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Vacation notes Days 5 & 6

Warning: Long and Lots of pics

"Roll me over and turn me around. Let me keep spinning ‘till I hit the ground. Roll me over and let me go. Running free with the buffalo."

A Different Approach. OK so I tried posting this a couple days ago and just before I finished typing, the computer crashed and lost the whole thing and because I’d forgotten to save along the way, I lost the whole 9,000 words or so I’d gotten on paper. So today we’ll try and do it in Word, saving along the way then copy and paste when I’m ready.

Days 5 and 6 were definitely the most bizarre days of the trip. It was those days I realized I was completely being guided by an outside force. Bear was definitely speaking up, I was just trying to ignore him. It wasn’t long before I discovered there is no ignoring Bear when he wants to be heard.

The morning started with me getting up to greet the sun as had become my custom. Then Buddy and I had a light breakfast together. He asked about my plans and I t old him I was planning to make it to Chaco Canyon and back that day but not to get worried if I didn’t make it back that night. I’d find a place to camp if I couldn’t get back at a decent time. He asked about the route and when I told him I’d rather not g o down to Albuquerque and around through Gallup, he suggested I go by way of Red River, Questa and Taos and then west on US 64. That sounded like a really good idea because it meant I could miss all the old Texas tourists in their slow ass Winnebagos t ry ing to crawl up and over Palo Flechado pass. So I bid him farewell and headed into town for my other morning ritual of Strawberry Sundae and Peppermint tea at the Art Gallery. I saw Shirley before heading out and told her goodbye as I might not see her ag ain with her weekend visiting schedule. Turns out I didn’t see her again that trip.

I headed up the canyon. There were elk grazing in Ute Park and I relished the sight of Eagle Nest Lake as I wound my way up and over the rim of Cimarron Canyon. I’ve alwa ys loved that sight. Eagle Nest was crowded with trout fisherman or I’d have stopped for lunch at the Laguna Vista where I used to work nights after working construction just north in Idlewild all day. I turned off for Red River intending to stop at the g host town of Elizabethtown. But it’s one of those places that if you blink you miss it and I think I blinked one too many times. Actually, the bare slopes of Touch Me Not and Baldy had captured my attention as I was recalling the majesty of sunrise s seen from atop their craggy 12,000 foot peaks in years gone by. Waking up to a sea of cloud beneath me I could almost believe I could walk across and touch the sun.

Instead, I stopped and got a few shots of the Dragon:

No one knows how the Dragon got there but it’s been there at least since ’81 when I started going out there. I heard a story from and old rancher one time that some transient hippie artist had made it in payment for a few weeks of room and board back in the 60’s but no one really seems to know for sure. I’ve always wanted to put on out in my barnyard where the stream crosses through the culvert. Maybe a good Fall project.

The drive up and over Bobcat Pass and into Red Riv er was enjoyable. No snow, no ice, no rocks on the road and the V-6 under the hood just purred going up and down and winding around the curves to the top. I can sure remember trips over that bastard in the winter in an old 78 Chevy Nova that were far less enjoyable.

Red River was crowded with it’s usual quota of stuck up Texans so I resisted the temptation to stop for lunch at Texas Red’s Steakhouse where I used to sling salads, bake potatoes and slow grill 24 oz NY Strips every night for $6 and hour. In fact I was sitting and having an illegal beer in the bar there when I watched the Challenger explode. Some nights when it was slow I’d get sent over to run the arcade, Stagecoach Willie’s down the street and in between giving change for the pinball machi nes an d listening to the constant drone of George Straight tunes on the jukebox, I’d write in my journal. How times have changed.

On through Red River Canyon past the yellow and blue streaked cliffs of MolyCorp where they are strip mining molybdenum. An d on in to Questa where Michael Martin Murphey lives. You know, the guys who sang that song "Wildfire" back in the 70’s. Hell of a nice guy. He gave me a ride when I was hitchhiking in a blizzard near eagle Nest back in the 80’s.

