Thursday, September 30, 2010


When my friend Rebecca who pens the recuerdo mi corazon blog mentioned posting about paper a while ago, I wasn’t quite sure what she was looking for. She just said to get ready and post articles about paper on September 30th. I had some thoughts about paper. She called it a Walkabout. I started jotting down some ideas. Knowing Rebecca and many of her readers, I knew there must be an art theme in here somewhere. I also noticed some had made objets d’art using paper.
Of course I’m no artist, at least I won’t call myself one, I’ll let others do so if they are so inclined. And especially not very well versed with paper art on the surface of it, but I did look around and found some interesting things after I thought about it for a while. 
First of all, art with the name paper in it, can only mean paper mache’, right? Well, I told you I wasn’t an artist. That’s all I knew off the top of my head. The thing is, paper mache’, as an art medium, is still widely in use. Many of the artists that post comments on Rebecca’s blog already are using paper mache’ on a more regular basis and not just for the Walkabout scheduled for today. I learned paper is used in art for more than just paper mache’. These examples of Kaleidoscope Art using contruction paper are amazing!

Construction paper, amazing!

That said, I didn’t take that tack at first. I thought of paper in and of itself. I also thought of things we think of when the word paper is mentioned. You know, what about the items in our everyday lives, when the word paper is used as part of the vernacular? Words like toilet paper, newspaper, construction paper, scratch paper, litmus paper, (that’s an old one), paper napkins, wax paper and wall paper to name a few. And you’ll notice I didn’t mention the word paper and its wide use in business, the legal profession and education. Term paper, legal paper, serve the papers, sign the paper, “I have to write a paper”, the paper is due, the paper is overdue. 
I found this article in The Motley Fool. Motley Fool is an investor blog. The article is talking about a certain kind of paper as an economic indicator.
“But perhaps a more telling forward indicator has popped up from a most unlikely source: demand for two-ply and "luxurious" toilet paper is on the rise, after plummeting in recent years as consumers slashed discretionary items from their budget. According to research provider RISI, industrywide tissue production is up 13% this year. In a recent earnings call, Proctor and Gamble noted that the high-end Charmin brand has seen strong sales growth, boosting the company's earnings this year. And Georgia-Pacific's new Quilted Northern Ultra Plush bath tissue recently earned the honor of "pacesetter" status from marketing research firm Symphony IRI Group after generating $125 million in sales in its first year.”
Of course my own mind thinks of newspaper and that whole aspect of everyday life that seems to be dying since the advent of the internet. A daily issue of words and pictures printed on a thin piece of paper. The size of the sheet is larger than most standardized “sheets” of paper. Newspapers are cut from a large roll. Maybe all paper is. Toilet paper is usually sold in a roll, but I have seen it in sheets in commercial applications.
A wonderful example of a roll of art on paper
In the days before internet and even before everyone had a TV, newspapers were printed regularly, and if an event were to happen, an “Extra” edition of the daily paper would be printed and circulated. The call “Extra, Extra, Read all about it” is an historical reference to newspaper. Newspaper is also most often used as kindling to start fires, to wrap glassware for shipment, and it makes the best paper mache’. By the way, papier mache’ is French for chewing paper. 
The last time I saw one of these was in an old Black and White movie
I could go into the whole gamut of how paper was invented and what we use today to make paper, the process et al. The word papyrus comes to mind. I have a  friend that makes paper himself. He makes the sheets, one at a time, and uses them for note cards and personal greetings he sends to people. Art in making the actual paper, then art drawn or written on the very same sheets. "Double Art." I know that we generally cut down trees to make paper and there are environmental concerns over this practice when plant fiber like hemp would be more renewable and have less impact on our oxygen levels and land stability on our fragile Sacred Earth Mother.
Instructions to make a Bat from Origami
Of course as art, the use for paper or paper as a medium is endless as the creativity of the mind is infinite. Origami is the best example. I met many Japanese people a couple of years ago when I participated in The Longest Walk. One friend in particular actually gave me and others gifts made by Origami before she left the states to return to Japan. This traditional Japanese Folk Art is folding paper into shapes. I did this in school as I folded paper to make an airplane shape to harass Gretchen Wozniak. Looking back, I was 13. I was an artist, and I never impressed Gretchen very much with the dive bombers.  
Beautiful bird figures made using the traditional Japanese Origami
In this example from The People’s Daily, not only is the paper cut to fashion a dress, but it is wearable. Cuts made in paper, easily handled and used functionally. Chinese Paper Cutting is an art form on display in the next photo. I remember being at a hotel where the concierge had paper bathing suits for sale to those that wanted to take advantage of the pool and spa but failed to pack appropriate swim attire. Could you imagine a diaper made from any other material besides paper or cloth. And what is cloth? A more refined sort of paper no doubt.
A paper dress at a Chinese exposition
It is obvious that I can go on and on. Paper has been around for a long time. This short essay is by no means a work of art, but not all art is holdable or looked at. Some of it is heard or read off of pages, or in the case of this article, an internet screen. Creating art by writing is most prevalent in poetry, prose and haiku, but it’s also a style used by artist/cartoonist R. Crumb and the like. In this example, the cartoon of Mr. Natural and Flakey Foont use actual words written, and encapsulated in a balloon, to hold them in cartoons as art. This could not be achieved without the paper to put them on. What is the art then? The paper itself, or the words and creative thought? Both, I believe.
Art within art on this comic book page, or as I have penned, "Double Art"
Even the words in books and magazines are printed on paper. The styles of fonts seem to be endless, and aren't the font styles themsleves creations of art?
So, dear Rebecca, my offering today may be different than most others. I know many fantastic creative people will grace your pages. You have turned me on to so many wonderfully talented individuals. Their work is exquisite in every way. I marvel at the creativity I see at Yours, Stephanie’s, Susanna’s and Rochambeau’s, just for a few “for instances”. Mine is just talking about paper and some conjured thoughts. And the marvel of the whole subject that intrigues me the most is that I end this with the fact that the objet d’art so magnificently displayed with the use of paper, I’m sure, by the artists here,  is the same medium I use to blow my nose, blot up a spill, clean a surface and wipe my sweet derriere . I’m still using the low end stuff. I guess I’m bad for the economy.
Peace to All

