Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace
From a few years ago, me mugging with the bronze buffalo sculpture at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky.

Monday, September 19, 2011

There's Stark and Then There's Stark: A Whole Lot of Nothingness Through the Windshield of a Ford F-150 King Ranch

Did a seven-hour slog from Tucson to Los Lunas, New Mexico on Saturday. I did this as a passenger. It's not often that happens.

Sometimes I like to just kick back and relax on a trip. I even had the opportunity to doze. It was quite a treat. I also resisted the urge to comment on my buddy's driving. At times we were going so slow, I thought we would go back in time.

"Hey, look, it's yesterday!"

We made the trip in my Tucson buddy's Ford F-150 King Ranch Crew Cab pickup. Clocking a few miles in this monster will convince you it is well worth its cost as the most expensive light-duty truck available. It was like riding in your living room -- even more so because my buddy insisted on doing all the driving. He got no argument out of me or our Florida buddy who was with us.

Once you get east of Wilcox, Arizona, there isn't a lot to see. It's mostly flat desert to the horizon where mountains appear in nearly a 360-degree circle around it. Nothing ever seems to get closer. This holds true for the first 100 miles or so on I-25 north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, too. I love the stark beauty of the Southwest, but not everyone shares my enthusiasm.

Between Tucson and Wilcox on I-10 is a stretch of truly spectacular rock formations. I used to make the haul from Las Cruces, New Mexico -- also on I-10 -- to the smaller towns spread along the route toward Tucson when I was peddling artwork, and pots and pans nearly 30 years ago. I loved the drive.  

Saturday's trip wasn't nearly as stark as the week I spent shooting video in Nevada between Reno and Las Vegas when I was with Discover America. That was stark. It was like traveling the face of the moon. We ate more than one lunch out of vending machines at one of the rare gas stations we happened on along our route.

Equally as stark, but in a very different way, was the drive north of the
Artic Circle
in Alaska. Flat plains covered with snow as far as the eye can see. We carried a roll of toilet paper with us in case a biological imperative arose -- not that anyone in his right mind would squat in a snow bank in subfreezing temperatures. I think I can hold it; thank-you very much. 

I made that drive with Volvo about eight years ago.

So here I am about 20 miles south of Albuquerque. I am hoping we have the opportunity to strike out to some of my favorite places nearby, like Madrid. We did dine at my favorite Mexican restaurant on Saturday night. It's Sadie's in Albuquerque. Great green chile enchiladas, smooth-as-silk margaritas and stimulating company: What more can I ask for? Well, a return trip before I head home would be good.

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