At Questa you can either turn ri ght and head into the San Luis Valley in Colorado or left and head through Arroyo Hondo and up to Taos. Well apparently I made the wrong decision and turned left for Taos because that’s where the trouble began. I started to get the feeling I Wasn’t suppos ed to be headed towards Taos but I brushed it off and kept going. Well it doesn’t pay to ignore Bear when he’s trying to tell you something. A few miles down the road I got in a construction zone and behind a gravel truck which put three big roc ks into my windshield. Great, I’d always wanted to buy Hertz a new windshield! Then I got a monster headache like the one from the day before when I was looking at the map. The further down the road I got, the sicker I got. By the time I crossed the Rio G rande Gorg e bridge (the one from the opening scenes of American Psycho) I was getting dizzy, just what I needed.

I turned toward Tres Piedras anyway and got into cell phone Hell. No reception at all. The little Verizon guy needs to go there on his donke y. By the t ime I hit the Tres Piedras Ranger station for Carson National Forest, I was downright nauseous but determined so I went on to Tierra Amarilla planning to drop down a little known NM route into Nageezi and head to Chaco from there.

In spite o f being surr ounded by country like this:

I was feeling like I was heading for impending doom. I was actually starting to get a panic attack which is very unusual for me. So at Tierra Amarilla, I pulled the car over and said out loud, "OK, it’s obvious you don’t want me going south. Should I turn north and Head into the San Luis Valley?"

My answer came in the form of the headache rapidly subsiding. So I turned north and headed up towards Chama. I was kicking myself because of all the ways to get into the Valley, this was probably the most roundabout way because it meant going in all the way from the South end. But I took my lumps and headed that way. I guess it served me right for ignorin g the Voice i n the first place. I stopped just outside Chama at and old ranch to get some photos of the beautiful flowers growing on the roadside:

I made it on through Chama and enjoyed the sight of the Rio Chama as it tumbled over boulders beside the road. I climbed Cumbres Pass keeping pace with the Cumbres and Toltec Steam Engine as it chugged up the pass. The air was c lear and cold at the top of the pass and I spooked up a Mountain Sheep which danced across the road and disappeared in the forest on the other side before I could even get my camera up.

On the downhill side, I got behind a slow log truck and had to conte nd with coasti ng down at 25 mph. I soon got past and steamed past the Platoro turn off and up La Manga Pass without a hitch. Finally I dropped down into the Valley proper and enjoyed the sights of the rounded tops of ancient volcanic cones and mountain r anges on both s ides of me. I felt at home here but I had a feeling a lot of purging was ahead because this valley was home to some of our greatest successes in or marriage but also home to some of our greatest failures.

I sped up Hwy 17 until I saw a fa miliar site, the ruins of the San Isadora Catholic Church in Las Mesitas, CO. I had photographed this place back in ‘88 and won a photo contest with the shots. So I stopped and grabbed a few more intimate shots of the place including a couple nice self po rtraits. The church was built in the late 1800’s for the large population of Hispanic Catholics in that part of the Valley. Most of the local Anglo population went to the Presbyterian church in Mogote, the next town up the road. It served the parishioners well until the 1970’s when it was consumed by fire. The parish was too poor to rebuild so they scattered to other area churches and the old church fell to ruin. It is surpassingly intact though. I stood inside and felt the lonely ghosts moving about. They seemed to welcome me home:

I spent about 45 minutes there looking around. I took one souvenir, a piece of old adobe that had fallen from one of the walls to remember it by. I continued on through Mogote and up to Antonito where the highway turns north. I saw this guy out roasting Green Chilies as I went through town. And I couldn’t resist buying a 50 pound burlap sack of Extra Hot Anaheim Chilies which proceeded t o stink up m y car and make my eyes water and nose run for the rest of the day. Serves me right.

I rolled into Alamosa and had to make a stop at the little park between Cascade Ave, where we used to live in a little rented adobe house, and the Rio Grande which was on ly a trickle this late in the drought season. I recalled the public sex escapade Liz Elliot and I had in the little park one chilly March night when Shelly and I were going through our "open relationship" phase. Bad move on both out parts as it later resu lted in a month of "but you slept with him/her first" kind of fighting. Wow, I hadn’t thought of that shit in years, I was surprised at the intense feelings it still brought up and decided it was time to just let it go. It could find a home there if it wa nted to, just not with me.

