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Old 08-06-2014, 05:52 AM   #1
AbqDave OP
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Juniper

It is humid tonight. No wind. The water in the canal is still, and seems heavy, like mineral oil. There are tiny circles under the dock, where the whitebait are stirring around. They will really be stirred up in an hour, when it's dark, and the snook come out. The bait seem to be getting bigger by the day. In September, they will be as big as the springtime cutthroats in the Cebolla.

The Cebolla was my early season spot. I fished it when there were still patches of snow on the ground. It's windy in the spring, and it takes some skill to put a 3-weight line into a stream I could step over. Once, I fished the beaver pond with a cow elk and her calf looking on. They hung near the tree line but did not run away. After a while they didn't even look at me any more.

I live in Florida now, and it's good. My wife says it's good; and therefore it is. The sky goes from pastel orange, to pink, to denim. I remember the psychedelic day-glo colors of the sunset over the desert. How it lights up the mountains like the blood of Christ.

I called PJ's the other day, because I heard they rent motorcycles. I had a Ducati once, a 1995 900ss. Hunter Thompon reviewed this machine for Cycle World, after test-driving it in the mountains near Aspen. A good place for it; I took it there once. The road down into town from Independence Pass is challenging and technical above about 55mph, the gravel on the blind turns adding a certain texture to the experience.

Alas, PJ wasn't born yesterday. The Panigale is not for rent; neither is il piccolo mostro. But he does have a brand-new retro-fab Bonnie in the stable. I see a hole in my schedule in a couple of weeks. And August is good. I could do Taos Thursday, Aspen Friday. Could make Durango Saturday. Long ride. But sometimes, a long ride is called for. I'll have to get up early. But then, when have I ever done Redstone Valley not hung over? The Elk Mountain circuit is easy and kind of conducive to going fast. There's the run through the aspens down to the dam on Blue Mesa Reservoir. Kind of boring from there into Ouray. And then...

My wife, she's known me a long time. Understands when it's time to clear my head. The road is hypnotic. Entrancing. Ecstatic, in a spiritual sense. Look it up. Ecstasis. Could use a little of that. See, that long, butt-numbing run through the San Luis valley, up the wild backside of the Sangres, is not "the road you take to get there."

It's the road.
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Old 08-06-2014, 07:18 AM   #2
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Some first class writing happening here. ( Juniper's Travels?) Please continue.
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Old 08-20-2014, 04:26 PM   #3
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Turning left base, runway 27.

This is a picture of the land and the sky. Every picture of New Mexico is of the land and sky. These are the Monzano mountains, on the eastern edge of the rift. They are covered in lodgepole, and at lower altitudes, pinyon and juniper.

Beyond these mountains, near the low-lying clouds on the horizon, is Santa Fe.

Georgia OKeefe, the famous painter, died there. Life is cruel; she went blind before she died. It is said that what she regretted most about the loss of her eyesight was "that I will not be able to see this beautiful country anymore... unless the Indians are right and my spirit will walk here after I'm gone."

For a time, I took flying lessons, and wondered if perhaps I might roam these skies, after I'm gone.
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:02 PM   #4
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Cholla cactus, juniper, Sandia mountain, sky. On Route 14 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

PJ's in on Route 66. In Albuquerque, one specifies whether he refers to the old route, that cut through town from north to south; or the post-war route, that went from east to west. We travel the latter today. We turn right out of the parking lot and go down the original Route through Tijeras canyon. We peel off to the left, up 14, the Turquoise trail. This is a land of low volcanic hills that are rich in minerals, among them the turquoise that finds its way into the traditional style jewelry. People have been coming here for centuries to find precious things like that.

My daughter was a teenager when we lived here. She and I used to ski that mountain. The tram on the other side of the mountain was near our house. We would board the tram in the brilliant hot sunshine down in the valley and debark in a snowstorm on top of the mountain. One year we instructed for the adaptive ski program there. There were things she learned that year that she has never forgotten.

This is also where I taught her to drive, on this lonely twisted road. From here northward, traffic is light, and the road is in good condition, and it is a good place to go fast. This, too, is something she has evidently not forgotten.

We had plenty of time together here. There were many things I needed to tell her, and things I need to tell her yet, and things I wonder if I will have time to tell her. Here, I told her how magnificent she is. How beautiful and intelligent she is, and how graceful.

There are times I wonder if she remembers these things, and times I know she does. That is what being a father is like, on the inside.

It is cool, and there is a light breeze, and the air is thick with the smell of juniper. To be clear, there is somewhere I need to be by the end of this day. But right now, I am not in a hurry to get there.
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Old 08-20-2014, 06:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadride View Post
Some first class writing happening here. ( Juniper's Travels?) Please continue
hehe second that! Keep up the good work OP
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Old 08-21-2014, 05:11 AM   #6
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this is getting good!
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:59 AM   #7
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Every thing featured in this thread is impermanent, some more than others.

This town appears in every guide to New Mexico ghost towns. Rumors of its demise appear to have been exaggerated.

