Sunday, June 13, 2010

Back on Track

Well, here I go again. Not that I stopped going during this time; I’ve been busy with things I didn’t plan for when I left California at the end of February. I drove back to Kay’s house and stayed over the weekend to get to see some of Tucson. We went to a gun show with a friend of her’s who is a quadriplegic from a swimming accident. He’s the poster child for not just lying down and staying drunk and sorry for himself. Instead, he went back to college and became a vocational rehab counselor for disabled people. We went to the gun show together in his special van. He likes to target practice and managed to rig up some way to shoot guns recreationally. This was my first gun show and I expected to see more camo than tie-dye. There seemed to be a lot of frightened white guys who couldn’t get enough fire power to ever feel safe. Arizona is an open carry state like New Mexico, so I had seen plenty of side arms on hips here, but hardly anyone there could have gone through airport security. Some were clearly over the top and appeared ready to be dropped behind enemy lines and kill their way back home. I checked my usual smartass attitude at the door. These guys looked serious. I couldn’t buy a gun myself since I was out of state and would have to wait for a week. Oh darn. Maybe when I get back to New Mexico I’ll get four or five. I can just show my driver’s license and walk out with as many as I want. I’m thinking a fifteen round 12 gauge shotgun would look good slung over my back. He he…

On to TorC with a stop to look over Dragoon near the AZ/NM border. Not much to it since the Butterfield stage coach came through about a hundred years ago. The rock formations look cool, though and in my typical fashion, I didn’t stay overnight and ride the motorcycle around. I was still in the same pace as when I was working and running around with a busy schedule. I hope I can slow down enough to sniff the rocks.

Last January I bought a motorcycle in Arkansas from a guy on the TW200 forum, but had not really counted that into my route for Le Grande Trip up the coast and back down through the Rockies. So here I am in Truth or Consequences about to start again. When I came back here at the beginning of April, the New Mexico Professional Photographers convention was about to start, so I arranged with a couchsurfer in Albuquerque to stay there and attend it. I had fun connecting with photographers I had not met. They are all so nice, but that goes with the professional persona. A convention of car repossessers might not have been the same; different people skills I suppose. The event was at the Route 66 Hotel and Casino. Although the lure of easy winnings never did get to me, I had some change in my pocket which I threw away in the parking lot. I got more pleasure doing that than losing it in a slot and imagining someone thinking they had some lucky quarters that day. I just don’t gamble; I’m such a poor loser that it’s no fun. The couchsurfer I stayed with in Albuquerque is a retired Army General and his wife. Yes, I was surprised that such a person would be hosting like that, but they turned out to be avid about it and have hosted hundreds of travelers. He suggested that I contact the New Mexico Veterans Service rep in Las Cruces to see if I could get some benefits from the VA. I was thinking Disability compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and went through the process which entailed getting a diagnosis from a counselor at the Vets Center. As it turned out, I didn’t have enough of a case for that, in fact, no case at all. Everything I experienced in Viet Nam was merely stress and not trauma. Besides, with the Army having no record of anything that happened other than that I repaired radios, as far as the VA is concerned that’s all there was to it. I felt so much better knowing at last that my military experience was merely Fun, Travel and Adventure. It did turn out, however, that I qualify for some VA Pension money to supplement my Social Security and that was welcome news. Paperwork is done and I’ll wait and see. Every bit helps. I can also get treatment for depression at the Vets Centers wherever I go, so I’ll start with that in a couple weeks. (turns out I didn’t) I’ve been taking meds for that for years and never had much talk therapy. Sure, I know one should be self-validating and go forth with assurance. Even though that looks good on paper it just could be helpful to talk things over with a skilled counselor. So, back to the motorcycle in Arkansas I’ll be selling the TW200 I already have to pay for the one from AR and I should be only around $500 short on the deal, but the new one (2003) will have all the modifications I wanted to make on the old one (2007). Win, win. I was intending to take the train to Little Rock to pick up the bike and ride it back to New Mexico, but I decided to drive the pickup there and haul it back. I have it now and went on my first trip with it from Caballo, NM to Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument for an 80 mile ride through twisty mountain roads, camped overnight next to the Gila River in a Forest Service campground and came back the following day. What fun! I can imagine traveling like that for, hmm… weeks, or months.

