Monthly Archives: August 2011

Red River, the experience

Trip report –Corydon, Indiana, to Red River, New Mexico.

Day 1 August 10, 2011:

Kate still at work, I’m trying to get some housework done so things look presentable (Kate’s orders 🙂 ).  Got the kitchen straightened up, got the laundry caught up, things look GOOD!  Pack up what I can, lay out my clothes.

9:30AM or so, Kate arrives from Louisville, start loading the car.  Little Millie (aka KD) senses that something’s up, starts doing the nervous dance, running to the door then back, lots of whining involved.  By then I’m doing the nervous dance, whining, etc – what is TAKING her so long??  🙂  Just kidding!  We got all the stuff loaded, thank goodness for the BIG trunk on our little car.  We also loaded Millie in the car – we decided to take her with us as far as Tulsa and leave her there rather than have her boarded here.  Maya’s daughters Megan and Grace were looking forward to taking care of doggie.

11:15 AM, we leave town, heading to Tulsa.  Millie has settled down on Kate’s lap, no problem.  She proved to be a good traveler – no sickness, no whining. Millie was a good traveler, too  🙂 So, we headed west on I64  -St Louis ,Springfield, Tulsa here we come.  Not much to say about our long drive that day except we went through a LOT of rain.  We got to Maya’s house around 9:30 (POURING rainstorm!), had a nice evening of visiting with Maya and the rest of the family.  We didn’t see Maya’s husband Aaron until next morning, but had a nice (brief) chat with him, also.

Day2  10AM: We had a nice breakfast (thank you, Maya!), then loaded up again, this time with Jim, Kate, and Maya – no Millie.  We headed west again, headed toward Borger,TX, where I grew up.  I just wanted to show Kate a few locations (I knew we wouldn’t have time to do much there).  We got to Borger around 5PM, piddled around a bit, traveled down memory lane with Jim, then off again, this time headed toward the MOUNTAINS!  We stopped for a meal in Dalhart,TX– Hodie’s BAR BQ served us up some mighty fine vittles.  We made it out of Texas, then stopped briefly at the Ranch Market in Clayton,NM.  I wanted to see if they still had those wonderful almond-paste-filled bear claws, but (dang!) they no longer had a bakery in the store.  Another tradition by the wayside.  More driving, more driving, made it to Raton, NM around 8PM.  We had to do an ‘overnighter’ at Raton to wait for Ananda to arrive by bus from Denver next morning.

Day3 4:45 AM– Ananda arrived on schedule at the McDonald’s, which is also the Greyhound terminal in Raton.  We got her picked up, slept a little longer at the motel, then made it out of town on our way toward Cimarron, NM, the next milestone on our magical trip to Red River.

11:00AM  Arrived Cimarron,NM.  Made a stop at a curio shop, checked out some American Indian stuff then bought 4 bottles of American Contemporary bottled water.  Off again!  We drove west out of Cimarronthen entered Cimarron Canyon, which marked the beginning of the cool forest, the cool mountain air, and the REAL MOUNTAINS!  A little way into the canyon we arrived at the Palisades, an impressive rock formation, where we spent 20 minutes or so, just soaking up the streamside environment, cool air, etc. We took a number of photos – wonderful place to stop.  Usually, in years past, we would stop at the Palisades on the way in and again on our way home, we just love that spot!  After a bit, load up again – Jim, Kate, Maya, Ananda (checked to make sure Millie hadn’t stowed away).  Up the rest  of Cimarron Canyon, over the pass and down into Eagle Nest, NM, where I had worked my first summer out of high school WAY back in 1961 (has it really been FIFTY years??).  We  snapped some pics then made our way to a restaurant named Kaw-Liga’s. We had some really great food, met some fine folks working there, then climbed back into our car to make the final 18-mile run into Red River.  A nice scenic drive, 30 minutes or so, then down the winding pass and into Red River.  AHHHHH, at last!  We drove up Main Street, just soaking up the scenery, then went on out of town so I could  show everyone the campgrounds we used to go to.  I discovered that a lot was just as I remembered it at the camping areas, but one change had been instituted – they shuffled the names of two of the campgrounds.  The names have been switched on Elephant Rock and FawnLakes campgrounds –  apparently they finally got around to fixing a sign error made some years ago.  Oh, well.

Now we’ll exit the rigid timeline format, just to loosen things up.  What that really means is that my memory is so poor I can’t keep the facts in the correct order.  So, for simplicity, (mine, not yours) I’ll just mention some things we did, things we saw, etc.

We got checked in at the Lazy Miner Lodge then moved our stuff into the 2-bedroom apartment.  It turned out to be just the ticket – a nice kitchenette, nice views, easy access to downtown strolling.  They have wi-fi, indoor plumbing, what more could you ask for?

Some of the notable places we ate:

Sundance – very good Mexican food, great service.  Did I mention GREAT service?  🙂  Very popular place, definitely need reservations.

The Timbers – again, everything was wonderful.  Our server guy was just SUPER – his name was Cimarron, coincidentally enough.

We purchased a few groceries at Der Markt and did a little bit of food prep in our room, and that turned out to be nice.  I helped with breakfast cooking the first morning – a concoction of onions, potatoes, leftovers from Sundance, and 6 eggs.  I guess everyone liked it – it went QUICK!  🙂  Vacation appetites!