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Cabinette

This deer was a little startled when we came upon her with our camera

A while back, I had written a story and posted amongst these pages, something where I made reference to a place called The Cabinette. The Cabinette was the small two room cabin we lived in when we were up in Ashland, WI, along the shores of the big beautiful Great Lake Superior. Someone wrote a comment and said they’d like to hear more about The Cabinette. Now being armed with a request, well I couldn’t just let that sit there unattended to, could I? I mean it’s hard enough to write and hope that someone will pass through, read, comment and actually enjoy the story. When someone actually asks for it, well, the flood gates open and here I am. Ready willing and eager to comply.
We were living in Ashland in an old storefront that I used as a workshop and studio. This place had living quarters built in. We left there in a whirlwind when we had an argument with the landlord. We then moved to this little white house on 4th Street, but we knew that was just a stop along life’s journey.
One day, I was with my friend Curtis. He mentioned going off and finding a place either in the woods or along the lakeshore, where we could be alone in nature and talk. He told me he had this friend that rented this cabin and that he’d talk to him and see if his friend would mind if we went out there and sat by the water’s edge.

The shoreline view from the front yard of The Cabinette in Spring

His friend didn’t have any problem with us being out there, so we went the five miles from the center of town, down Johnson Road, and along the driveway to this little cabin. It sat right on the lakeshore. The view of Chequamegon (Cha-wah’-meg-on) Bay was beautiful. I asked, “Who lives here?”
Curtis told me that one of the people that works at the bakery rents the place, but that he was moving out. He told me this place has been a rental for years and he knew the owner. I asked for the owners name and looked up his phone number. I told Curtis to tell the guy living there and the landlord that I wanted to rent this cabin when the current resident moved out.
At first, my interest was in having a place to go to that was right on the shore of the magnificent Lake Superior. The cabin had no running water, but there was a submersible well out in the yard. There was an outhouse and a nice size kitchen with an electric cooking stove, cabinets, room for a table and a woodstove big enough to heat a castle!