I left Alamosa and headed up towards Saguache. I was pretty sure, Diana was up at the family house so if nothing better came up, I could at least stay the night there. The scenery in this part of the Valley is among the most b eautiful in the US I think. Driving in the shadow of Crestone Peak and the rest of the 14,000 foot peaks of this part of the Rockies.

I went through the village of Mosca and recalled fond ly the rebound relationship I’d had with Crazy Susan, who lived there, back in 93 while recovering from the divorce. We fell into a night of wild sex not 45 minutes after meeting one another and continued at breakneck pace for 9 months. If I’d known paran oid schizophrenics were so good in bed, I might have slept with a few more earlier in life. That relationship came to a predictable end when she started considering me her future life mate and I just had to get out from under that no ma tter what. we’d mad e no promises to each other so I felt no real obligation and found a way to let her down easily.

On past Hooper with it’s hot spring heated swimming pool, alligator farm and UFO observatory. I’m not kidding. Some New Age idiot built a silver clad walkway around the top of his geodesic dome and people pay to sit up there all night watching for UFOs to come over the peaks. I finally got into Moffat and stopped at Light Reflections where I’d first met my crystal healing mentor, Donna Koo n and her daughter Alta back in 93.

It was around 6 and the store was closed down. So I got Donna’s number from the Verizon directory and called her up. She said she was having a gatherin g of energy workers and couldn’t break free. She offered me a space on her floor but I told her I had a place in Saguache to crash so we made an appointment to meet at 9 the next morning. The next day I was supposed to meet my friend Joe Novak in Taos for dinner. Taos was no w 3-4 hours away and it looked like it was going to really shorten the time I could spend with Donna the next day. So I said more or less out loud that if Joe called and couldn’t make it, that would be fine with me. Five minutes later my cell rang. It was Joe telling me his company VP was coming to town the next day and he had to entertain her. I told him it was alright and I’d try to make it back out soon so we could get together. As I hung up with him the old Twilight Zone music was playing in my head. I said an audible Thank You to Bear for that one. So I called up Diana who told me right away she’d had a feeling she’d be seeing me today. She told me to come on into Saguache and she’d fix some Anaheims stuffed with meatloaf made from Elk burger, Yummy! So I drove off down the winding road of Marriage Lane, watching in amusement as the jack rabbits ran across the road ducking into the bushes ahead of me.

The light was beginning to turn golden as the sun went down and I was treated to a familiar sight. One of the huge Zimmatic Sprinklers watering a barley field. These suckers were developed in the Valley and they are anchored in the center of the fields and plod around in a circle all day doing their jobs. That’s why from the air, t he surface of the Val ley appears to be a series of circles:

Seeing this one with it’s light irrigating mist was somehow so comforting to me. A few minutes later I pulled into Saguache and pa rked in front of the o ld Brown house which also happens to be brown.

It’s a quaint little house from the outside and was home to Shelly and I at various times. it’s a constant home to Sp encer, the old ghost who inhabits it’s thick adobe and log frame. He was the builder and original resident of the house back in the late 1800’s. And he lives there still playing tricks on people who claim not to believe in spirits. Even though this was ho me at one time, it was also the source for a lot o Shelly’s and consequently my problems as this is the place where she nearly died as a child and the first of her many multiple personalities was born.

Diana was happy to see me and gave me a big hug. She was finishing up canni ng 56 jars of peaches when I got there so I sat and talked and watched her do her canning magic. I’m good at it but this woman is the queen of home canning. She’s also very superstitious and every time a jar lid popped indicating a good seal, we had to sa y "Thank You." So it was like yak yak yak...pop...Thank you...yak yak yak for an hour or so. Then I helped her with getting the chilies ready and meatloaf made. She also made green beans and baked spaghetti squash. MMMMM. Probably the best meal of my whole trip.

When dinner was ready, we sat in the living room and ate and watched the news and talked. Diana told me the long involved story of why Martin won’t hunt with his brother Don’s family anymore. That was a doozy.

