Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Traveling In My Mind

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?


Mel said...

Boy. Musta been all that talk about 'running away', huh?

Yeah, well...I'm guilty. I try to sate myself with small adventures so I'm not getting in the car and taking off for parts unknown. I've learned that one can manage adventures and still be home for dinner. Kinda required when you have a spouse in the house.

Used to be I'd go to Elgin Illinois for a good cuppa coffee--hit the road, get it by three and be back for work at noon. They've changed the work schedule along with the responsibilities--I now have to attend stupid meetings and be RESPONSIBLE....*sigh* Some of that is troubles of my own making, I admit.

So I take off for shorter journeys, wander around railroad yards and parks...and show up to do the deal.
What I really wanna do is get in the car and go.
For me, right now--it's not about what I'm running TO...it's about what I'm running FROM. And that's never a good thing when you're me.

I could stand to run TO some things. But truly, I'd be lying to myself and you if I said that's what I was doing. Yup--I'd like the warmer weather and the sunsets down south...the rocks and dryness, the hospitality and the conversation about anything and everything BUT the stuff on my plate.
I like a good wander. Like you've said, it's meditation time...time away from what IS and a respite.

I'll try to stay responsible and make sure I'm landing in my bed at night...grab some time here and there and hope that it cuts it.

And just for the record--anything after 4am qualifies as the start of the day and the end of sleeplessness in Mel's mind!
Ha. I give myself an hour more than you....or less, depending on how ya look at it.

Thanks for the vicarious wander about in new places...and some old places. I'll try to access some photos today instead of checking the air pressure in the tires and taking off. *laughing*

Darn good thing tires are an issue this morning. Coffee in Elgin sounded darn inviting!

JUST sayin'......

((((((((((( Spadoman )))))))))))

Jeannie said...

I want to travel to my bed but I wouldn't stay there anyway.

I would love to go to Australia but only if I were feeling better. Truthfully, feeling as I do, even Australia is not enticing. It's just that my sister-in-law is there visiting her son. We talked of moving there years ago. Or to BC but we had a very good summer here and stayed.

I have been a number of places - more than I dreamt of ever going to. Although I love my all-inclusive vacations for relaxation - all you really enjoy of the place is the weather - even leaving the resort for a few hours doesn't do much for giving you a feel for the place.

Spadoman said...

Mel... Thanks for stopping by. Yes, your post about running away prompted my thinking. You go to Elgin for coffee, I'm talking about going to New Orleans! I'd be real satisfied with a coffee and doughnut down the road myself. Next time you're going, drop me a note, I'd love to meet you for a cup o' joe in Elgin or anywhere.


Jeannie.. Thank you for coming to my blog. You make a point when you say all we really like is the weather, that is a big part of it for me, but I do like to wander around a different town. I just don't want to do it for a long stretch. I always thought I wanted to move someplace, and we have in years past, (Grand Junction, CO, Silver City, NM, Los Angeles and Eureka, CA). It is the same where ever I live, I want to travel.
I sure hope you get to feeling better and I'm sending positive energy to you from where ever I end up.


Anonymous said...

DJG said
Hope you and Mrs. Spadoman had a wonderful Christmas with the grandkids.......sounds like you are having a good week with all the snow. Looks like we may get more this weekend. Thinking of you both. Glad Mrs Spadoman got to "visit" snowy Ashland on Shutterwi's blog :-)
Take Care and Be Well.

Fran said...

I do not have the travel desires that you have. Maybe having just done the "vacation" to the Midwest-- a family gig w lots of emotional ups & downs, but also the treachery of air travel.
Stuck 10 hours in Denver. Crammed in uncomfortable seats. The whole new pat down deal & the whole body scan in Chi town.
Honestly, it felt more like something to be endured.

I'd kind of like to go to Hawaii in 2011.
It's on my bucket list.

Spadoman said...

DJG.. Thanks for stopping by. Always good to hear from you folks up there. We'll have to do something about getting together, it's just been so busy these days. Hope all is good with you and Shutterwi. The best of the New Year.

Fran... I know a lot of people who think I'm nutzo because I have no problem getting into the car and driving for days on end. I undertsand. I guess if things changed and I had something else I wanted to do, I wouldn't go anywhere. I didn't travel when I was raising kids. I did travel at some of the places I've worked as I drove trucks on many of the jobs I've held. No money or time = no travel.
Thanks fo stopping by. I hope you get to Hawaii looooong before you kick the bucket.


Christopher said...

Somewhere I want to travel to, right now? Like Jeannie, I was just thinking about stepping up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire, it being 11pm here, the glasses being empty and the embers having burnt low and my mind set at rest after reading Round Circle.

Peace. And thanks.

Spadoman said...

Christopher... Thank you for being a visitor to Round Circle. You are very kind with your words. Believe me when I tell you, I am the better knowing you.
The best New Year to you, each and every day of it.