We made many of these Inukshuks along the shore and collected a lot of  beautiful rocks
The place was in the woods with tall pines all around. Birch, maple and oak too. And the lake. The view, with solitude. Having a place like this to go to just for a chance to get away would be well worth paying the rent. At first, I had no intention of actually living there full time. I mean there was no running water or inside plumbing. Heating this place in Winter would mean gathering firewood by some means, or buying it, loading it, unloading it, stacking it, hauling it into the cabin, hauling the ashes out and sweeping the chimney, not to mention the newspaper, kindling and the starting and keeping of a fire 24/7 in the colder times of the year.

The lakeside firepit at The Cabinette, ready to light
Push came to shove and I called the landlord. No one answered the phone, so I left a message. He never returned my call. I tried again, still no return call. I asked around and found no information. The guy who was living there was ready to move out. No one knew if the place was rented and a new tenant would be moving in. I had a trip planned, so I left town and was gone for 15 days. We were comfortable in the little white house on 4th Street for the time being anyway.

The little white house we lived in before moving to The Cabinette
When I got back from the trip, over two weeks since I placed the call to the landlord, I got a call with an apology for not getting back to me sooner. The guys name is Tony and he told me he owned the cabin, and since I was the first call he received to rent it, I could rent it if I wanted it. I thought, “This is too cool. It’s meant to be.”

View of the yard during a Winter snowfall
I paid security deposit and took possession. We gathered up the family and all went out to see the cabin. It was October and a little cool, so we started a fire in the big woodstove. We sat around out by the lakeshore and wandered around the land. There was about five acres.

Enjoying some Autumn sun along the shore
We loved the place and didn’t want to leave. The Grandkids went home, but we spent the night and woke up to a beautiful sunrise. Being Fall, when we occupied the place, didn’t hurt as far as enjoying the beauty of the place. We quickly told our current landlady that we were moving. We knew we wanted to try to live there, and we did.

The cabin itself had a front door that was boarded up. I took this seal down and put up a screen door the next Spring. I also added a screen door to the “back” door, which was really the main entry into the dwelling. When the kids would come out, Yoody, who was barely two at the time, would ask where we were going. When I told her, “The Cabin”, she immediately recognized the root word cabin and thought we called it a cabinet, like a kitchen cabinet. Hence the placed was dubbed, The Cabinette. Like Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara had Tara, we had, The Cabinette. It stuck, and that moniker was used by all, and still is used when we refer to it.

The cleanest most comfortable outhouse around. We had a beautiful sunrise view every morning
I just found out a month or so ago that the guy that was living in the place when I first saw it is living there again. I told Curtis to tell him to let me know if he ever decides to leave as I would rent that place again myself, just to have a place to go to to spend time. Curtis called me a couple of days ago and mentioned that the Cabinette was going to be empty again. I immediately called Tony and left him a message that basically said, “I’ll rent the cabin if it is available, please call me.”
I haven’t heard back from Tony to this point, so I have no idea if we’ll get another crack at renting the Cabinette. I’ll keep you posted on this one, but for now, no definitive word.
When I lived there, I rigged up running water in a sink in the kitchen. We hauled the water in in large 5 gallon carboys. I used an RV pump, the kind in travel campers, and drained the waste into a pit filled with filtering gravel. I didn’t use harsh soap or detergent. Just a little gray water went down that drain. All other waste went into the clean, well lit outhouse. We composted everything we could, recycled everything we could and generated very little trash. We took the little amount of trash we made to the city and added it to my daughter’s trash on pick up day.

Along the shore in Winter
Showers were another story. In Summer, I built a passive solar shower out of an old black plastic drum. I built a tower from scrap lumber I found behind the local Sears store. Old pallet lumber. In Winter, we used the shower at the local Americinn Motel. They had a deal where you could buy passes to come and use the pool, sauna, spa and showers. It didn’t cost much. We also used my daughter’s place and my friend Curtis’s too.

Sunset in late Winter over Chequamegon Bay
We stayed there for over two years. In fact, when we moved back down South, closer to where my daughter had moved with the Grandkids, we had originally planned on keeping The Cabinette as a second home. We abandoned that idea as the distance was a long way and money was a little tighter. We are sorry we gave it up, but as I said, I’ve got my finger on the button and would rent it again if the situation arises. Let’s hope we get a call back from Tony telling us we can rent it again. As you can see by the photos taken over the time we lived there, it is a beautiful place and our entire family had fun there.

