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Last Vacation Post Days 7 & 8

"I've been talkin' all day, with a man in town.
And he sure seems unhappy to me
He tells me he's going nowhere, he's goin' there fast
And he envy's this life that I lead
If I had the money, I'd tell ya honey
I'd keep him from goin' insane
You know there's one thing for sure, there just ain't no cure
Like a walk in the New Mexico rain.

If I ain't happy here, I ain't happy nowhere
New Mexico rain when my mind starts to roam"

Day 7

The sun rose that day to a cloudy sky with a strong threat of rain but the sunrise was pretty just the same.

Buddy and I were both up for the sunrise. We had a simple breakfast together and I helped him a bit around the house. It was Saturday and he had to open the Museum that day. He's open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day and then after that for just the weekends in September and then closed for the year. The place has no permanent heat source and it gets awfully cold in the winter. Plus tourist season is pretty much over after September anyway.

I told him I'd see him after awhile to bring back the house key and say goodbye. I watched him strap on his gunbelt and check to make sure the Colt was loaded. Then he put on his Stetson and headed out the door. I got cleaned up and headed out myself. I had a lot to do that day.

I went first own to the Art Gallery for my Tea and Ice Cream Sundae and told Val I'd be back later for Souvenirs. Tracy wasn't in yet at Blue Moon so I headed down to Cimarron Canyon. I wanted to do some meditation but I also had some medicinals and other plants I wanted to gather. I needed some red willow reeds to make Dream Catchers with but also for the supports on my Sweat Lodge. red Willow grows in Illinois but in the tree form and not so much the reeds form which is what I needed. So I chopped some out with my hunting knife and put them in the trunk of my car which made an interesting smell with the peppers.

Walking down the river bank, I found the other two things I was looking for, wild grapes and wild roses. Of the grapes, I gathered leaves and fruit.

Of the roses, I gathered Rose Hips for tea and smoking.

The season had been far to dry for the pinions to produce pinion nuts or I would have gathered them as well since it's been a long, long time since I've been able to make pinion nut cakes and prickly pear syrup with fresh ingredients. Maybe I'll have to journey to Food Fantasies in Springfield to see if I can find the nuts.

Anyway, I then proceeded on down the Canyon road to the meditation spot I'd found earlier in the week.

Go Here to find out what happened next:

The Vision

Afterwards, I drove back to Cimarron and settled in for a long talk with Tracy. I told her about everything I'd experienced in the past week and she was pleased to hear it since she'd been witness to the highs and lows of my emotional state in the summer of '94 when I was going through the worst of it. A teenager named Mandy came in and chatted for awhile as well. She was fascinated by the Shamanism aspects as well as the talk of crystals. So I got out the crystals I'd brought along and gave one each to her and Tracy.

Mandy apparently was from somewhere around Dallas and circumstances had brought her to Cimarron at least for the summer and she was staying to finish High School. During the summer each of the local vendors had trusted her to watch their stores so she'd learned how to run all of them which meant the vendors could take short vacations out of town without having to close down. That day she was running the antique store down the street but didn't have to open for a few minutes. Mandy is one of those kids you meet that you know have a ton of potential, you just hope they don't get screwed up along the way with bad influences.

Here's Mandy:

Eventually Tracy had me bring in all my jewelry as well. We decided we'd work a trade, so I went around her store and picked out about $100 worth of merchandise and she picked out about $100 worth of my jewelry. Some for gifts but some like the bracelets and the shark tooth necklaces, she's going to try and sell. And I don't mind at all having some of my jewelry in her shop. Mandy's eyes were wide at all the jewelry. A few minutes later, she had to leave to open the antique store. So I picked out a nice necklace with lots of silver and malachite to give to her and Tracy approved and told me I might pass on a few words of wisdom when I gave it to her. Tracy said she was a work in progress and all the locals were trying to make sure she stayed on the right path.

I took the necklace down to her and talked to her for a few minutes and she seemed pleased. Then I went over to the Ramsey House Gallery and dropped off a load of cedar shingles I'd packed out with me for Ethel Ramsey who was out of town. She paints all sorts of scenes on them and sells them in her gallery.

Then came time to hit the Art Gallery again. So while I was browsing, I had one of the counter girls make me cherry Ice for the road. I picked out a nice silver and turquoise ring for myself and that was all. Val gave me a nice discount on it too. If I'd known she was going to do that, I might have bought more, but I'll be back sometime. I said goodbye to Val and then stopped by Blue Moon to get one more hug from Tracy before heading off to the Museum. As soon as I walked out the door, the sky opened up and rain a nice warm rain came poring down. So I just stood there and got wet because it felt so good and it meant an end to the drought. Tracy and Val stepped out and asked me if I'd brought the rain and I told them it had rained everywhere I'd been all week so I suppose they could give me credit for it.