Now I’ll tell you what we ‘mostly’ did, and you’re going to say, “Are you kidding me?  You drove all that way and you just WALKED AROUND?”  Well, that’s what we mainly did.  We did make it up into some of the nearby canyons for some backwoods sightseeing, but for the most part it was all ‘downtown’ stuff.  We explored many of the curio shops, clothing shops, bought some odds and ends, but…. if only you could have been with us you’d understand.  It was about the MAGIC of just being there!  The cool scented air, the low humidity, the ‘laid back’ vacation feel of Red River – it was just exactly as I remembered it and I think the 3 girls understood it and felt it, also.  I could babble on and on, but I guess you’ll just have to go yourself to really know what it’s about.  No, I don’t get paid for saying all this  🙂  During some of our free time (rest time) in the lodge I was able to help Maya launch her WordPress blog.  I guess folks have been urging her for some time to get one going, and now she has a blog to show off.  We had a good time working on setting it up.

We arrived in Red River on Friday, about noon, then had to head back to Raton on Sunday, early afternoon – not long enough, it never is, but we loved all of it!  Again, the thought crept back into my head, as I think it must for many other people, also – “What would it take for me to be able to LIVE here?”  Go to Red River, you’ll see what I mean  🙂

We drove to Raton, NM, on Sunday so we could get Ananda to her bus.  We said our goodbyes and headed east on our way to Clayton, NM.  About halfway, the phone rang, it was Ananda.  Her bus had broken down (I won’t try to give you the whole story on that), and, bottom line, she didn’t make it to Denver until about 5AM next morning – about 8 hours late!  But, she seemed to be in good spirits, a real trooper about the whole thing, and got to make some new friends while waiting on the replacement bus they had to send down from Denver.

We made it as far as Dumas late that night and got a room at the Econolodge.  We were pretty tired.  Next morning we loaded up, then it was back to Tulsa.  Little Millie was quite excited to see us, I can tell you!  We got up next morning early and headed toward Corydon, me and Kate and Millie.  We made a couple of ‘touristy’ stops – one at a tourist outlet mall, I guess you’d call it.  They had pottery, cutlery, grandfather clocks, and BILLIONS of Case pocket knives.  Yes, I bought one!  🙂  We also made a stop at Ozark Land – lots of genuine imported curios and stuff there!  Yes, I bought a hat!

I’m sure you’re tired of all this babbling, so I’ll wrap it up now.  We had a marvelous time, enjoyed being together, it was a perfect vacation!  We only wish it could have been possible to have more of the family along, I know they’d love it.  Maybe next time!

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Red River Road Trip

Kate and I are in Red River, NM for a few days, just enjoying the cool weather and the vacation feeling of the mountain village.  We roped her daughters Ananda (from Denver) and Maya (from Tulsa, OK) into coming with us, and we’re really enjoying their company.  The main plan for our getaway is to just have no plan at all.  We’ll stroll the streets, explore the curio shops, ride the chair lift, whatever.  Red River is the site of many of my family vacations in years past, usually camping, and I just wanted Kate to experience it.  We are all tired today (long drive), but it’s great being here!
I’ll do a follow-up post later with a few pics.
Enjoy yer HOT weather, y’all, we got it COOL!

Guerilla Gardening

Vegetable  gardening is quick, easy and cheap.  With minimal effort you can harvest wonderfully fresh and flavorful vegetables.  Oh, wait – I’ll put out this doobie and return to Earth.

1) Quick – except for waiting all summer for the good stuff to arrive, it’s *really* quick.  If you only want radishes and carrots you can get faster results, but I had my eyes on larger prizes.  I’m hoping that I won’t need to wear a parka to get in the last of the crop – okra is just now starting to produce in any kind of volume.  The tomatoes have really been dragging along, but finally now we’re getting some of them from the vines.  Of course, the wet spring was no help – had to wait until the Ohio River receded from my yard before I could plant.

2/3) Easy, Cheap – I think I might have mentioned in passing about all the soil preparation that was necessary, including moving numerous trailer loads of pricey topsoil into the intended area of plant growth.    Then, as things were starting to really come up I discovered that Bugs Bunny and friends were working the buffet line out there.  Many of my okra plants were nibbled to the ground (they mostly recovered, but they are stunted).  So, I figured a modest fencing effort (much like what they used in “Escape from New York”) would do the trick.  That fence went in pretty easily, I must admit.  I put an electronic lock on the gate so that the bunnies and other wildlife would have to punch in a code to gain entrance.  So far that’s keeping out the “non-climbing” pests.  Recently I found that my corn stalks were being cut down and the ears devoured – the neighbors said, “Oh, I see you have raccoons!”  As it happened, we attended a rural church last Sunday where Kate is filling in as pianist, and I was asking advice from the farmer types there regarding control of the furry bandits that were visiting my garden.  One kindly old lady said, “It couldn’t be simpler – set out traps, then next morning you blow them away with a shotgun!”  Well, I was wondering whatever happened to Ma Barker.  I did some reading, found out that electric fences work – a couple of strands 6″ and 12″ off the ground should do the trick.  After checking prices at our local Tractor Supply store I came to the conclusion that it was going to cost me about $8.50 per ear of corn to protect the remaining part of my crop.  I went out and pulled up the corn, threw it over the garden fence.  We’ll worry about electrification *next* summer.

Another small expense: asbestos-soled shoes.  It’s kinda like working in a blast furnace out there while you’re trying to harvest, weed, whatever.  Blazing sun, high humidity, sweat running into your eyes… now, *why* was it I wanted to have a garden?

I actually do like gardening, I just have to re-adjust to the various costs of the endeavor.  I am *loving* the okra, and you know what?  I don’t care if it *does* cost $38 for each batch of gumbo I make – it’s good stuff!

Come see us, we’ll share with ya!