We made our own Granola with organic ingredients and labeled packages with this shot of the Grandkids sitting along the shore in front of The Cabinette

Outdoor tables loaded with rocks and branches, all treasures to keep

A Spring storm captured at Saxon Harbor, a few miles North of where we lived

In Spring, runoff from nearby creeks would turn the water brown for a few weeks
Another of many lovely sunset photos taken from our front door

The front door after a vicious Winter storm

The view from inside looking toward the Great Lake Superior

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of an important piece of our life. I get back to Ashland often and still have many friends there. If the Cabinette isn't ready for us this time, maybe next time. We'll keep trying to get back here to this magical wondrous place along the Great Lake Superior.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday, September 26, 2010

This being Sunday here in the USA, it's time for Shadow Shot Sunday. I like this meme. It was started by Tracy who lives near Brisbane, Australia. For more wonderful Shadow Shots and posting guidelines, go to her blog, Hey Harriet

This shot I post today looks like a Winter scene with those high snow banks and long shadows from those beautiful pine trees. But it was taken in June while on a motorcycle trip with my good friend Hal. We were in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. Some years, the snow is gone by June, others, as you can see in this photo, the snow has lingered into the Summer months.

I like the crisp lines of the shadows and the clear blue sky. The weather was warm enough, but with all the snow cover, the air felt chilled a bit, somewhat like the air just outside the refrigerator door when you hold it open looking for a snack. I also like the shadows in the snowbank, made from the lines the snowplow made months before the photo was taken, when it cleared the roadway.

Riding through Rocky Mountain National Park in June.

Hope everyone has a good day today and everyday.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Morning Seasonal Thoughts

I’ve been awake since four and out of bed since five. We’ve had cloudy skies since Wednesday and quite a bit of rain. The weather forecast is calling for more cloudy skies today and a high of 58 degrees. 58! That’s cool weather, that’s sweatshirt or windbreaker weather. I look at my inventory of jackets, coats, sweaters, sweatshirts and long sleeve stuff and I do have some choices. But usually, I pull one out of the closet and put it on and it becomes my Winter garb until I strip it off on a warm Spring day sometime in March.
Many have been mentioning the change of seasons and every one of them tell us that Autumn is their favorite time of the year. I think about  this and at one time or another, every season is my favorite. Winter, with its solitude and darkness, the dormancy of the plants and animals. The stillness, quietness of the land. The birds come around in droves to feed where we have placed seed, but I don’t hear them sing. I guess the crows are still vocal, as if they are talking to someone in the morning time.

A snowy scene in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Winter’s stillness and silent cold can mesmerize. I remember living way up North in Minnesota, up along the Canadian border near Grand Portage. I used to think that the silence is deafening. Easy to be in the now and be mindful when all one can hear is his breathing. I love the chances I’ve had to experience 40 below zero, or be in a snowstorm where you couldn’t see your feet in front of you. Did you know that forty below zero Fahrenheit is the same in Celsius? I have had a love affair with Winter, and although sometimes it is cold and uncomfortable, it gives me appreciation for Springtime and the rebirth of the Sacred Earth Mother.
Spring brings longer periods of sunlight and warmer breezes. A freshness to the air as the snow melts away and reveals the grass. The lakes thaw and reflect the sun and water flows in rivers and steams. The trees bud and flower, the birds sing out loud, the insects fly and crawl, the fish are hungry and jump for joy. The plants bear their young and so does nature with the manifestation of zygote.

Last of the Winter snow melting away

Spring is a time of preparation. Getting ready to sow seeds in the ground and plan time outdoors, canoe trips, hikes, bike rides and just plain leisure time. We plan in Spring. Spring is dream time, and these dreams awaken in Summer. In Summer, we enjoy bountiful daylight. The farther North you are in this hemisphere, the longer the light of day stays lit. I’ve never experienced the midnight sun of the Arctic. Maybe this year.
Summer has its storms, visits from the Thunderbeings that bring rain, the life blood of Mother Earth. The water to which all things are connected and allows all life to flourish and be nurtured. The sunshine and water together with the gift of soil feeds us and sustains us all. I love Summertime and the prospect of fulfilling the ideas we dreamed about last Spring.

