What better way to while away the long dark hours of the winter evenings than planning a road trip, reading a good book, and savoring an excellent film? That, my friends, are the topics of the day.
Lets start with film. After quiting the television addiction cold turkey we developed a weekly tradition; a Friday or Saturday evening walk to Hasting’s Book, Music, and Video, and a search for an unheard of film worthy of our time.
This past Friday we discovered Goodhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B003RHZ6F2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr, a 2008 release. I challenge anyone to watch this film and then sit quietly on the sidelines thinking their vote, their involvement in the political process will not make a difference.
Next on the docket are a couple of very good books. Both are older titles, one was recently republished. Both will serve as seeds for great road trip planning, which is item three on our schedule today.
I first discovered the writings of James McKenna almost thirty years ago while working on a ranch near Faywood, New Mexico. The work was long and hard for little pay but there were a few perks and one of those was access to a massive library in the main ranch house.
The titles on the shelves were on a wide array of topics and some titles were more than a century old. Many titles were quite dry and the text was even worse but every once and awhile I would find a gem.
One of my favorite ways to spend a day off was to stuff a book or two and a lunch in a saddle bag, saddle up a good horse, and follow the ruts of the Butterfield Stage route across the Mimbres River Valley to the ruins of the Faywood Hot Springs Resort.
The day I first cracked the cover on Black Range Tails was as a stage designed to set the mood for this wonderful first hand account of life on the frontier of New Mexico. It was a cold,
late winter day and with the exception of the heavy black clouds that crowned the Mimbres Mountains and Cooke’s Peak, the sky was a dark pewter color.
By the time I had crested the west bank of the Mimbres River, a misty fog was settling like a cold, silky curtain obscuring landmarks and blurring the horizon. With our breath hanging in the morning air, and the mist masking all sounds but our breathing, the creak of leather, and the sound of hooves on stone it was almost as though I was riding into the past.
The stone and brick lined pools were maintained by locals but the resort was little more than fast fading adobe remnants amongst the mesquite and cat claw. With the deep fog that resulted from the cold winter air and the warm air rising from the pools the sense of timelessness became acute.
It was a rare treat to find I had the springs to myself so little time was wasted in tying off, cinching a canvas to a couple of trees to shelter a corner of the pool, and putting my saddle bags within easy reach. I had just lowered myself into the springs when a light snow began to drift through the still air and fog.
I savored the scene and then turned toward the task at hand, lunch and a good book. As it turned out McKenna had ridden the same trails I had. He had even stopped at these same springs. Of course the primary difference is that I wasn’t being hunted by Apache’s.
If you enjoy western history this is a must read. If you want ideas for a fascinating trip, this book has to be added to the Christmas list.
I present the next book for those who are fans of Route 66 and travel on the road less traveled. This book, By Motor to the Golden Gate, is the chronicle of Emily Post’s cross country automobile adventure in 1915.
I won’t spoil it for you but suffice to say she traveled from New York to Chicago, from Chicago to Santa Fe over Raton Pass and then to Albuquerque via La Bajada Hill. At Winslow the car was loaded on the train for the trip to California as it was no longer operational.
The price for original copies can be spendy. However, paper back versions do occasionally surface at a fraction of the price.
The last item of the day is road trips. Who is planning on attending the festivities in Santa Monica on November 11 or the big party in Amarillo next June?

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