Saturday, April 24, 2010

Nukes In New Mexico

Deming, New Mexico

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yesterday I delivered the motor home and the towing dolly to the buyer in Westbrook, Texas. Everything went smoothly. In case you're wondering, I did pretty well on the sale, getting back what I paid for both of them.

Squeezing everything from the motor home into the car was a challenge. I ended up with just enough room to sit in the driver's seat, and since I can't sit anywhere else while driving, that's enough. Right after the sale I drove up to Snyder and got there just in time to have coffee with the boys one more time. Tommy and Lonny where there, as well as George and Mr. Gomez. We talked farming (or rather, they did), and when the subject of turkey farming came up, I was able to contribute from my personal experience.

I asked about the Mennonites in Seminole, and George said some of them were from Mexico, and just spoke Spanish, and maybe German. It seems that some Mennonites settled in northern Mexico generations ago. Now they go back and forth pursuing various enterprises, including the manufacture, assembly, and sale of trailers of some kind. There are several different groups, as I had thought, which might explain why some women had black bonnets and others wore black scarves.

After the party broke up I said farewell to the Boys of Snyder, and said I'd see them again in the fall on my way back to New Mexico. Then I started driving west, through New Mexico, to visit friends Michael and Phyllis Roberts in Phoenix.

Before I got out of Texas I drove through a dust storm, which was blowing all along the route I'd walked just days before. There's so much land under cultivation that when the wind gets strong enough there's plenty of dust to blow, particularly before the cotton's been planted. Couldn't see a hundred feet in front of me for a few stretches. Definitely not walking conditions.

The drive across New Mexico to Arizona is giving me a preview of what's to come when I start back again. The first 150 miles or so west of Hobbs was pretty much a repeat of the last 150 miles of Texas, minus the crops--lots of grasslands and oil wells and very little of anything else.

Then, somewhere between Artesia and Alamogordo, the terrain got hillier and real mountains appeared in the distance, and soon I was up in the alpine hills, complete with steep grades and winding switchbacks. At a place called Cloudcroft, at almost 9,000 feet, there was snow on the ground and on the rooftops, melting from a sudden storm yesterday, even though it was in the 70s today.

Down on the other side of Alamogordo I stopped at White Sands National Monument, a beautiful area of otherworldly-looking white dunes, where I took a short hike. At the welcome center I overheard a park ranger talking to a man who asking whether it was possible to see Trinity Site, some miles north, where they detonated the first atom bomb back in 1945. She was explaining that it was a restricted area, and that there were only two days every year, in the spring and fall, when the public could visit. As a joke I said, "The great thing is that they explode nuclear bombs there on visiting days, and they give you little pieces of dark glass to look through." The ranger, a woman of about 30, said with a straight face that she hadn't realized that. The man, who was about my age and most certainly should have known better, also took what I said seriously.

My mission accomplished, it was time to move on.


Anonymous said...

Beginning to wonder after Yazoo City, now Louisiana... I hope you're not announcing more disasters to the places you have been through. Am I starting to sound like someone else ?

Peter Teeuwissen said...

Perhaps I'm the new Sherman, leaving destruction in my wake. Or, as Oppenheimer said in New Mexico, "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."

Anonymous said...

Maybe the young rqnger knows more about what goes on on the tourist days than we can imagine. Anguish