Sunday, July 5, 2015

Coming Home… almost there. New Mexico.

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I don’t really know where home is yet, but I know where it isn’t… and that is, it isn’t in the Eastern, Southeastern or Midwestern States.  That may be where I was born and raised, but from the time Television first came to our neighborhood, I was riding horses with the cowboys.  I’d sit on the arm of the overstuffed big chair and pretend it was a horse.  I even got a cowboy and a horse for Christmas one year (and secretly coveted all the pretty little dressy dolls the other girls got).

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We even had a tree in our yard that had a branch that stuck out and a branch broken off of it that made a knob that served as a pretty good saddle horn.  I’d take a running leap at that tree, grab that saddle horn, and run my feet up the tree until I was almost upside down, and throw my leg over that horse and ride on off McKim St. in Indianapolis and out into the open western range.  The tree was my teleport station.

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My sister, on MY horse, and the neighbor boy, Rickie Higgins, pulling himself
up the side of my tree-horse.  I was always jealous of anyone else getting in the tree.

I didn’t belong in Indianapolis, I didn’t belong in this family.  I got switched at birth or something.  It was just wrong.  All wrong.

 

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Why has it taken me almost six decades or more to realize I can only be HOME and happy in the desert southwest?  All I know, is this week I returned HOME from what was suppose to be a summer-fall long visit to the East, Southeast, and Midwest.  I got there and was made sick by the heat, humidity and insects, and after less than two months, decided to return to the West for my health.  I arrived in New Mexico, which I had planned as my last stop before going back to Quartzsite, AZ… sick.  Over exposure to sticks and bricks, house pets, and what seemed like an endless assault of insect attacks, had me exhausted, and congested, and my lungs were beginning to be affected and I was coughing up crud.  I spent a couple days in the south-eastern part of New Mexico but it was still uncomfortable for me, too hot there, and I needed to get some altitude.  After seeing a few things in the area and resting some (made difficult by being too hot in the van without running the a/c) I continued on to Las Vegas, NM, where I was able to catch up with Mary Barnes Price, a long time internet friend, and her very sweet dog, Lucy.  We had a good visit.  I gave her one of my rocks to remember the visit.  I think it was called “ice cream agate.”

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We visited evening and the next morning, which was July 3rd.  She was in a formal campground, which I really dislike.  Next morning at 7am, the neighbor campers began playing Mariachi music very loudly.  I was also aware that many more campers would be arriving throughout the day for the July 4th Weekend.  I figured I would find more solitude in the Wal-Mart parking lot back in town, so that’s where I went.  Still coughing pretty hard, I began a course of Ampicillin (I had gotten a large supply last time I was in Mexico).  I just decided to stay in the van, sleep, rest, eat, do nothing.  It was cool enough here at the 6,000 ft. plus Las Vegas altitude, that I could be very comfortable, and one far parking area only had one way in, so there was no cross traffic and it was peaceful and quiet, as compared to the campground.  After the first day of antibiotics, my lungs began clearing up, so I decided to see if I could find a dispersed camping area in the mountains away from traffic, pollution, and noise. 

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What is left of Montezuma’s Castle in Montezuma NM.

I began following my nose, along the roads leading out of town, and ended up coming into a school, and the guards directed me through the campus, along a river, which would take me to a paved highway back into town. The school: UWC-USA is one of 15 United World College (UWC) campuses located on five continents. A two-year residential school, UWC-USA serves students age 16-19 who typically represent more than 70 different countries. They participate in a unique program that combines academic challenge with an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. UWC-USA distinguishes itself through its robust Wilderness Program, the Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict, and its deep relationship with the local community of Las Vegas, N.M., where students participate in an array of service projects.

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But I didn’t want to go back to town, I wanted to go to the mountains.  So I just kept following my nose and have now ended up on top of Johnson Mesa… with a wonderful view overlooking the low lands/ valley… and I believe I can legally stay here at least tonight.  With the 4th weekend coming to an end, I will probably be alone up here.  I did pass one other camp not to far from me, but they are out of my view.  This feels like home.  I passed some homes on the way up here and kept thinking, if SHTF, this would be a great place to be, up this narrow valley.  Year round running water.  The road could be blocked off and guarded if need be.  Game seems plentiful.  And fish.  Firewood is also in abundance.  I have to admit my imagination was running away with me.  But it is so good to be in a place where I am comfortable and can breath properly.   Threat if wildfire is rather low too, as the area has been timbered and also burned in the past.  There is not an abundance of downed wood and litter to present a fire hazard.

 

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And the view…. beat this!!!  First panoramic view I have taken with this camera.  I feel like I died and went to heaven.

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Still don’t know where HOME is, but I know it will look something like this.  Tonight, I am atop Johnson Mesa outside of Las Vegas, NM.  https://www.google.com/maps/place/35%C2%B042%2706.6%22N+105%C2%B028%2701.4%22W/@35.7010073,-105.4673575,1941m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0?hl=en

I am happy and I can breath.  (cool, two white German Shepard's just came to visit)

6 comments:

  1. It makes me so happy that New Mexico is the place where you started to feel better and heal. I live here, too, and I can't believe how beautiful it is where you are!

    Pam

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    1. Thank you, Pam. Yes I was so happy to get back to a cooler state. And I enjoyed going up to 9,500 ft in altitude for a few days but it seemed to make my cough worse, so I came back down about 3,000 ft and now I am really feeling better. Resting now and deciding what to do next... where to go to begin training for the Arizona Trail hike of 820 miles.

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  2. I lived in ABQ, NM for several years not too long ago, so I know that area you're in fairly well. I had to chuckle when you talked about the road being a good place if SHTF. In my first novel (a post-apocalyptic tale), my main characters choose the Pecos canyon just sort of over the mountains from where you are. And for most of the SAME reasons you like your road.

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    1. I can't help but think about SHTF senarios when I get in isolated areas like that. No one is going out of there where to go up those tight valleys. And it always seems so cozy and safe. Returning through that valley today, I kept wondering if there is any property in there for sale. I took a ton of photos driving back down the mountain today, but of course could not get photos of the best stretches which required my undivided attention.

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  3. Glad you are back out in the southwest where your heart and soul fly free and I am very glad to see you are feeling better physically. Please stay in touch via your blog so we hangers-on can follow how you are through the eyes of your unique vision. Be well, traveler. The stars are your sisters.

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    1. I will try to be a more devoted blog writer for you and everyone else. I have been goofing off lately. But I am so much more comfortable in the western states and am very happy to be back here. Just exploring New Mexico some until it cools off in AZ and the monsoons subside.

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Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on https://www.facebook.com/swankie.wheels. In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.

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