Summer activities, having fun!

The cycle continues and the daylight hours become shorter, the weather gets cooler, the winds blow harder telling us it’s time to adjust and get ready as another change is coming, but first, we have the softness of Autumn. The colors of the leaves change from their vivid green to a plethora of palleted colors. Orange, bronze, umber, red, yellow and all shades in between. They fall from the trees and bushed, gently at first, then violently from North winds that crush any warmth in the air to get ready for the time when the natural world rests and rejuvenates in Winter for the next Spring. I love the Fall for its peacefulness and low slung sundrops, long shadows and crispness.

The beautiful colors of Autumn

In the weather, folks talk in passing about the days forecast. “It’s gonna be bad weather again today, more rain predicted.” I can’t share this sentiment. The weather is what it is, it can not be either good or bad in and of itself. It may be bad for what you planned on doing that particular day, but the weather itself can’t be bad. Nature cannot be wrong. Even storms are a natural thing. When we build homes on flood plains, it is us that get in the way of nature doing its business, not anything wrong with nature.
I feel the same about the seasons. I love them all. I can savor moments in any of them. A warming sun with a cool breeze in Fall, a crisp sunny February day in Winter, the fresh smell and feel of Spring on my cheeks and the warmth and pleasure of Summer. None of them bad, all of it good, expected and appreciated.
Today, high of 58 degrees, a chance of showers and mostly cloudy. Sunny tomorrow, with a hint of warmth at 62. I’m sure that all this hubbub about Fall will cease when the change to Winter is complete. But there will be those that will love it, savor it and enjoy realizing what nature gives us.
And those from other parts of the world, down in New Zealand and Australia, your seasons are opposite ours, but have the same. Those in Florida see it differently than I do up here in the Northland and those in Arizona see it differently than the Floridians. All relative to ones personal taste and outlook. These are my thoughts about the seasons. What are yours?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Native American Day, Haiku My Heart Friday, 09/24/2010

Haiku My Heart Friday was created by my dear friend Rebecca. To find out how you can participate, or to see more photos and haiku, go to her blog, recuerda mi corazon

Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico sits along the Rio Grande River close to the Elephant Butte dam. The man-made Elephant Butte Lake is the largest in New Mexico, and even though the water levels are low from years of drought and captured, stolen water upstream, the river still flows and the lake survives. A little further downstream, about ten miles, there is another dam and the created body of water is called Caballo Lake.
The area along the entire reaches of the Rio Grande in New Mexico are a migration route for waterfowl, but did you know that the Golden and Bald Eagles fly here and spend much of their Winter? The cactus here are world renowned as well, featuring yuccas, century plants, ocotillos, cow tongues, prickly pears and more in actual cactus gardens. All of this can be experienced in Caballo Lake State Park.
It was before sunrise, with the Eastern sky brightening over the Caballo Mountains where the Haiku photo was taken. Click on it to enlarge and see the lines of formated geese, wings beating strong, flying against the back drop of azure brightness. They stick close to the water and will inhabit this area for a while. The eagles come later in October and November.

Winging their way South
Relentless ever moving
Sun tipped wings in flight

I love the clear skies that are prevalent here with the average of 308 days of sunshine per year. I have camped at the Caballo Lake State Park in mid Winter over the years. I can count on a beautiful sunrise almost daily, as the photos below, of this particular bright and beautiful day, will attest.