Back at my cousin’s in time to go the local dairy for a trailer load of manure. Always a festive event, just the first part of the process of spreading it in the garden, wrestling with the rototiller, laying drip lines and planting. I like being able to help her with the heavy lifting like that. Weeds are a constant battle here and I do what I can, but she still has to hire guys to muscle them out. An acre is just too much. My most hated weeds are the goat heads… grrr.

Last week my acupuncturist, Marie, suggested I visit her uncle who is a Navajo medicine man for a Cedar Ceremony in his home on the Reservation near Gallup. This is one of the practices of the Native American Church and wow, is it potent. You just have to try it. I was able to shed emotional crap I’ve been carrying around since birth and lots after that, too. I stayed and participated in a Vision Quest ceremony for four men. I was allowed to be in the sweat lodge, sharing prayers and then was the Fire Tender for the next four days. Not too much can be said about all this since that can interfere with the process. Sorry, you’ll have to do it yourself. I was able to hang out with these great people during this time and we got to know each other; camping out, talking and just relaxing. Not depressed now, just happy.

I drove back to Caballo to finish preparations at my cousin’s for my trip on the motorcycle. The plan is to ride to Glacier National Park in Montana, camping and seeing parklands along the way. I have until fall to do the trip and figure out where else to go. I may change plans a dozen times along the way; I never know what will be happening next. I’ve stopped trying to predict anything. Here’s the link for my journey on Google Maps:,+nm&daddr=El+Malpais+National+Monument,+Grants,+New+Mexico+87020,+United+States,+87020+(El+Malpais+National+Monument)+to:1808+Road+7950,+Nageezi,+NM+87037+(Chaco+Culture+National+Historic)+to:Monument+Valley+State+Park,+Mexican+Hat,+UT+to:Canyonlands+National+Park,+Moab,+Utah+84532+(Canyonlands+Ranger+Station)+to:Arches+National+Park,+Moab,+Utah+84532,+United+States,+84532+(Arches+National+Park)+to:Colorado+National+Monument,+Grand+Junction,+CO+to:Dinosaur,+Dinosaur+National+Monument,+CO+to:Grand+Teton+National+Park+to:Yellowstone+National+Park,+Wyoming+82190,+United+States,+82190+(Yellowstone+National+Park)+to:Glacier+National+Park,+Polebridge,+Montana+59928,+United+States,+59936+(Glacier+National+Park)&geocode=FQsr9wEd5Zya-SnhtExRVnLfhjFVs2dTWMka9g%3BFSa_FAIdxWSQ-SFUgSlp8cQVQA%3BFdfCJwId1E-U-SEINvOoJEdNjA%3BFe15NQIdaNFu-SEk_Rh4Gw-fAA%3BFXdnRgIdg2J1-SF8Gi71wdBrcw%3BFbnlTgIdwLR3-SH4rLo2SJCG6Q%3BFfnwUwId41uF-SmFDlFvwANHhzEN3A4GAq-v5g%3BFRNmZwIdtROI-SlVNyCPwftEhzG-cHyVLcGkkw%3BFTDhnQId7Lpn-SFllmKtaoonmw%3BFZ7bqAIdHQ5q-SFvGhyoAVyCAA%3BFXLX5QIdRqc2-SE-ELsbS6_Icw&hl=en&mra=ls&dirflg=d&sll=37.701207,-108.237305&sspn=7.976178,14.128418&ie=UTF8&ll=34.514478,-108.300476&spn=0.519385,0.883026&t=h&z=10

If the route shows me taking any interstates, go to “show options” and click “avoid highways” Give me a holler if you think of anything interesting along the way or if we might meet up somewhere.