Thursday, October 01, 2015

Chicanonautica: Zen and the Art of Interstate Highways, Part 2

Soon we arrived in Truchas, originally Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Truchas, once an outpost of Christendom raided by the Apaches, Comanches, and other Plains tribes according to David Pike's Roadside New Mexico. Now there are ruins being encroached by art galleries. We were greeted by the crowing of roosters. At nights the coyotes howled.

It rained all night. Clouds crept across the valley in the morning.

In Taos we once again did mocha and muffins at the Wired? Cafe. I barely escaped committing real-life slapstick comedy in the muddy parking lot. The old hippies playing chess probably wouldn't have noticed. Then I saw a spider shitting in one of the ponds.

I was impressed by the surrealistic fish assemblages and primitive paintings at one place, but my wife and her mom thought the prices of the clothes were too high. Across town they found better prices at a thrift store, where I found John Upton Terrell's Pueblos, Gods & Spaniards that put me in touch with the history behind the landscapes we were passing through.

At a bus stop, a guy had a stringed musical instrument I couldn't identify.

I didn't know that churches have gift shops these days. We checked out one next to El Santuario de Chimayó – a place known to cause miraculous healing. They even had Santuario T-shirts and baseball caps. There was an unofficial gift shop next door that had santos, popsicles, and a WE SHIP CHILE sign. On the corner was a lowrider art gallery.

The sacred datura was blooming in Bandelier National Monument. You still have to take the Atomic City Transit shuttle to get there, but the weird rocks and ruins are worth it. We ran into some deer near the washed-out bridges.

Then we cruised Valles Caldera – a supervolcano crater – and got caught in a downpour. This is near the Los Alamos National Laboratory. I wonder if the government has noticed that we keep going back there. Don't worry, gov, we're just sci-fi writers on vacation.

In Española, “the most dangerous city in NM” I found weird books in thrift shops while my wife and her mom found more great deals on clothes. I even found some colorful shirts. I also overheard hippie-looking Indians and Indian-looking hippies talking about bad hash oil deals and needing a money belt to smuggle cash into Puerto Rico.

And this time, the owner of the local bison ranch took us to visit them on his ATV. It was a wild ride! Up close and personal at high speed with buffalo! I tried to take some video, but I had my iTouch upside-down; it tried to correct itself and focused on my pants instead. I guess you had to be there.

On the way home, we stopped in Flagstaff to rescue a couple of kachinas, one of which looked like a werewolf.

Whew! Now, back to the usual madness . . .

Ernest Hogan, the recognized Father of Chicano Science Fiction, has been working on a lot stuff that will be erupting your way soon.

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