I always love the way she tells stories. She told me a little about Shelly’s life now and I didn’t object. She told me she was sorry for the way things had gone but she really liked Deb and she though Deb and Shelly might even have been friends if they’d met under different circumstances. That maybe true I allowed. We talked long into the night about metaphysical things which was good because she didn’t really have anyone else to talk to about it. I offered her a couple of crystals and she used her receptive hand to feel for the one that m atched her energy which I was pleasantly surprised about. Seems she had grown as much as I had in the last 8 years. I could feel Spencer’s presence but he seemed to welcome me and not want to cause me any problems as he used to.

Finally around 1 am we b oth turned in and I lay awake thinking about Shelly and all that had gone on for us in this house both good and bad and went ahead and let it all go. I fell asleep thinking only of the good times.

End of Day 5

Day 6

The high mountain mo rning arrived crisp and cool. I was up with the sun again. I’d asked Diana if I could take enough crab apples to make apple butter so we went and picked about 10 pounds and bagged them up. I gave her some of my immense bag of peppers and she traded me som e elk steaks I could take home for Rob and Robbie. While I was showering, she made me breakfast. Bacon and eggs and pan gravy. Mmmm just feel that cholesterol coursing through my veins! I love it. We talked through breakfast some more before packing me up and getting me on my way. She told me to make sure and make it back up to Trinidad in two days for her and Martin’s 37th anniversary. I promised her I would.

I was running late and hoped Donna would wait for me. When I got back to the store, there was a note saying she’d left her store keys at home and would be right back. Fortune smiling on me again. I spent some time poking around the piles of minerals outside before Donna got back. When she did, she gave me a big hug and opened the store. She looked about he same to me even though I’d not seen her since 94:

She told me I had a very positive glow about me but could tell I’d been through some big changes late ly. So I filled her in on the trip and my life in general and we exchanged some stones. I gave her some quartz and selenite and she gave me a wonderful blade of kyanite to keep my chakras balanced which now graces the silver chain on my neck next to my bl ack tourmaline crystal. Donna can be very blunt and came right out and asked me why I was there. She knew it wasn’t just a social call. I told her my chakras were constipated and asked her how much she’d charge to unconstipate me. She laughed at me and to ld me it was free but first sh e had an appointment to do a microderm abrasion at 11. Then she would get to me. Her appointment came in. A shy quiet lady in her mid 40’s, with some skin scarring around her cheeks and with obviously non-believer husband in tow. While she was getting ready, a New Age Hippie type named Cathy came in looking for some books on Reiki and crystal healing. Donna had me help her and I found her some and gave her some crystals as well. She seemed genuinely pleased. I caught the hus band looking a me skeptically. So after Cathy left, I went ahead and broached the subject with him. What followed amounted to a 1 hour seminar on the scientific nature of crystal healing and general energy work. At the end I could tell I had awakened a ge nuine respect and curiosity in him. If nothing else, maybe he’s be a little more supportive of his wife in her attempts at alternative therapies.

The wife came out looking happy and younger. And she and newly enlightened hubby took off talking about ston es and alternative therapy.

Do nna came out and congratulated me. Apparently she’d heard the whole thing and was very happy with the way I’d treated him. She told me she saw a vision of me standing before a group of people sitting on the ground all payin g attention to me. She said I was teaching them valuable things about how to live with Mother Earth. I told her it made me sound like David Koresch and she just laughed at me.

We talked a while longer and she told me she’d lost her husband of 50 years, A l to cancer a few years back. I told her I was sorry. He was a really cool guy. Her assistant came in with one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever seen. Medium height with the muscles of a runner or cycler and wearing those time nylon biking shorts. Rings on all his fingers. Golden brow n skin and a facial structure that could only have come of Aztec heritage. Brown laughing eyes and a huge friendly smile through perfect teeth. But it was his hands I noticed most. Beautiful expressive hands. I asked if I could photograph his hands and he looked at me and laughed like he probably thought I was gay. But he said OK and I got the following pictures:

Finally Donna told me to follow her to the room where she does here energy work and I laid down on this low padded table with two halves a beautiful amethyst cathedral at my head and feet. I’d been there before and relished the positive energy flow between them. She pu t on some nice East Indian music and started balancing my chakras. She immediately knew I’d had a great outflow of energy through my sacral chakra recently and that I still had some blockage there. She also knew what it was from because she and I had star ted on this healing path years earlier. She measured my life force with her pendulum and saw it was only around 30% and told me I could do much better.

