Going Where the Wind Blows

As I was loading my car in preparation for leaving Chiricahua National Monument, an older couple approached me, said they too were road hippies (whatever that is), said that my car and I were very cute, then asked where I was headed next. I said I thought I’d go to Rockhound State Park in New Mexico. They said to go to Rock City State Park instead, that it was a much better park. Since I am going where the wind blows, I decided to take their advice. “Going where the wind blows” was supposed to be a figure of speech, but it turned out to be the truth since I had to drive through fierce winds all across southern New Mexico. Cold fierce winds. I didn’t get to the park until about four, and except for a large stand of rocks that from a distance looked like a city skyline, I didn’t see anything except miles of flat land. And all I felt were those bitter winds that could only get colder when the sun set.

So those winds blew me on down the highway.

I had to laugh at myself for all my plans of just driving a couple of hours a day, of stopping early enough so there wouldn’t be a problem about finding a place to stay, and there I was, driving after the sun set. But of course, the early stops were to ensure that I would have time to find an alternative solution if my plans didn’t work out, and that’s what happened.

I drove to Las Cruces and rented a motel room for the night. And oh, did that cheap place feel as luxurious as an upscale spa! Warmth. No wind. No setting up a tent and a makeshift bed. No securing food and scented items from bears. My own bathroom. And a tub to soak my aching bones. Add to that a lovely breakfast buffet with make-your-own waffles, and I felt pampered.

Now I am sitting in the sun in historic Mesilla City, listening to the church chimes.

I feel good. Rested. (Though I don’t look rested. I look like I’ve aged a decade in the last two weeks, but luckily, I don’t see many mirrors.)

My next sort-of-planned stop is a campsite in the Guadalupe Mountains, though I don’t think I’ll make it there today. Do I care?

Absolutely not.


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)


5 Responses to “Going Where the Wind Blows”

  1. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    A motel room from time to time can be a real treat.

  2. Kathy Says:

    So excited to be on the road with you – great adventure, so far! I can just imagine how wonderful the motel feels.

  3. Juliet Waldron Says:

    Good to hear you took a civilization stop. Sometimes, you just need that!

  4. Betty Rountree Says:

    Hee Hee! I loved this post, and you had me laughing, …. sitting here alone with my computer, wishing I were going along sharing your happiness and seeing the things you see! Although I’m a certified hoarder, I have also locked up the house and hit the road many times, because my parents put the love of traveling in my blood. (Right now, I’m downsizing, and getting rid of some of the things that tie me down!)

    See, I’m having fun, too, now that you’re on the road and ‘telling your story’! You most definitely make my day more fun, too! Go, Girl, Go! Now you’re “Living the Dash” in ‘real time’, not just in your dreams!
    Every day will be different, but all will be interesting, and I can’t wait to hear your next chapter in your ‘dash’! My tombstone is going to read 1946 – ??? …….and that little “dash” is going to be filled with all of my dreams and excitement I can manage to put in there!

    I love that you ran across the people that said they were “road hippies”! There is an actual club (semi-organized) group, that call themselves the “Rubber Tramps” and they have get-togethers (GTGs) called “Rubber Tramp Rendezvous” (RTR’s) and camp together whenever they get a chance! I think their last ‘bigger’ GTG was at Quartzsite, AZ this month. Many of them actually ‘car camp’, but some of them are in various kinds of RV’s, including tents.

    When you tell someone you’re hanging out with the “Rubber Tramps”, …… can you IMAGINE how their eyebrows will go up? So funny! I love reading about their activities and their plans, and certainly plan to spend a few nights in their camping area sometime. I love camping ‘with’ people, either for a night, or for a week, but it’s nice that there’s an unwritten understanding that each person ‘moves on’ whenever their individual clock ‘feels like it’!

    I read the blog of a lady who is camped near Quartzsite this month, and she lives in her tent most of the time. She arrived in Quartzsite before most others, claimed a spot under a shade tree on BLM (Bureau of Land Management), set up her tent, and had perfected some great ways to keep foods cool, secure her personal possessions, and solved lots of minor problems. She has successfully found a way to ‘paddle’ her canoe in all of the continental USA, and Hawaii, too, with her brother’s help. He lives on a very, very tight budget, yet she has ingenious ways of solving her problematic situations! I’ll try and find a link to her blog and send it to you!

    Keep on having fun! I am thrilled to be on this adventure with you!

  5. Coco Ihle Says:

    I’m enjoying this journey along with you, Pat! I wish I had known you were going to New Mexico, I could have warned you about the wind. I lived a little west of Clovis, on the Texas border, for a while. I loved it, but it was windy most of the time and also very dry. I often needed Vaseline for inside my nose and on my lips. I also remember the smell coming from the near-by stockyards on a summer’s eve, and the spring march of the tarantulas. Ah, memories!

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