In Taos, the Jesus Sale at El Camino Real Imports was still going on.
They had the Crazy World of Arthur Brown's apocalyptic
Fire playing on the radio,
making all the dazzling colors seem to burn brighter. This place makes me wish I was opening a Mexican restaurant or making a psychedelic
spaghetti western. Oh, for a day-glo sombreo among the Zapotec wool
coasters, and albrijes (fantastic wooden, painted animals).
headed out of town, a restaurant advertised CHICHARRON BURRITOS.
year, a helluvalot of the cow signs on the highways had UFO stickers
on them. I marveled at what a tremendous project putting them up must
have been. This year they were gone – getting rid of them must have
been quite a project, too. But I did spot a few UFOs stuck on signs
far from the towns. You can't keep a good myth down.
had water running in the Rio Grande. It would be sad if the Rio went dry. Would they have to be called drybacks?
day conquistadors, brothers to the Quijotes! The casinos are your
Seven Cities of Cibola! Gamblers, offerings to Estevanico are in
cigarettes have taken off in New Mexico. Vapor stores are all over,
with colorful signs, more of them than last year, more plentiful than
casinos. Even thrift stores sell vapor flavors.
A lot of New Mexico businesses don't accept credit cards. Like the
way Pancho Villa didn't trust cash – shot people who came to him
with piles of paper – he prefered gold.
At an Española intersection, a bearded, bandana'd vato in a pickup that spewed country music mistook me for somebody named Harvey. He was
a Quijote. No doubt.
the many murals in Española, a new-looking one, had a young, brown
migrant working in the fields, wearing an iPod. This is the
21st century. The future is everywhere.
visited the birdman and the petroglyphs at Bandelier National Monument The datura was wilted by the cliff dwellings. Having
seen the acid western Greaser's Palace
again recently, I realized that the Frijoles Canyon ruins were where
Toni Basil's topless Indian maid scene was filmed.
long ago. A more innocent time.
Alamos, along N.M. 4, there are lots of fenced-off secret lab-type
places – called technical or tech areas. There are signs saying, NO
TRESPASSING and EXPLOSIVES --KEEP OUT. Some folks say that Area
51 in Nevada is all disinformation, and the real, weird secret
government bases are in New Mexico.
volcanic terrain here would be perfect for such things. Underground
bases could be dug around the caldera where signs announce ELK
VIEWING ONLY, AREA CLOSED TO HUNTING.
Indian kiva and Spanish mission ruins of Jemez, hidden by the
roadside, there's Soda Dam that looks like the head of giant reptile
with a waterfall in its mouth.
seeing the sign: MANAGED BURN – DO NOT REPORT.
visited the bison/buffalo in Truchas again. They put up with us as we
looked at them across their waterhole. I think the big male recognised
tourist stroll through Truchas, a grasshopper crashed into my face
and flew on.
Catholic church on the High Road to Taos was built in 1955, which
makes it as old as I am. Shotgun shells and mini liquor bottles
littered the street in front of it, the art galleries and old
There's also an historic mission build in 1764. Two guys listening to Tejano
accordion music on their boom box seemed to be working on it. Or
were they just having a few beers?
kept seeing exotic birds with long plumage. The hurricane, monsoon,
and rains bring in visitors.
Santa Fe they did their end-of-summer burning of Zozobra, or Old Man
Gloom. A variation on the post-Easter Judas figures in Mexico and
other Catholic countries. Zozobra is stuffed with papers on which
people have written their worries, and they all go up in smoke. Not a
the way back to Arizona, we saw two young Indians standing by a truck
draped with a spray-painted banner that said ROBOT HEAD. Quijote
business of some kind, most probably.
made our way down the roadkill-spattered highways, through the
casino-studded deserts, I saw a billboard announcing COOL STUFF!
Illustrated with an ornate Mexican skull, and I misread a sign:
NAVAJO TIME TRAVEL PLAZA.
think I misread it, Quijote that I am.