Joan Randall, a Woodstock resident, set out on a journey to “Discover America” she has agreed to share her stories with the readers of the Vermont Standard.
These are her stories.
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Blog #20 – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Now that Bode had a real bath, I was determined to de-matt him and get him clipped. Two hours into this, my phone rings, it’s Rhonda, the niece of Mavis Shaw, who has a home in Santa Fe, would like to know if I am free to meet her for lunch. I hesitated at first because I really want to finish Bode’s coat. I then think to myself, it is only lunch, it will be a nice break for the boy. So off we go to meet in town. It’s Mother’s Day. This proves to be a challenge to find a restaurant that can seat us. We decide a little shoe shopping is in order. Bode knows the drill well and usually finds his way to a quiet corner as he patiently waits for the shopping to be over. This time he chooses the door. No matter how many times I called him away as soon as I turned my back to try on another pair of shoes he plops himself in front of the door to the dismay of the store clerk. I am sure this was his way of reminding me not to get too crazy with one of my fetishes. I needed walking shoes. The two pairs I packed were wearing thin from all the miles we have covered on this journey. I settled on three new pairs, one totally frivolous, but for that store with such an incredible selection I think I showed great restraint.
We settled on Mexican food for lunch before venturing into the area of art galleries I desperately tried to discover last night. Bode was in his glory at the galleries. It seemed every owner called him in to interact and provided offerings of fresh water. He obliged since it meant he could find solace from the warm afternoon sun and he usually got a good rub.
Rhonda needed to return home while Bode and I continued to explore the galleries. A bit of melancholy started to settle in. I blamed it on Mother’s Day, as I reflected back to the final years of my mom’s life robbed by Alzheimer’s. She was such a special lady who did not deserve such an ending. Then the phone rang, it was Walt, wanting to see if we were interested in exploring another trail. It seemed like the perfect solution to my doldrums and I know Bode would prefer that to more grooming so off we went. This time the hike would start near the base of the ski mountain in Santa Fe. From what I could see it compared in size to Suicide Six. After the hike, we decided to join Walt for a burger at one of his favorite restaurants.
Walt knew I wanted to explore Jemez Springs and Taos before leaving New Mexico. He was more than willing to be a tour guide and since he had been nothing but the perfect gentleman I never for a moment questioned my safety and welcomed the company.
Early the next day we went to the co-op to pack a lunch before heading to Jemez Springs. We hiked to the natural hot springs were we planned on soaking. As we were hiking Walt wanted to assure me that if there were young adults and nudity and I in anyway felt uneasy to let him know immediately and we would hike out of there. Now that was a first. I was figuring this was the place where the man typically makes his move. How refreshing, his mother raised him right! At the springs, we met a couple that was traveling from Seattle. They have an R.V. and always seek out the natural hot springs. Not a bad itinerary. They assured me there were many hot springs to explore throughout my journey. I may just have to look into that. Not a bad way to travel!
After exploring the Jemez region and looking at the map we noticed a dirt road that will lead to Tent Rocks, a destination Walt says is a “must see” for this region. Walt confirmed that my suspicion of lack of route markers exists in New Mexico. He claims the state government is broke and markers are not a priority. We searched for Rt 90 to no avail but we weren’t giving up. Then we spotted a forest ranger parked on the roadside talking to another driver. I stopped the Jeep and Walt proceeded to ask for directions. Rt 90 was 15 miles back! That made no sense according to our map, but then the ranger went on to tell us that this dirt road would eventually lead us there. “Just stay to the right at every fork”. I asked about road conditions. He looked at the Jeep and said, “Your vehicle can handle it.” That left an uneasy feeling in my gut. I followed up with a comment, “Will I need a flair gun.” He laughed and said, “No one will see it.” Somehow I knew he was not joking. The fellow the ranger was talking to seemed concerned and told us it would be quicker in the long run to go back around the mountain. That should have been our clue. It was 120 miles to go back around the mountain versus 20 miles of dirt road. He was right, in the end it would have been quicker. That was one long scary journey. I thought for sure we were going to blow a tire. The boulders the Jeep had to climb over unnerved me. At times Walt had to hop out of the car to direct the exact placement of tires. This was serious 4x4ing. I had no winch to help us out. I really wanted to deflate my tires a bit but where would I re-inflate them? One conciliation of this journey was the amazing territory we witnessed within that national forest. At one point I felt like we were at the Grand Canyon. There were huge canyons on both sides of this small rocky dirt path we were on. High winds belted us as we attempted to get out of the Jeep and take in the view. Walt spotted a black bear in the distance. We even came across a few herds of elk. It was a long arduous drive. I was never so grateful to see pavement! It took us nearly two hours to complete 20 plus miles of trail. It was nearing 6 p.m., time enough to visit Tent Rocks before the sun sets. Or was it? The park closed at 6 p.m.! We were turned away.
All Bode’s Well.