Wander the Rainmaker. Wander the Trader. Wander the Seeker of Visions. Now if they would just send all the virgins to sleep with me whenever I came to town. Yeah right and monkeys might fly out of my butt!

The rain didn't let up and I finally headed over to the Museum. By the time I got there, the wind was blowing hard and driving the rain almost horizontally. So I had to make a run for it and Buddy had to hold the door open against the wind so I could get in.

I gave Buddy back his key an asked him if it was all right to explore the Museum. I've been going in there for 20 years and have brought so many other people down to see things, he doesn't charge me admission anymore though I'd gladly pay for it. I spent about 45 minutes wandering the 4 floors of exhibits and finally ended up back downstairs listening to him telling some visiting tourists from Indiana about the museum. When they'd gone off on their own, he asked me if I knew any good suppliers of Chevrons in various sizes and I told him I'd send him some info when I got back. I told him I had some interesting chevrons with me and he told me to go get them. So I ventured out into the rain again. It had settled into a steady downpour with puddles actually forming.

back inside, I laid out all the beads I had left after trading with Shirley. He immediately went for some pretty green, large chevrons I'd gotten from a flea market dealer a few years back. I let him have them all, as well as some purple and red chevrons. He told me to look through all his beads and take what I wanted so I ended up with a nice bad of white-redhearts and several dozen Czech Druks in various colors. I didn't really want to leave but it was time I got on the road.

So we hugged each other and told each other to be careful and stay well. Then Buddy pulled out a gift for Deb because she is one of his favorites. A Sakajeweya Dollar in a gold bezel and on a gold chain. I knew she'd be thrilled. I bade my old friend good bye and I was on my way again, out into the rain. I said my good-byes to the town again and drove off. Looking back, the rain was coming down so hard I couldn't even see the town which was just as well I suppose. That way, I wouldn't linger in old memories.

It took me an hour to get back up to Trinidad, CO and to Martin and Diana's apartment there. After all I'd told her I'd be there that day to help celebrate their 37th anniversary.

Along the way, there was a place I wanted to stop and get some photos. The old coal mining town of Morley sits near the top of Raton Pass between Raton, NM and Trinidad, CO. The ruins of the old Catholic Church there have been the inspiration for many a local artist. I'd seen it for years and always wanted to get up close. On the way down earlier in the week, I'd noticed a frontage road that appeared to lead up to the old ghost town. So I found and exit and made my way slowly back on the winding dirt road not wanting to get stuck in the mud caused by the rains. Just before I got to the town site, I came to a locked gate. Beyond the gate were the tracks of the Burlington-Northern and Santa Fe Railroad. And on the gate was this big sign that said " PROPERTY OF BURLINGTON-NORTHERN AND SANTA FE RAILROAD. ABSOLUTELY NO TRESPASSING FOR ANY REASON!"

I cussed, I swore and then I did about the only illegal thing I'd done on that trip. I grabbed my camera and climbed over the fence. I crept up the tracks and would have gone up the hill to the town site but I could hear the whistle of an approaching train and didn't want to A) Get caught out on the train trestle having to make a run from the train or B) get caught trespassing and get reported. So I had to settle for a few quick shots of the church ruins from where I was.

Next trip, I'll get permission and go for an extended visit. I returned to my car picking up half a dozen railroad spikes along the way and drove on up to Trinidad to see Martin and Diana.

When I got there around 5, they'd just gotten in from working on the brakes for the log truck all day. They asked me if I wanted to head up to Jim and Sadie's for elk steaks. Now I had not planned on staying very late as I wanted to at least make OK City that night. But I don't pass up an offer of Diana's Elk Steaks and gravy. So I compromised and said I'd follow them up so I could leave when I needed to. I'd seen Sadie earlier in the week so I was cool with that. But I'd not seen my ex-brother-in-law Jim since 1988. He was in the Air Force in Guam when Shelly and I had left CO for the East Coast in 1989. And He was in Germany when I was last living back in CO in 1993-4. So I didn't know how he'd feel about me. I asked Diana and she said it would be fine. I figured I could always leave if I was making anyone uncomfortable.

