Friday, April 22, 2011


After writing the last entry I realized I had forgotten a couple thoughts and stories from our trip between Arizona and Colorado…I write these down so you can read but also so we can remember.

Upon arriving in our Flagstaff campsite, I noticed a note on the ground near the trashcan. “Have your wife drive this thing until you learn how in a parking lot”. One can only assume this was from a disgruntled neighbor to the previous inhabitant of our site.

While staying in Gallup, New Mexico we hoped to visit one of Chris’ former Arizona colleagues, Sister Christie, who now lives at a retreat house and teaches within or very near a large reservation in that area. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see her but we did get to experience some serious wind. This was not as bad as the wind at Catalina in Tucson (where the wind actually pushed our slideout bed back in about four inches!) but we did not go outside at that campground until we left in the morning.

We also missed out on meeting old family friends whom I’ve never met. The Weavers are friends with my dad’s parents and live in Grants, New Mexico. Mom and Dad went cross-country in a Mustang and a tent camper for their honeymoon and visited the Weavers who, I learned on the phone, are incredibly nice. Mom suggested I call them and meet up if possible. Given the timing of some appointments our paths didn’t cross but I really enjoyed speaking with both Hope and Harry on the phone.

While staying in Santa Fe we woke up one morning, had breakfast and looked out the window to see what looked like a stray dog. No collar, no tags, no leash, no owner in sight. It came back through our campsite and I noticed an impressive set of teats! I then assumed she must be a wild dog looking for some chow for her pups. Needless to say we stayed inside until she headed out. We later learned that she actually belonged to the house across the main road and came to the campground on frequent scavenging trips. We were reminded that we’re in the “wild west” where for the most part you can do what you want with your property. If you want to run your fencing retail store out of your garage which is next to your crowded paddock of horses which are napping amongst numerous rusting old tractors, suit yourself!

A momentous event occurred while we were in Santa Fe: Milo Blankenmaus was born! Nick and Sharon are friends we met while living down the street from them in the farmhouse. We swapped garden tools along with many meals and have really grown along with them in the couple years of our friendship. We are so happy for them and it was so hard to contain my excitement when Sharon called from the hospital to say she had birthed Milo on the 14th!
The handsome Milo
One last Santa Fe tale:
A warning to anyone who thinks it might be a good idea to try tossing your trash out from the car on the way out of a campground. A couple tried this and cut it a bit short causing their fifth-wheel trailer to get hung up on the dumpster. Chris witnessed nearly the entire staff rallying to help the shortcutter get out of his predicament.

Chris has been reading the works of Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr, for many years now and has been reading Rohr’s Lenten work called Wondrous Encounters during this Lent. Rohr stresses throughout his works the importance of accepting and embracing the “both and” mentality. Rather than “this or that” “either or” he explains we need to love, for example, both our strengths and our weaknesses. This has been relevant to my views on the way our country has designed its infrastructure for energy, travel, and “waste”. We are BOTH reaping the benefits of the system AND disappointed in it and that’s okay. A good reminder for so many facets of life. Don’t throw out the whole thing because part of it stinks. This has also been especially relevant as I learn more about our political system and its partisan nature. I hope we can work toward more of a ‘both and’ mentality instead of black and white thinking which limits and often hurts so many.

We saw antelope along the highway in northern New Mexico. It seems like they’re the whitetail deer of the desert plains.

I-25 is dotted with signs for elk, bear, antelope, and dust storms. We're not in New Jersey anymore.

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