She asked if I was ready to let it all go. I told her I believed I was and she said "Well can any good come of still holding it in?" and I answered no. So she said to imagine it flowing out of my belly and through my fingers. She held up a glass of water and told me to let all of it flow into the water. I did and actually felt it passing out of me. The water actually vibrated too. Finally she asked if I was ready to get rid of it. I almost reached for the glass to keep her from destroying it. She smiled knowingly and told me she’d had the same problem letting Al go. But that I needed to let it go. I told her it was OK and she poured the water out on the floor which was a really good release for me if not for the carpet.

I started to cry tears of relief and she left me alone for a few minutes. I was feeling light and un burdened and started to leave my bo dy and float around the room. I was watching from above when she returned and gradually laid back down in my body. She measured my life force again and it was up to 100%. She congratulated me and told me that in order to keep it that high, I would have to find some image or word or feeling to hold onto in my alone time so the hate and fear and dread would not be able to return so easily. She told me to try and not feel sorry for myself because it was when we did that, w e invited the negative to return to us. She told me I needed to watch how I talked about Shelly from now on and I agreed that was key because I realized in a lot of ways, I was the one who had invited all that pain in and wrapped it around myself like a b lanket. And each time I talked about Shelly in the negative and invited others to do the same, I was inviting that same old negative energy back in. So I made a vow to myself to be watchful of that sort of behavior and nip it in the bud.

Afterwards, we j oined the beautiful man and the assi stant back in the main room and chatted for awhile. They asked me if I wanted to go over to the clothing optional hot springs and listen to the beautiful man play the crystal bowls but I told them I had to be on my way and hugged them all.

I left feeling lighter and happier than I’d felt in years. I asked bear how he was doing and he told me he was in the mood for adventure so instead of leaving the Valley by heading east to Ft. Garland and over La Veta pass, we heade d south for Manassa and Rattlesnake F lats. I wasn’t paying attention to where I turned and somehow got lost between La Jara and Romero. I figured it out though had was soon in the midst of Rattlesnake Flats:

I hadn’t been out there in years but I found Lizard Rock easily

and parked t o get some photos of the local vegetation growing between the cracks in the rocks:

I even managed to get probably one of the best self portraits I’d ever done:

The way I’d ever even found out about the Flats was from Martin who told me when they’d haul logs up from NM in the 70’s, they were supposed to stop and weigh the trucks at the port of entry in Ft. Garland. If they knew they were running too heavy they had to find a way they c ould get around the port without getting caught. So some old rancher told them about the dirt roads through the flats that had been used by smugglers and bootleggers for time immemorial. Even if it wasn’t always us ed for illegal purposes, this road cut of lots of time from going around the outer edge of the Valley. Plus it was just a kick ass road to drive down at high speeds because there was basically no speed limit. Bear and I were having great fun together that day.

It was getting on toward dark when I finally made it back to Cimarron and I stopped and snapped one of the most lovely sunsets I saw the whole trip:

before heading in to the St. Jam es for dinner and a beer. Afterwards I he aded back to Buddy’s for some good conversation and a soft bed. I laid my head down that night and though of Diana and Donna and he beautiful man and for the first time in a long time, I thought of Shelly and hope d she was doing well. I thanked Bear for p ushing me when I needed it and faded off to sleep.

End of Day 6


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 27th, 2002 06:55 pm (UTC)
This is a wonderful tale and I really enjoyed journeying with you.
I know a lot of these places and can relate to the crystals and the beautiful hands,too.
Good to hear about it.
Sep. 30th, 2002 07:06 am (UTC)
I'll have one more entry of the last few days I was out there which was when I had a vision which might be interesting too. So we've traveled some of the same roads have we?


Sep. 30th, 2002 04:42 pm (UTC)
I remember you telling me some of the tales of the great healing table, and your past. I can only imagine how transformative this trip was for you.

My heart soars to think of the burden you must be free from. :)
Sep. 30th, 2002 11:02 pm (UTC)
Well the soul is lighter anyway, now if Bear could just do something 'bout this spare tire....hehehehe



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
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