I followed them up the 25 mile road to Weston admiring the countryside along the way. When I got there, Sadie was there with Arielle but Jim was still at work. So While Diana and Sadie started getting dinner ready, Martin and I grabbed a couple beers and piled into the old ford Pickup so he could give me a tour of Jim and Sadie's property and where Martin and Diana hoped to build a new house someday. The land was beautiful and had a marvelous view of the Purgatory River Valley.

Martin and I sat and talked for awhile about his life and what he wanted people to have learned from him. I always feel honored when he talks to me like that. Like an elder imparting some great wisdom to you. His words were simple but they spoke volumes. I'm so glad we've kept in touch in spite of all the other water under the bridge. Eventually the sun set and we went on back down to the house for dinner. The elk steaks and mashed potatoes and gravy were fabulous and the conversation was great. It was getting past 9 when Jim finally showed up. I got to do little more than shake his hand and tell him some scant detail about my life before I had to go but it was good seeing him again. I hit the road around 10 p.m. and was determined to make it at least 200 miles. So I headed back down to Raton an then out to Clayton NM. The 70 mph speed limit on the backroads of NM and TX made it a little easier. around 1 am, I'd made it to the outskirts of Borger, Texas and was pretty much all in so I decided to pull up in this roadside picnic area and sleep with the lights from the city below and the sound of oil rigs pumping for company. Sometime during the night I was awakened by the sounds of an animal sniffing around the car, I figured as long as he didn't want to come inside, he could sniff around all he wanted to and I went back to sleep. I never did figure out what it was that night.

End of Day 7

Day 8

I awoke with the sun because it was shining right in my eyes. The countryside was the red of oil country clay around me and looked a lot like a photo of Mars.

I got out of my car and stretched and spied a huge dead porcupine on the road so I suposed that was what had been sniffing around the car all night. If I'd known how long it had been dead I might have tried to get some of the quills as they are valuable for trading but I hate when I touch dead animals and they explode so I left well enough alone. I had myself a little breakfast and boiled some water for a nice cup of tea and spent some time looking at the oil wells doing their thing. Then I packed up and rolled on into the big town of Borger. Rolling through the Sunday morning streets which were pretty much devoid of people, I had the sudden impression Bear was there with me listening. So I thanked him for all he'd guided me to that week and asked him a favor. "I've heard there is always help from the spirits if people are brave enough to ask. So I'm asking. I've got my tail in a crack with my finances. Could you please help me out of my current bind and I'll do everything in my power not to get myself there again?" Bear seemed to growl an affirmative and I was pleased.

My two objectives for that day were to visit the Old Mohawk Indian Store near Clinton, OK and to get home. So I put the pedal down and navigated through the little Panhandle towns of Texas until I crossed over into Oklahoma. At Elk city, I picked up I-40 and a 75 mph speed limit and started to fly until I got to Clinton. I wound down the business route through town until I found my destination:

Lo and behold for the first time in 20 years it was actually closed. I laughed at Bear and said, "Well is this the first step in financial recovery? Keeping me from spending money at the trading post?"

So down the road I went. I stopped a little further on for gas and a brief rest and to get a photo of an old barbed wire fence stretching across the red land:

From there it was across the rolling hills of Central OK past OK City an up through Tulsa on I-44. Up through the turnpikes where they commit highway robbery on a daily basis and finally across the border to St. Joseph Missouri. I took a dubious short cut up through Lake of the Ozarks and up to Jefferson City. Dubious because you actually slow down a great deal even though it's easier than going all the way to St. Louis and up. Up through Mexico, MO and into Hannibal. I was across the Big Muddy by sundown and it took just an hour more to get me home to the farm. I'd driven around 800 miles that day. For the first time in a long time, it actually felt good to come home after a vacation because I was now a different cat altogether. And a cat that was ready to face life head on. The next day I would head to Macomb and get Debs' dad to fix the rock chips on the windshield and turn the car back in at Peoria.

Fantastic vacation.

End of Day 8




( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2002 03:00 pm (UTC)
*long string of profanities*

And on top of it all, you found MY GRAPES! The same grapes that the ex-landlady's golden child destroyed after we moved. Damn this day! There'd better be some partial nudity on Smallville to make up for it.
Oct. 1st, 2002 03:13 pm (UTC)
You want some homemade concord grape jelly to make up for it?


Oct. 1st, 2002 03:27 pm (UTC)
Sounds good. As soon as I have transportation I'll be mailing you 10 pounds of pecans.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
Bear Dancer Studios

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