Friday, August 15, 2014

No Surrender

I'm baaaack!

We went on a short trip out to New Mexico, having wanted to go back there one day. My husband and I hadn't taken a trip where we'd gotten out of Illinois in a while--especially out west, so we debated on the fact we couldn't really afford it. But then again, you need to get away from everything for several days. We decided to go, screw it.

We stayed in Taos again. Same place called Witten Inn. Cheaper than the others, I'm sure. And we took a walk up town to the Plaza where we had nice memories of having a delightful lunch, back in 2010.

We ordered beer, and then a beef taco sort of thing. There's a saying "you can't go back". What that means is you might go back, but you can't repeat those same experiences. We know this, but it was hopeful we'd at least get a good meal in this one place, since it was pretty good the last time.

Not so much. the meat was dried out, and in chunks. It basically ruined our experience there and we won't go back.
Us on balcony having lunch in Taos 2010 
We didn't let it detur our enjoyment of the late afternoon. We went to different shops in the Plaza
shops in plaza, Taos, NM
It wasn't as busy this day as it was the first time we'd been here. But plenty to see, and if you have money, a lot to buy. Saw one woman carrying around a large Indian drum, and her husband, in a motorized chair, buzzing along side her. I thought that maybe those things could use a little carrying cart when shopping.

Anyway, the walk back to the motel did my knees in. But the traffic was worse than we remembered. I don't know what it is, but everywhere we went (except for the back roads down through Nebraska into Kansas) were busy.

The next day we wanted to take a drive. I wish I could download the pictures from our phone to let you see, but I can't. Anyway, the best place to have lunch turned out to be a place in Red Rock, which is a skiing community. Lots of hotel choices here, and plenty of shops and lots of parking. They had little cars that weren't much bigger than go-carts, to rent if you had $30 burning a hole in your pocket and drive for a half an hour.

After lunch, we went on our way--the big loop that took us past "Ghost Ranch". Now, if you've never heard of Georgia O'Keef, you might want to check her out. She pretty much put New Mexico on the map. I think it's one reason why artists flock here. That, and the views are fabulous! I got this pic from Wikipedia...
As you can see, an artist would love to paint in such a place. We didn't go into the ranch, but stopped at a road side area to take it all in. Next time, we hope to have much more time to explore more of New Mexico. It's dry, and in the north, because of the altitude, it doesn't get quite as hot as the southern part of the state.

We hated to leave, but our last stay was in Las Vegas (no, not that Las Vegas), New Mexico. It became a town way before the more famous one in Nevada did. We tried two motels, when we arrived on the outskirts of town. The first one they seemed to be too busy to even say they'd be with us in a minute. My husband has no patients, but maybe that was good in this instance. We left and tried the next one. There was a guy pressure washing the drive up area. When we walked in, someone was painting, and the woman who was checking in someone held a paint brush in one had.

At this point, Dennis had looked across the road and saw an Motel 8, saw the flowers and thought "that looks like a happy place". So, we drove over there. At once we were greeted with smiling faces. While we checked in we were told there not only was a breakfast, but also there would be a hot soup and salad tonight. Yes. Free. And the guy who was just coming off his shift offered to help us carry up our ice chest. Wow! The soup was very good. The breakfast--we had poached eggs!--and we made friends with a middle-aged couple who were going south to visit a daughter. We visited at length with them. They'd been all over like we had. I got to drop the fact that I was a writer. I managed to give them one of my cards, and the woman said her daughter liked anything with vampires. Go figure.

While traveling, you never know where you'll be able to find a good place to eat. (We don't like McDonald's--you will have to shoot me if I eat there again, because we did have to eat there one night, and chose something we thought wouldn't kill us--chicken (?really?) McNuggets and fries. OMYGOD! My gut hurt for hours that night! Never ever will I eat or drink anything from that place again!) So, when we got to North Platte Nebraska, we had a hankering for chicken. I kept saying "No, I want to go to Whiskey Creek. Dennis tried to get to the Kentucky Fried Chicken place, down town, but there was construction. Somehow I think it was meant to be. We like Whiskey Creek where they put the meat over open pit fires. We settled on a small lunch chicken grilled salad. I say small... I really couldn't eat it all. There was a "large" dinner one. I'd hate to see how big that was.

We got under way again. Oh, I forgot to mention we had to drive through "The Springs" (Colorado Springs area). My husband did so, white knuckled, but did a superb job. I don't recommend driving on I 24 through the springs, unless you have nerves of steel. I had to close my eyes a few times and I was a passenger! We were also driving ahead of a boiling black cloud that was surely going to get us. We made it out of the Springs intact. Some how. That black cloud trying to gain on us. We took a road--I don't remember which one--east, and by this time it was going on one o'clock. We needed lunch. Dennis remembered that somewhere along this back road was a place where we'd stopped back years ago. I didn't remember it. But we found a Walmart. Lo and Behold! A Subway! We got the usual flat bread meal, ate and by the time we got out, it had begun to rain. We got into the truck and drove east again, and then the rain came down. Big huge drops. We worried that it might hail, but it didn't, luckily enough.

The way home was less than exciting. It always is. We hate driving home. Wish we could just twitch our noses and just be home. The other bad point about driving any more, is the gas pumps. No. The price of gas was much better the further we got away from Chicago and ILLinois. It's the "pay at the pump" thing. If you've never done this, it works like this. Either you pay with a credit card at the pump, or you have to go in and magically guess how much gas you need. Right. Like a person know exactly how many gallons you need. Once Dennis tried to pay at the pump with the card, but it didn't work. So, he had to go in. After getting gas--when the frigging thing finally works--you go back in, and get your card, or if you didn't quite get the amount you guess, you have to get reimbursed. It's such a haste. By Iowa, Dennis had road rage which I'd never seen in him before. I really thought I'd have to abandon ship.

But we made it. This week and next are my last weeks off. And this week is nearly gone. I've been busy all summer working on gardening projects, my writing, and, in the afternoon, I crocheted. I've finished two afghans, and have another one going, and a few others I'm experimenting with. I'd like to make a fall one, now.

This month is my birthday (27th), and it's the big six-OH! I've been doing pretty good on my Atkins diet. I only gained back one pound on the trip because I had a salad whenever I could, and breakfast is a no-brainer if you you can get eggs, and meat.

As a sort of celebration, my first two ebooks are $0.99 for the whole month. I've noticed that I'd made a couple of sales this week since coming back, and I wondered if my giving out my card to a few people didn't contribute. I gave a card to the waitress at Whiskey Creek, and she said she was a fan of vampires too. So, you never know. It's a good thing to have a business card to give to people, or post somewhere.

So, Vampire Ascending and Vampire's Trill are BOTH on sale now through the 31st. So, if you've wanted to check out these ebooks, now is the time!