It's getting light

Gonna be a good one

Almost here

Pretty soon


I love the natural order of life. Seems the human beings are the only ones that don’t have a seasonal ritual any longer, at least most don’t. Some do, as seen on these pages with references to the full moon each month, the solstices and equinoxes.  The indigenous tribes did until the Columbus holocaust started. Today, the fourth Friday in September, is Native American Day and the traditions and cultures of the original people of our land are to be honored.
Seems that before things changed for these people, they were nomadic, like these birds, and would change locations with the seasons. They would return when winds and game were favorable, and repeat the cycle yearly as the weather would dictate. Each season had a significance. Every full moon had a name. I look back and see the significance of this connection between the four legged, the swimmers, the crawlers and the winged ones and wonder how the two legged can adjust to the natural world once again. Maybe the answer is in the wisdom of the ancient people. Maybe we can return to some sort of balance if we listen.
To honor the Native first inhabitants of our land and their teachings, I want to say this prayer out loud and share it with you. This prayer, which starts my day, everyday, is a key and keeps me somewhat balanced. 
Thank you for the light of day, another day, this new day     (Sunrise, the East)
Thank you for the rest you’ve given us     (Sleep, darkness, the West)
Thank you for the coolness that gives us comfort from the heat   (Cold, North)
And thank you for the warmth that gives us comfort from the cold  (Heat, South)
Thank you for making this Sacred Circle  (The Four Directions)
And thank you for bringing my life into this Sacred Circle
Thank you for listening to the prayers of the people
And thank you for listening to my prayers today
Today I pray for the health and happiness of the people
Peace to all

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Mexico Travelogue for September 2010

Hot air balloons over Elephant Butte, NM

Wow, have I been busy. I left town when I saw the calendar pages empty of appointments and meetings only to return home to face numerous appointments and meetings. I did have a good trip though, and I’d like to tell you a little about it. I left on a drizzly Wednesday morning two weeks ago.

Harlan County Kansas. Many communities had Veterans Memorial gardens. I didn't photograph every one of them, but I did stop at quite a few and offered my tobacco.

This trip was a motorcycle trip. I loaded everything I thought I would need for ten days, as that’s how long I thought I’d probably be gone. Turned out to be nine, but very well could have been more. The weather was great, the bike ran great and I wasn’t tiring at all of riding to get to where I was going or of riding the area that I deemed to be my destination.

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. The royal road. This trail is said to start in Vera Cruz, Mexico and continue through New Mexico and North into Kansas. It was used in the late 1500's, long before the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.

Here are some logistics for those of you that wonder about such things. My bike is equipped with a computer and keeps track of all these numbers. At the end of the day or the trip, I can press a few buttons and see my progress. I traveled a shade under 3200 miles at an average speed of 58 miles per hour. I got 49.5 miles per gallon average and had the bike in operation for 53 hours and 52 minutes. I did 355 miles per day, on average, but I know some days I was creeping up on 600 and others only putting in 200. I topped off at 115 miles per hour at one point, I think that was in Eastern Colorado on a long stretch of straight highway with no cops in sight.

My 2008 Triumph Tiger sits loaded and ready to travel somewhere in New Mexico. I received a few compliments on my bike. The blaze orange might have something to do with that.

Where did I go, you ask? Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico. I know, that’s a curious name. The reason for the name can be found by clicking on this article. The town used to be called Hot Springs, New Mexico, and that’s the big draw for me. A chance to sit in the hot pools and relax. They are all over town as T or C, as it’s called, resides right on top of numerous springs. The weekend I was there, they had their annual art crawl. Galleries and shops were open in the evening with specials and displays of artwork and other wares. I bought necklaces for the little Grands and a few beads that struck my fancy.

A small church in a small town near Taos, NM

I’ve mentioned these hot springs before. This isn’t my first trip there. In fact, I’ve been going there for years, as well as other destinations in New Mexico. Why New Mexico? I discovered a few places, like these hot springs, years ago when I lived in Grand Junction, Colorado and wandered down there with a friend. I went back and explored often and still return there at least once every year. That started in the early 1990’s. This year, I’ve already been down there twice and have plans to spend part of November and December there. I did extensively ride the mountainous area around Taos and rode the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

Road flowers along New Mexico Highway 1 South of the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge

On the last trip I took in June, I broke my camera. I purchased a new Nikon and took that with me. I had these grand ideas that I was going to stop and take pictures all along the journey. I did take a few photos, but I found it hard to stop as often as I wanted to. You see, when riding a motorcycle and wearing riding gear, it’s hard to practically totally undress and pull out a camera, focus and shoot a picture, and get dressed again to continue riding. Not to mention the idea that there isn’t always a safe place to pull off the road.
By riding gear, I mean the leather gloves, the helmet and goggles, unzip the riding jacket, unzip the pocket where I put the camera, turn on the camera, focus and take pictures, return the camera back into its pocket, zip that pocket up, zip and button the jacket, replace the goggles and helmet and put the gloves back on. And if I do stop and take pictures, then I see another great photo opportunity ten minutes ahead, I have to do it all over again. I had grand ideas, I just didn’t want to be getting off and on the bike so often. I was enjopying the riding way too much.

