
Albuquerque time, really 5:30 Texas time,
which means I actually slept an extra half hour today 

searching the city in the dark very early,
downtown to the university, looking for an
all-night diner like the one six blocks
from my house in San Antonio, but
finding none...

by the time I finished searching
and walking my good do, Bella, it was six o'clock
and the restaurant at the hotel was open
and a pot of coffee with
large two-egg biscuit and gravy
with sausage

on the road again by 8 - I-40 to Hwy 14 - the beginning
of the Turquoise Trail, a back way to 
Santa Fe, side-tripping along the way to take
the high, twisty road to Sandia Peak, the view
at the peak near 11000,  feet, seeing all of Albuquerque
and hundred miles of desert to the west besides
and the Manzanas to the north, the Manzanas
which I crossed over on a
three day hike many years ago,
thigh deep in snow as  we made the crest
and started down the back side of the mountain,
and turning from our high Sandia base, 
we  can see to the est,  smaller
mountains laid out in a descending order of  challenge..

then, the sights seen and photographed, we started
on the best part of the drive back down the mountain,
along the way, patches of beautiful yellow aspen 
among the green pines, their shimmering bright
like being in a dimly let room when someone
switches on a hundred watt light bulb,
the bright blinding and beautiful in its urgency...

the air crisp at the top, 48 degrees, so clear and clean,
like air breathed before by no one
but the highest 
flying birds,
and the sky so blue, causing me a low-lander
to think how much higher and deeper the sky seems
from mountain top, so unlike 
the closed-in smothering blanket it can seem
in  lower-lying

there was more to the day,
but those moments on the mountain top
make all else seem anti-climatic,
the rest of  the drive
just passing time and miles until
we meet again the adobe walls of
Santa Fe

day 4, introducing the usual  suspects

Santa Fe

day 4, 6 am,
Starbucks on San Francisco  Ave.
a block
from the Plaza

the coffee shop busy this early morning,
but for the first half hour
I appear to be the only customer
likely to have slept inside
last night...

some bought coffee,
read the day's newspaper

like the grizzled old man
with  his dog, and the fella across the room
from me with a  large, wide-brimmed hat,
crumpled like it had been through
the rinse and spin cycle a half dozen times, and
the artist in the corner, sketching, and the small
meek-looking middle-aged man,
unshaven and rumpled, who
met me at the door and asked for a dollar
and when I declined, said to me
in a  small low voice, "that's okay,
I'm gonna make it," and a steady stream
of others, apparently regulars,who
though they don't buy anything are accorded bathroom privileges...

Starbucks to La Fonda for breakfast, La Fonda, our preferred hotel,
booked up without us, along with everything else within
a couple of miles of the Plaza, but, though not a guest, I can still
have breakfast  in their beautiful dining room, 
and though bacon and eggs are pretty much the same everywhere,
they are special at La Fonda...

and especially interesting today, the company -

I'm with a crowd waiting  when they open
their doors, seemingly,  despite my age, the youngest
of their early customers,
mostly conventioneers at, from what I  can overhear  
from the table next to mine, a very interesting convention..

three diners, two men and a woman,
no youngsters they,
the oldest man with a German accent,
the man French, the woman, well,
she didn't get to talk enough for me to identify an accent,
all three apparently involved 
or  previously involved
with the United Nations or some related  agency
a discussion bout elections and democracy
from half dozen  countries, from 
the USA to England to Zimbabwe...

eventually, their conversation ended as they went on to
the business of their day and I was left,
an eavesdropper
with no more  eaves to drop,
ending to tell the truth
the most interesting part of my day...

but what  a day it was,blue mountain sky,
bright sun, temps in the 60s,
the streets and plaza crowded with
interesting people to watch and
invent stories

such great stories
they are...

I'll tell you about them


day 5, denizens of  the  day and night

Santa Fe

6: am, Starbucks

a different group of
street-sleepers this

one of them
sat next to me, a tall,
craggy-faced man with bushy eyebrows,
an Abraham Lincoln 
before his beard look-alike

I noticed he was reading
a book of  Russian mystic philosophy,
stopping to scribble, no, not scribble, a very clear,
almost  calligraphic hand, in a little notebook,
even as I truly scribble in my own little notebook next
to him...

fewer of the homeless this morning, 
but a crowd of very elderly men and women,
so old and frail it's hard to believe
they made it here this early
on their own

I admire their endurance
and their obvious love
for coffee...

as for  me
I spent the rest of the day
doing what  I come to this city to do...

