Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thank goodness for motorized travel!

As I drove east from Albuquerque – and as faithful Jeremiah hummed right along – I was reminded of an item that was in Garrison Keillor’s Jan. 3, 2010, Writer’s Almanac: (The Writer's Almanac is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media.)

It was on this day in 1899 that The New York Times used the word "automobile" in an editorial, the first known use of that word in English.

What would eventually come to be known as automobiles were still very new items, and the first mass production of them in America was two years away. The New York Times seemed equally disturbed by the machines themselves and the fact that there was no good word for them. It concluded: "There is something uncanny about these new-fangled vehicles. They are all unutterably ugly and never a one of them has been provided with a good, or even an endurable, name. The French, who are usually orthodox in their etymology if in nothing else, have evolved 'automobile,' which, being half Greek and half Latin, is so near to indecent that we print it with hesitation."

Well, there is nothing ugly about Jeremiah, my comfortable home on wheels so much of the year. I’m blessed to have the gumption and desire to travel and explore.

Whew! A pleasantly busy week in Rio Rancho/Albuquerque

Yes, I had winds between Flagstaff (AZ) and Grants (NM) – tailwinds! That’s the kind I like because as the wind pushes me to my destination. After my Walmart night, I got an early start for the last 70 miles to friend Jesse’s “RV Park” – a.k.a. his nice, level concrete driveway.

Friend Hilda had Cat as her house guest for the week, leaving me free to take care of appointments and visits. Jeremiah spent a morning in service for maintenance, followed by another few hours getting tires rotated and checked. Hilda’s friend, Jim, graciously took care of a couple other motorhome projects and helped me pick out a NOAA weather alert radio (which I have yet to figure out how to get all the functions set).

Happily I got to spend lots of time with my daughter Sue. She and Dave – the sailboat cruisers – are currently landlubbers while they work on some business stuff in Rio Rancho. She and I went to our favorite eating places – Cazuela’s New Mexican restaurant and Relish Deli. I do miss New Mexican food – particularly the use of green chiles. And time with my precious friends was cherished.

Each and every event and visit was memorable and special. One that stands out was attending a Catholic mass in Santa Fe with my friend Sylvia. Afterwards was a procession to the Chapel for San Ysidro, patron saint of farmers and rural communities. He is taken in procession to bless spring plantings, and to intercede for rain in time of drought.

This chapel was built in 1928 by Sylvia’s grandfather Don Lorenzo Lopez Sr. He carried buckets of water from the nearby Santa Fe River to make the adobe.

It was time to leave for a few weeks of wandering

It’s Monday morning. I lingered over a cup of tea out in Jesse’s awesome patio – no need to rush away; I was only driving a bit more than 100 miles – destination Santa Rosa State Park. I also took time to check the NOAA weather situation, and here’s what I read:

From NOAA weather for Santa Rosa:

AREA. It went on to specify which counties would be affected.

I wonder, just what are “brief tornadoes”?

One of the first things I’ll do when I reach Santa Rosa State Park is to get my backpack “ditch bag” ready and available. It will have things such as water, cat food, peanut butter crackers, flashlight, money, credit card, ID, and a portable radio. If I have to abandon Jeremiah in event of a tornado, I’ll just have to get Cat into her carrier, pick up the bag and head to a shelter.

Santa Rosa State Park

No problem finding the town of Santa Rosa, but just like I did when I visited there in 2005, I could not find the turn to the park. A quick phone call got me on the right track and in 7 miles I arrived. All but three of the electric campsites are on a reservation system (which I don’t like because I prefer a flexible schedule). I settled into reservation site A-13, and then moved to A-7 the next morning. This stop is my “lazy, catch-my-breath time. Cat looks longingly out the window; I might let her out for a while.

I had a nice visit with 89-year-old Camp Host Bob. I remembered him from my last time here a few years ago. He’s put together a nice birdwatching area at his campsite and also a DVD of the birds who are in the park.

It was an overcast and breezy day on Tuesday. Cat enjoyed some outside time - mostly looking for a tree she could climb. And it was a good day to take a long walk along Santa Rosa Lake, enjoying the variety of wildflowers that decorated the way. The lake was formed by a dam on the Pecos River.

Tomorrow I’ll continue east – spending a couple of days in Tucumcari, New Mexico.