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Mostly taken through the windshield, so no one get their hopes up about quality.

Just ride though the notch by the butte to find me.
Storm before Trinidad.
Storm after Raton.
From the Best Little Rest Stop in the West..
Blue and Green.
You belong among the wildflowers.
Peaking.
In we go! And it was a doozy!
The road ahead.

Next stop — Santa Fe Opera. Gussying up for Falstaff tonight.

Daily gratitudes:

  • MKL
  • A hotel that’s a smidge swanky
  • That my COVID test was negative (even though I feel like crap)
  • A good cat sitter
  • Clouds. Always clouds.

Not all who wander are lost applies particularly to me.

Outside of Gunnison, Colorado.

Daily gratitudes:

  • MKL
  • Adventure Days
  • Setting up house
  • Rain
  • Planting
Lake with the Spanish Peaks as a backdrop.
Peak Peeking.
A Tempting Trail.
Anytime. But nary a horse to be found.
My best friend ready to head on.

Today’s gratitudes:

  • Goats
  • Grazing alpacas
  • MKL
  • Tulips blooming today
Took a detour down a little Forest Service road, hoping to reach a random lake, but was stopped by too-deep snow. There were, however, lovely tree roots.
Atop Cuchara Pass.
Choices.
North Lake.
Abandoned Church.
The former Weston General Store.
The former Weston Elementary School.
Bird on a limb.
Looking back with love.

Today’s gratitudes:

  • That K does not have COVID-19
  • Sleep
  • Lemon ginger tea
  • A repaired stair
Corners Diner, which looks sadly defunct.
Such unique rock formations.
Curves ahead.
Roadside barn.
And roadside shed.
My stomach was disappointed that it could not have a burger at the Dog Bar. A little too early for the season.
Happy Mailboxes.

Today’s gratitudes:

  • That MKL came up for the day
  • Only nine more days until I actually live with my husband
  • That the Fire Department is trying to contain the fire four miles northwest of here (which is really stressing me out)
  • A successful experimental smoothie

I’m really not traveling the county roads in numerical order – though that might be fun.

But this one was irresistible.
Down the tracks.
And always look both ways.
Sketchy bridge ahead.
The Sangre de Cristos in one direction…
And the Spanish Peaks in the other. I have a particular fondness for the Spanish Peaks.
They all came running up to the fence to say hello. I think they liked my music. I blew them a kiss as I left.
This is the kind of mountain I used to draw as a child, basically a triangle. I love the way the rooftop echoes the peak’s contours.

Today’s gratitudes:

  • Dirt roads
  • An annual State parks pass
  • Meadowlarks
  • Getting gas for under $4.00/gallon

Via a rather circuitous route that included Hwy 69, Hwy 96, and Hwy 165.

The Sangre de Cristo range.
Abandoned.
But still watchful.
The Three Trees.
Contrasts.
My Best Friend.
Grazing.
Aspens on the verge of Spring.
Higher and higher.
I found some bison!
Along the road home.

Today’s gratitudes:

  • Trying to figure out the cat
  • The first tree in bloom
  • That K is back safely from her trip
I suppose it’s more of a ghost community than a ghost town.
It was right on the side of the road, up a small hill, with a great view.
Window frames seem to stand the test of time.
This table didn’t fare quite as well.
This looks like the sort of door I might have made.
Remarkably, the only graffiti in the town.
Leftover.
The sunroom.
As I stood before this doorway, I heard a sound. It sounded like a long, low, gentle bray, like a distant donkey. There was no wind. I surveyed the landscape and saw no beasties. I’ve decided it was a ghost donkey, just letting me know it was there. Otherwise, I got no vibes of the past from the little community.
In the shade.
But with a view.
I loved exploring this place. Admittedly, It was a little dicey, as many of the places I walked were clearly above rooms dug into the hillside. I knew there was a risk of falling through. But what’s life without a little risk? The only thing missing from this part of the adventure was K. She’d have loved it.

Today’s gratitudes:

  • What aspen leaves look like when they start to bud
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Robins
Yesterday. More snow than I expected.
Today. The blue sky and sun helps.

Amazing how much difference a day can make. It feels like the extremes are more extreme up here. Weather never just fades away. It’s either on or it’s off. No in between. I either feel like Jack Nicholson in The Shining going mad or Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music twirling on a sunny mountaintop.

In other news, Pharoah and I are getting along famously. He made an appearance on my Zoom staff meeting this morning, slept on my stomach all night last night, and was absolutely shocked at my taking a bath.

One shocked cat.

I don’t think he’d ever seen a human do such a thing, so he delicately walked around the rim of the tub. Thank heavens for his sure-footedness, as I’ve had a cat fall into a bathtub with me once and it is not an experience I would choose to repeat.

Today’s gratitudes:

  • A helpful, ethical well services guy
  • Living with a cat again
  • Sunshine
  • Snow falling from the pine trees

I’ve driven hundreds and hundreds of miles already this year. My drives have been from The Retreat to MKL or to the ruins of the cozy house. Of course, it’s wonderful to have time with MKL, but most of my trips north have involved my sifting or just sitting in the ashes or managing some detail of recovery. In other words, these drives have been taken with a heavy heart.

Yesterday, though, my drive was different. Instead of turning north, I turned south on the highway and headed for New Mexico to meet up with K for one night in a town about midway between us. As soon as I hit the unfamiliar blacktop of I-25 South, I felt free. The sky opened up to a vast blue and I felt tearfully excited that I was going to see my girl.

It was a lovely, easy drive, with Truck most eager to hit illegal speeds. It was warm and sunny and I had Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers as musical accompaniment. I blew kisses to the many herds and singleton antelope I saw along the way, they being my comfort and shamanic power animal, so often appearing in my travels.

While I’m not choosy, particularly when it comes to New Mexico skies, I prefer a few clouds to add some extra drama, but the clarity of the day, with a three-quarter moon resting in the crook between the mesas, made for a liberating trip. I love how, heading south from the Retreat, the Spanish Peaks appear suddenly before me, welcoming and enticing. Across the border, after Raton Pass, a New Mexico snow-capped mountain range peeks out from the west horizon, dipping behind the brown hills and reappearing unexpectedly in a slightly different place a few miles down the road.

Once, years ago, when K was in high school, she was having a rough patch and she said, “I just want to get out of this state.” And I said okay. So we got in the truck and drove to Wyoming, thrift shopping, exploring, and stopping at the hoodoos at sunset to clamber around. That change of scene, that change of state, was just what she needed. A day with her in another state was just what I needed right now. I’ll share pictures in the coming days.

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