Dave's Cross-Country Trip 2003

Day Seventeen

by Dave Schultheis

Wednesday, June 4, 2003 - Villanueva, New Mexico

I slept okay, was up around 7:00 a.m. We had breakfast at Cafe Liz, scrambled eggs with green chiles. I gently and genteelly removed the chiles.

Now for those who do not "se habla Espanol (Espańol)," chiles is pronounced chee-lays. One chee-lay, two chee-lays, three chee-lays. Etc.

Chili, on the other hand, is something completely different, typically a dish made with beans. In New Mexico we had chiles; mostly green chiles.

I'm not sure if it was this meal, or another, when Liz asked me, if I didn't like chiles, why was I in the southwest? My reply was that I was here for the people, not for the spicy food.

Paul got his bike running (by pushing), and left for Santa Fé Harley-Davidson for starter repairs.

Amanda and Liz went into Santa Fé in the rural assault vehicle to do some shopping for the weekend.

The proper Spanish spelling of "Santa Fé" includes the accented "e" in "Fé," but some browsers don't display it properly. If you have one of those browsers, you can just pretend like I've typed "Santa Fe" without the accent.

It's a 60-mile trip into Santa Fé; the first few miles are on New Mexico Highway 3, a two-lane road through some small towns, and then the rest of it is on Interstate 25. More on I-25 with tomorrow's report.

My tasks were to stay on the property, answer any possible phone calls from lost riders, wait for the septic man to bring a chemical toilet, and a few miscellaneous things.

I cleaned up some trash here, rolled up a hose there, rolled up some electrical wires here and there. The septic man called and I told him to "come on down." When he got there with the chemical toilet, I helped him place it where Amanda had specified.

Paul returned from Santa Fé Harley-Davidson with news that they did not have the correct part for his starter trouble. They ordered a starter clutch and should get it tomorrow. He will go in and have them do it. They told him it should take about two hours.

Later, Paul and I decided to walk down to the Pecos (pey-cohs) River, which runs behind Amanda's property, just to look around. It was a long walk through a recently-plowed field, and seemed like a walk back into a prior century. I could imagine how the original inhabitants of the area might have lived. Plowing, planting, tending, reaping, processing.

Later, I assisted Paul with some minor repairs around the house. And I think this was when we set up a couple of stiles so that people could get over the barbed wire fence from the parking area to the house.

When Amanda and Liz returned from Santa Fé, we helped them unload the car. We carried tons of groceries and supplies into the house. "Supplies" included a wrought iron table and several chairs to complement the southwest decor of the WBD (the "woman-built deck"), which had just been completed the day before. It was an amazing structure and the table and chairs were a very good addition.

My Sprint PCS phone did not work in Villanueva, so I used Amanda's phone and my calling card to call home, and to check with my neighbor about the status of my dog. Barney was fine, but missed me.

I can't remember for sure if this is in order or not, but I think it was this day that Amanda and I hooked up her trailer and took a load of junk to the dump. It's actually a "transfer station," where you dump your junk into a big trailer, it's compacted, and eventually taken somewhere else. This was just another precursor to my time to be spent keeping an eye on the garbage cans.

Again, I'm not sure which day it was, but Amanda had made a sign saying "The Land of AHs," which could be taken as (a) her initials, (b) the land of aaaaahs, as in, "Aaaaah, isn't that beautiful?" or (c) something else, so I tried to display the sign up on the road at a place where it could be seen in time to slow down and find the driveway. I was partially successful.

Amanda's brother Gary arrived around 6:00 p.m. He would be sharing a bedroom with me. He brought his cello with him, but put it in the living room. He warned me that he snores, and I warned him that I snore. At the time of this trip, Gary was between jobs, so he told us about http://www.garyneedsajob.com/, in case anybody could help. He put his stuff in the bedroom with the bunk beds.

Shortly thereafter we had dinner at Chez Liz; burritos with chiles. Liz made some for me without onions, chiles and salsa. Thank you, Liz!

Tom Koehler, from the "Norwegian Riviera" of Minnesota, arrived about 7 p.m. He had most recently been in the Roswell area. We were able to share some of our dinner. Later, Tom found a good spot near the house and erected his tent.

Later we busied ourselves with some minor electrical work and prepared the WBD for the arriving masses; tables, chairs, lighting, cleanup.

At some point, whether it was this day or the next, Tom walked up to the Land of AHs sign next to the road and built an inuksuk, which points people to "a good place to go," and then put the sign on it, hoping to prevent people from sailing by the driveway. It worked some of the time.

[Another source says that inuksuk is a pile of stones arranged in the likeness of a human being.]

I invited myself to ride into Santa Fé with Paul the next day. I had been to Sante Fé for a family wedding a couple years previously and had visited the dealership on that trip. I wanted to look for a Fat Boy logo tee-shirt, to see how the city had changed, and to see if it was true that Cerillos (sair-ree-os) Road was _still_ under construction.

Oh, and I _might_ stop at Wendy's.

After dinner, the six of us, all from completely different backgrounds, enjoyed a far-ranging conversation that might have involved some exaggerations and possibly some adult beverages. I may have wondered how the likes of me got involved with such wonderful people.

Miles for the day = 0. Miles for the trip = still 5682.

Tomorrow: a not-so-good experience at Santa Fé H-D, a horrible experience at The Home Depot, a great experience at Wendy's, and many net scum arrive in New Mexico.

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Created on January 7, 2004. Updated on February 5, 2004.
David W. Schultheis, San José, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA