Friday, November 22, 2019
Thursday, November 14, 2019
When leaving Española, we almost took a detour to Taos, which sounds like an Elmore Leonard western. Maybe I should steal that title for my own. Yup. Something inspiring about this landscape. The Land of Enchantment.
"We’re going around the eastern flank of the supervolcano,” said Emily.
We stopped for a restroom break, and bought ice tea and water at a charming, non-corporate, middle of nowhere gas station/convenience store called Margarita’s, It was run by a talkative old guy, radiated back-country charm, and had a bar attached. The condom dispenser offered patriotic products.
There were a lot of pizzarias along the highways, getting into the Indian reservations. I wonder if they add green chile to make their pizzas New Mexico Style?
As we approached Farmington, we saw oil wells, refineries, casinos, even a horse race track. Also farmland and beautiful mountains. What more can working people want?
Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, and other Mexican revolutionaires looked over us as we had dinner at Tequila’s in Farmington. Our motel had more Native American patrons and employees.
Finally, we were heading home . . .
What century is this? Did we find America in Aztlán? Who was the president?
And a Koch brother died.
On Highway 64 going toward Shiprock,we passed a massive automotive graveyard. Soon we were going through the Big Rez, toward Arizona, always mindblowing. Real wide-open spaces . . . spacey . . . space . . . geological wonderland . . . modern day Native Wild West . . .
Suddenly, Emily swerved to avoid killing a reservation dog.
When we returned to Phoenix’s urban sprawl, flags were at half-staff again.
Friday, November 8, 2019
Monday, October 28, 2019
Friday, October 25, 2019
Monday, October 21, 2019
Española is Felliniesque town. It dates back to the conquistadors. The streets twist around and across the Rio Grande. It feels like a big barrio that thins out into Indian reservations.
Emily had made a reservation at El Paragua, a Mexican restaurant we hadn't tried before. When I called to confirm, all I could get was a recording saying they were closed on that specific day. What? Did they burn down, get robbed, or something?
Luckily, there was a Chinese place right in front of the motel. The servers were teenage girls who spoke Chinese to each other. Conversation in Chinese, along with the sound of frying came from the kitchen. The decor was kung fu kitsch. And the food was good, too.
You never know what you'll find in Española.
Tattooed characters milled around in the lobby as we checked in. The halls reeked of stale cigarette smoke. One of the rooms we rented smelled moldy. A sign on the dilapidated parking lot fence warned: NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THEFT OR DAMAGE TO VEHICLES.
Surrealistically, both of our rooms had two identical copies of the same bad art print. They were probably in all the rooms. The owner probably got a deal for buying them in bulk.
Later, we witnessed a drug deal in front a NO LOITERING VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED sign.
In Taos, a lot of our favorite places were closed, going the way of the Wired? Cafe. A guy hooked up to an oxygen tank, who was trying to fix a truck, told us the same thing happened to the Coffee Spot. The mural of Billy the Kid with an arrow through his hat and others near it had been whitewashed. A lot of businesses were closed, the spaces for rent.
It's like a hipster apocalypse, though tattoos and man-buns are still plentiful.
Back in Española, we finally got to eat at El Paragua. They said no need for reservations, just come on down. More great tacos, handmade tortillas, and wonderful Latinoid decor.
Pancho Villa smiled from a wanted poster.
Next door they had El Parasol, a takeout annex. Just thinking about their menu makes my mouth water. Award-winning tacos, tubs of beans, rice, and menudo to go. Some kind of paradise.
Friday, October 11, 2019
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Compared to the August heat island of Phoenix, it was cool the next morning in Snowflake. No snowflakes, though. But by ten A.M. it started to heat up. After all, we were still in Arizona.
When we took Highway 60 toward the New Mexico border, Emily mistook a large piece of farm equipment for a dinosaur.
Finally in New Mexico, we had pie at the Pie Town Cafe. I ordered the New Mexico apple pie. "Do you know what's in it?" The Marine behind the counter asked. I assured him that I had it before, and liked it.
The green chile makes the apple pie more delicious.
Soon the sky was crowded with puffy clouds. We saw several downpours in the distance. We sure weren't in Arizona anymore.
We visited the Very Large Array. Emily's mother wanted to see it again. It's becoming a pilgrimage.
I didn't get pictures because a cell phone can drown out the radio signals from light years away.
As we left, there was thunder, lightning, and rain. The downpours had caught up with us. All the spattered bugs on the windshield were washed away.
After the storm cleared up,we saw a rainbow on the way to Española. It abruptly changed the direction of its arc. Did rainbows flip often? You never know what strange phenomena you'll encounter on these roads.
Friday, September 27, 2019
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Miles away from Phoenix, up the I-17, still seems like our home turf. Found myself fantasizing about a photo or painting project: Show the landscape with the saguaros and mountains, but include the microwave, power, and cell phone towers, the billboards, and the graffiti. No more Nineteenth Century delusions of virgin wilderness.
The 260 still looked like home. Hawks patrolled above, as we hugged the Mogollon Rim--monster country. The roller-coaster forest road took us to Payson, where Em avoided killing a kamikaze squirrel.
We also passed one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, La Sierra. It’s funky, hand-painted sign with an awkwardly fixed misspelling was replaced with a boring, plastic one that looks like it should be in the food court of a fashionable mall. I hope they don’t get rid of the psychedelic sombreros.
Surprisingly, in Northern Arizona, not as many flags were at half-staff. Hmm . . . Maybe that’s a big city thing . . .
There was no sign of snow in Snowflake, Arizona, but we did find a rocketship jungle gym. It triggered sci-fi memories. At my grade school the jungle gym was a dome on top of a dome. We had to use our imaginations to make it into a rocketship.
Now the iconic finned rocket is a cliché. Someday it will be a petroglyph.
We ate dinner at La Cocina de Eva. I always love to find great tacos, beans, and rice. There were also gigantic paintings of the restaurant’s founders as vaqueros. Snowflake has a Mexican heritage.
There was a painting of a dragon.
Snowflake also has a Mormon temple and a Oneness Center, as well as a Catholic church. A diverse population for an Arizona mountain town.
In the parking lot of our motel, a truck laden with a huge, mysterious machine stood the night. I couldn’t tell if it was mining or farm equipment, or part of a secret space program.
That night I dreamed that someone was screaming, “Blow the reactors! Blow them now!” And that I had bought a package of strange, little creatures to release into the local ecosystem.