Near the Colorado/New Mexico border on a bright sunny morning in September.

So, I only have a few photos to share, but I did see a lot of beautiful scenery. I love the high desert with the mountain vistas in the distance. Down in the Southern reaches of New Mexico, the hills are barren of trees and greenery. They all look sort of gray. Their shapes and images change as I ride closer to them as they can be seen from a long range. Many of the photos I took had the memes I subscribe to in mind. Shadow Shot Sunday was prominent as I seem to have been out and about in the early morning sun quite a bit.

Can someone identify this beautiful cactus? Looks like some kind of Yucca. I loved the black tips of the fronds.

Besides looking at the landscape and marveling at The Creator’s wonders, I had to eat. New Mexican green chile peppers are in harvest right now and I had no problem finding plenty of places that were selling meals made with them. My favorite is Chile Verde, or green chile. It’s used like a sauce and covers everything. The main question in New Mexico when you order food is, “Red or green?”
The peppers are picked green, but if left to ripen, they turn a beautiful crimson red. They are preserved in many ways. Fresh green chiles are roasted, the delicate skin removed and used to make the chile verde. These are also used for chile rellenos. In more modern times, the fresh peppers are grilled and put on hamburgers. I’ve even had a blue plate special, you know, sliced roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans on the side, served with green chiles over the beef. It was unusual, but very good.

A great tasting Breakfast Burrito at the Rockin' Y in Tucumcari, NM

Chile verde recipes vary from cook to cook, similar to Italian spaghetti gravy. Every kitchen cook had a Grandmother that did it a certain way and passed her “way” down to the next generation. I love to order the green over my huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, chile rellenos, enchiladas and even have asked for a small bowl on the side! The red is good too, and made from the same peppers, just ones that were allowed to ripen on the vine longer. They also come in different varieties and each might have a different heat scale. The hotter the better for my tastes.


It’s a funny phenomena that some places, the red is very hot and the green is mild, and the opposite is true at others. I have found that more often, the green is hotter. Sometimes I ask.
Besides seek out and destroy green chile, I generally rode the motorcycle, returning to roads that I knew and finding new ones. Once I got to Truth Or Consequences, I’d end each day with a soak at Riverbend Hot Springs Resort. Some mornings I took a dip before staring my day. Much time was spent at the local Black Cat Coffee Shop and Bookstore. I also found a few places to have an afternoon coffee break o my way down and back in Socorro at the Manzaneres Street Coffee Shop, a place I’ve been to numerous times, and in Oakley, Kansas.

Neat, clean, park-at-the-door convenience, all for $30-$40 per night.

I did take camping gear, but never opened the bag I kept it in. I stayed at a motel every night. I had thought of wandering West into Arizona to visit my brother and meet another blogger who lives near where he lives, but I didn't opt to go that way and instead, made this a high plains drifter tour and traveled the grassy expanses of Eastern Colorado and New Mexico. Many people pass through this part of our country and complain that there is nothing there. I found plenty of things to look at and spurred many a thought, like, "Where do these people go to get groceries?"

Yours truly in Hatch, NM

You might remember a few months ago, I posted a story about Sparky's restaurant in Hatch. He was having trouble with his signs. The city council wanted him to remove a larger than life pink pig. He was allowed to keep his signs and added this new one. I engaged another traveler to snap my picture at one of my favorite places. By the way, I had the green chile cheeseburger and it was great!

Wish I had more interesting stories to tell. I did have a few good conversations with waiters and locals in the dives where I stopped to eat, and I also stayed at some interesting small town mom and pop motels, but other than ride, eat and look at scenery, I didn’t do much. This trip was a head clearing experience for me. The wind will do that, especially if that’s what you’re seeking. The only thing wrong is that once I got back, kissed the bride and hugged the Grandkids, I was ready to take off again. I’m planning my next escape right now.