This is Madrid, pronounced "mad," as in angry, "rid." People know how to speak Spanish here; in fact they speak it beautifully. I'm told it's a European dialect. But many of the place names are 19th century English versions of 17th century Spanish versions of ancient names spoken in any number of aboriginal tongues, so things aren't always what they seem.

This erstwhile ghost town was literally resurrected by the Motor Company. If you take your MSF course at Harley Davidson, as I did, they have a unit on what to do with your motorcycle once you've bought it. Comes right after the unit on what accessories to buy. The answer to the first question is this place. It's an easy thirty minute ride from Albuquerque and it has a nice tavern (The Mineshaft). If you're a greybeard with a shovelhead and an iron butt, you have no need for this town. If you're a dentist or an accountant, well that's another matter altogether.

Accordingly, scenes from Wild Hogs were filmed here.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:20 AM   #8
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Writing style

abqdave,

I like your writing style, very understated and sublime. Send us more to
enjoy please.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:23 AM   #9
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Sage

abqdave,

Although different, the sage in Montana does the same to me as Juniper to
you. It is like walking through a sage forest even if it only exists in my mind.
Roses pale in comparison.

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Old 08-21-2014, 08:22 AM   #10
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Thanks Magoo, subscribed.

The buttery words paint a mental landscape as interpreted by a romantic. Ride on friend.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:04 PM   #11
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Strata tipped on edge, between Los Cerillos and Galisteo.

Los Cerillos is Spanish for "The Hills." Once, in a club in Vegas, I sat next to, and danced with the entire cast of The Hills. My daughter believes it was my coolest moment ever, although I still have no idea who those people were.

If The Hills were filmed in Los Cerillos, it would be a Spanish-language western, and I would certainly watch it.

Odds are, your favorite western was filmed somewhere near here. Mine is Lonesome Dove, which is based on a real-life New Mexico story. The Tommy Lee Jones and the Robert Duvall characters played retired Texas rangers, Olver Goodnight and Carl Loving, who forged a trail through Commanche country to sell cattle to the US Army.

At the time, the Army was holding the entire Navajo nation in Fort Sumner, NM, so as to make the fine hilly country above Window Rock available to white settlers. The army rounded up as many Navajo as they could find, and marched them 300 miles to the Pecos river valley in eastern New Mexico. Later, the army changed its mind and marched them all the way back. Many died along the way.

Some of the descendants of those who survived The Long Walk served in the US military prior to and during WWII. Many were stationed in the Philippines, where they were themselves put through a forced march, this time through the Bataan Peninsula. There is a monument to the Bataan veterans near the capitol building in Santa Fe, and now you know why, and what it means. People have long memories here. Very long.

Loving and Goodnight eventually made it to Fort Sumner. Loving died in circumstances similar to the movie character; Goodnight eventually extended the trail to Colorado via Raton pass. They probably passed through a ways east of here. From the high ground, you can see the vast prairie through which they drove their cattle.

The Danny Glover character was also based on an historical figure, Bose Ikard. New Mexico was one of the places you came when you escaped from slavery, to start a new life and find dignity in work. He is buried in Weatherford, Tx, and his gravestone bears the precise inscription said in the movie. He was a Black Cowboy and a free man and as Goodnight's guide, I imagine he rode these hills and was well familiar with them.

The Bonneville and I have not yet achieved oneness but we are coming to an agreement. She doesn't much like going more than 60 and definitely doesn't like having her forks compressed, which is unfortunate because the springs appear to be made of something like spaghetti. She could lose some weight. But about time we got to Cerillos she began to feel light and graceful. Perhaps she is feeling the same about me, eh? I imagine this is something like the negotiations that occur when a man gets to know a horse, and a horse gets to know a man. I continue northward, through big country and big sky, a free man.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:40 PM   #12
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A rain shower drifting across my beloved Jemez mountains.

In the summertime, rainclouds bloom over the Jemez, reaching toward the stratosphere. In the afternoon, when the rain begins to fall, the prevailing winds blow these showers across the valley. These storms are brief and intense. The raindrops are large and hard, and riding through one is like being shot with an M60 machine-BB-gun. Which would be cool to have.

I am looking west, across the rift valley and the Rio Grande, from the high road in Nambe, near Truchas. There are two ways to get to Taos; one, through the Gorge, or the Canyon as the locals call it. The other, through the mountains. The High Road.

The Jemez is a relatively young volcanic caldera, like Yellowstone. Here in Nambe the high road climbs through ejecta that was thrown against the base of the Sangres, a hoodoo-encrusted pink rock badlands that gives way to cool upland forests past Truchas.

I blew past Santa Fe. I would not recommend you do that. There is really nothing in my trip you should precisely emulate, if you are a sane person.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:02 PM   #13
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The high road winds through tiny towns that were settled 400 years ago. It started off as a donkey trail, back before New Mexico roadbuilders knew much about the dynamics of a decreasing-radius turn. And, they still don't. So be careful.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:11 PM   #14
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My home turf stomping grounds. Lovin' the ride.

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Old 08-22-2014, 06:22 AM   #15
_Magoo_
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more please!
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