I find  a coffee shop  and sit outsider
with the dog, reading, watching,
enjoying the bright cool sun
and all the people-passing

shops, but as  usual doesn't buy

we each have our own distinct
and tolerate them with the
that comes from forty years
of  committed

day six, starting the long drive home

5:30 am


for a long day,
the first  day of our two-day
return to Texas

the Times,
and the usual suspects

the homeless guys,
old Abe, writing, the artist in the corner,

and the twelve-legged
of the very elderly,  elderly
hobbling in slowly and painfully
on their crutches... 

then off to breakfast with Dee,
splitting an Eggs Benedict at La Fonda,
usual suspects there too,
the Frenchman  the older German
and the woman who apparently doesn't
speak, seated across the room, too far away
for me to eavesdrop again...

and  by 8 am, all our excuses exhausted,
we leave Santa Fe behind...

Clines Corners

(a little girl paying hide-and-seek
with her smaller brother,  she,
running around the car,  peeking
around the corner, the boy peeking
around the corner, the boy
trying to keep up from inside)...

then Encino, Vaughn, and Carlsbad,
through 10 or 15 Bella pee breaks, until
finally we cross the state line
into Texas, stopping as we pass through
the Guadalupe Mountains for pictures of
El Capitan, it's massive presence
reaching into the cloudless sky...

an hour to Van Horn, West Texas oasis
and the Hotel El Capitan, named 
after the mountain, one of dozens of
hotels across the United States
built early in the twentieth century
by El Paso architect, Henry Trost, two here
in the Big Bend, hotels rescued
from disrepair by a lover of classic hotels,
returned to their original glory from days past
when they were built for barons of ranching
and railroads and oil speculators...

and now here I am,
the furthest person in Texas
to baron-hood of any kind, after
six hours of driving six  days in...


but ready for tomorrow
and another six hours of driving
to  home, to favorite  pillow, to 
my patio, and my

I love Santa Fe
but returning home is pretty good

day  7, home is the traveler

going home day,
the second in the home direction,
yesterday Santa Fe to Van Horn,
today Van Horn to San Antonio

passing through the scrub desert,
then the mountains' edge, minor peaks
on ever side and front and back,
then the mesas, their tops
lined with silver, spinning wind turbines
making electricity, their long blades
flashing under West Texas sun,
and finally the granite and limestone
hills of central Texas, my home...

the names along Interstate 10 once
exotic to me,now after so many 
trips down this highway, as familiar
to  me as the barbed wire fences
and cactus and vultures circling,
familiar as to the hum of a fan
in your bedroom, heard and appreciated
but unnoticed...

the names of the small towns in
a vastly rural universe,
Van Horn, Kent,Belmorrah,
Fort Stockton, Ozona,
Senora, Segovia, Junction,
Kerrville, Comfort, Welfare
and Boerne

towns passed quickly on the 80-85
mile per hour interstate, always
surprised at what I find when
I take the time to stop, but it's
a long road  in any direction, so mostly
I don't, speeding past  west, the beginning
of a journey or speed east
on the journey home...

some day I might stop at each
little town  just to  see  what
I've been missing, but
thank god for Texas highways -

for thanks to those highways, I am,
today, finally home, home
to my familiar diner, joking with
my familiar  waitress, drinking
my familiar  coffee, writing
in my my familiar journal, the journal
that this day
I filled 

As usual, everything belongs to who made it. You're welcome to use my stuff, just, if you do, give appropriate credit to "Here and Now" and to me

Also as usual, I am Allen Itz owner and producer of this blog, and a not so diligent seller of books, specifically these and specifically here:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Sony eBookstore, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Oyster, Flipkart, Ciando and Kobo (and, through Kobo,  brick and mortar retail booksellers all across America and abroad


New Days & New Ways

Places and Spaces

Always to the Light

Goes Around Comes Around

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind

And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio

Seven Beats a Second


Sonyador - The Dreamer


  Peace in Our Time


at 9:09 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

liked 5 and 27 ? (the dog) now let me count from bottom

at 9:14 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

counting up from bottom (hard to keep strate) 12,15,19

my signature pome:

An orange squeeks when you peel it
what rain means to a tiger*.

*could b tyger (after Blake)

Shall i choose an identity n ow? p;sike

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