Monday, May 2, 2011

Finally, time to "catch up". My time in the "real" west

Actually, I've probably had the time, but didn't feel the urge to "tell the story".   Bad girl!!

When last I wrote, it was the middle of April.  I had just arrived at the ride site at the Cumberworth's boarding stable in Farmington, New Mexico. Because of being tired and fighting the wind, I decided to skip the events at Susie's house and  just blogged a little.

Here's the story of my stay in Miami, New Mexico.

Miami is a very small town outside of Springer, New Mexico. This area is geographically south of the Rockies, in fact the Rocky Mountains end  to the south and west.  It's in the foothills and has great views of the Rockies.

Miami is quite close to the famous Philmont Boy Scout Ranch.  This ranch was actually owned by the Phillips family who started Phillips Oil.  (Phillips 66 and the flying Red Horses on their signs). At one time,  the family had a huge "villa" there, but  now all of the land and homes etc are owned by the Boy Scouts of America.

There are some HUGE Ranches out there.. Multiples of  thousands of acres make up one  ranch alone. Boggles my mind to think about owning that much land.

I got to Susie Jones' home on April 7th and stayed until the 13th.  We had a great time.  Buddy had horses he could talk to, Charlie got along with her dogs and Susie and I were able to catch up with each other.

My Internet connections didn't work there so I didn't post much there. Could barely make phone calls.

While I was there I learned a great deal about irrigation and water issues. Susie is the President of the local water association (an unpaid/volunteer position) and was dealing with  some pretty serious issues.  The area  had had limited rain and the snow pack hadn't melted, so the water in the reservoir was down and there was great worry that people wouldn't be able to irrigate their fields and that the local water supply may be negatively affected.  The concern was that the first irrigation "run" of the year would have to be stopped and many people wouldn't get the water they needed for their fields/crops. She was on the phone frequently, keeping all of the board members apprised of the situation, even sending letters out to the locals letting them know what the concerns were.
  We take water in the Midwest for granted.

One evening Susie took  some friends and myself to the town of Coalfax, which isn't really there anymore, to a local  Tavern that makes homemade pizza..  The girls ordered green chile and sausage pizza and on one half were gracious enough to put more "regular" toppings.  I had a few pieces of the pizza with the green chiles.. not too bad.  Green Chiles are a condiment in New Mexico.. it seems that folks put it on about everything.. hamburgers, you name it.

Susie and I wanted to ride every day.. The wind was horrid..  sustained winds of 25 mph with wind gusts of  35 to 40 mph.  We did get a short ride in on Saturday morning, we rode about 6 miles before turning back and riding home as it felt we were going to blow away..  That afternoon there was a windstorm of 60-70 mph winds. Susie's power went off for a couple of hours.. Wow.. I ain't never seen anything like that.  (unless we were having a tornado)  There were nights I was rocked to sleep and rocked awake by the wind  when I was lying in my bed in the trailer.. I made sure Buddy had his fly mask on to help protect his eyes.

We did get a good long ride in on Tuesday, we rode about 3 hours up in the Pinon Hills.  We saw Elk and what we thought might be bear poop.  I ddin't want to look real close to make sure.

The Elk were cool, there were 5 of them (no horns so perhaps females?) and they were down in the valley, they saw us and came running towards us at a pretty fast pace.. Me being cool and calm kept asking Susie.. "what do we do, what do we do, if they don't stop running towards us?"  I don't remember if she HAD a good answer, luckily they stopped and went on their way.  We thought perhaps they weren't sure what we were and wanted to come and see if we were Elk.  Who knows?

One day Susie's farrier came to reset her horses and I had him check Buddy since I knew it was about time for a reset. It was, reset all around with new handmade shoes.  Buddy now gaits like a charm.

There is a lot of history in this area, the Santa Fe trail came this way and there were old frontier towns such as Cimaron  and Springer.   Kit Carson I think it was, lived in the area close to Philmont.

 We had meals at 2 historic old Hotels: the St. James in Cimaron and the Brown in Springer.  Actually, the tortillas, frijoles and rice I had at the St. James was the best I've had so far.  Actual\ whole pinto beans, not mushed up  as re fried beans.

I also learned how to play Dominoes, that is the local social gathering event for the ladies in the town.  They were glad to have me there to play, since I'm kinda  math challenged.  They could kick my butt easily. We played for several hours and had great fun.. Thankfully, I'm a good loser.

The day before I left I thought  the truck  smelled of  Anti freeze.. I didn't see any leaks and checked the coolant level, all seemed Ok..
So I figured I would just  ignore it.. But what did I know?   Luckily things held together until I got to Farmington when it began to leak more.  I think there is something to the saying that God looks out for fools and idiots.
Susie saw me off on Wednesday and I drove to Farmington, New Mexico.  It wasn't a bad drive.  But I still had a bad wind to contend with.. Did I mention the wind blows hard and frequently in New Mexico?

Susie, thank you for your friendship and generosity.. I had the most wonderful time...

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