|City of Rocks State Park near Deming, NM|
This week is always strange. It’s the middle of Winter, yet the first day of Winter was only one week ago. But with all the snow on the ground and the piles in parking lots and at the edges of driveways, I feel like it’s the middle of it. The cold too. It’s below freezing every night and even daytime high temperatures aren’t going above the freezing mark. There is a chance that we’ll get up over 32 degrees Fahrenheit this week, but only for a day.
The kids are home from school. They get a break between Christmas and New Years. Mrs. Spadoman has some days off as well because of the holidays. We have plans to take the children to a movie one day this week, Tangled, and to go to the giant sledding hill another. Other than that, they’ll play in the yard in the deep piles of snow and have sessions of hot chocolate at the kitchen table while their outer ware tumbles in the dryer.
|The sledding hill at Hoffman Park is always fun!|
I think it was in the early 1990’s that I first went to New Mexico during the Winter. I was living in Grand Junction, Colorado in 1992 and traveled down there with a friend. Grand Junction was balmy enough, but a couple of hundred miles further South it was balmier. I liked the terrain, the food and the adventure and returned year after year.
Over the years, I’ve tried every possible living situation that my pocketbook would allow as far as spending time down South.
Silver City, Deming, Truth Or Consequences, Las Cruces, Albuquerque were all my favorites and still are. Now, I’m sitting inside more often and planning, or should I say day dreaming, about being there and breaking up this Winter scene. With all the memories of the trips each and every year since that first time, I can sit and watch the birds at the feeders here at home, and imagine myself at La Pinata in Truth Or Consequences, having Huevos Rancheros along with a cup of coffee as I day dream, while I’m there, about being someplace else.
|The best Road Trip vehicle I ever owned. 1984 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser|
That’s my point. I’ll miss home and won’t ever stay in one place as long as I think I will. I sometimes think that a month or longer stay would be the way to go, but I have never lasted that long away from home. Then, I get home, and I'm ready to take off again. Maybe it’s the adventure of the journey that I seek. Maybe I'm just running away. If there was a way to go back and forth to New Mexico in a reasonable efficient way, I would do it. I’ll also want to wander to other places like California’s North Coast or lately, New Orleans.
One year, Barb had a conference for work in New Orleans. I convinced her to take a few days vacation on either side of the conference, I’d go with her, and we’d take the train. The City of New Orleans, it was called. The daily service from Chicago to the Big Easy. We got on Amtrak at 8:00 AM in Minneapolis and got to Chicago by 4:30 PM. During the four hour layover, we walked around downtown and grabbed a fine dinner, then resumed our journey that evening.
|An Amtrak whistle stop at dusk|
By 3:00 PM the next afternoon, we were in New Orleans, drinking chicory coffee and eating beignets, at Cafe Du Monde. We listened to all kinds of musical genres on Bourbon Street and traveled the streetcar to the Garden District. We ate at many different places, some renowned, like Brennan's, and some not-so-well-known, like Cafe Atchafalaya.
|The famous Cafe Du Monde, lit up and active, New Orleans, LA|
Photo by Joe Dunn Arts
I went back to New Orleans when I was on The Longest Walk II in 2008. I spent a week there as the group rested and resupplied before the big push to Washington DC. The Springtime in New Orleans was heavenly. Seeing the devastation left from Hurricane Katrina was not.
While I was there, I was able to get out into some of the neighborhoods and not just hang out in the tourist areas. One day, we found a laundromat with a great coffee shop next door. We stayed with people who lived near there, and enjoyed the company of friends, listening to music and telling stories about places we’ve been or are planning to go to.
Ah, to be so worry free as to travel at will. I could see going down there, perhaps today, or at least tomorrow, grabbing a couple of nights at a B&B, listening to music, eating my way around and through the French Quarter and returning home in time for New Years Eve. I’d sit in front of St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square and smoke a good cigar in the afternoon, and watch the street vendors, musicians and vagrant characters come and go, as I sipped espresso amongst the pigeons. The horse and buggy tourists snapping pictures as artists and fortune tellers plied their trade.
A streetcar ride and a long walk down Canal Street, the ferry to Algiers and more lively Zydeco music from Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. Maybe a late night snack at Desire, the restaurant at street level in the Royal Sonesta Hotel.
Oh well, that was fun. I recalled my visits there and as I wrote about the experiences I’ve had, relived it in my mind. I feel better now. I got through another sleepless night and I see it’s past five in the morning. That’s my bellwether. If it’s after five AM, it’s okay to be up. Earlier than that, I’m sleepless.
Too bad I don’t have pictures to share. Maybe next time I’ll have a camera with me. But all the places I mention are well documented in Google Images as well as the highlighted websites I’ve provided. Sometimes, when I have plenty of time, I travel vicariously through the links, to other blogs or sites recommended by the author. In the meantime, I’ll get up from in front of the screen and get ready for a trek to the VA. I have an appointment this morning, then a funeral to attend in the afternoon.
Do you have someplace you want to travel to? Right now?