Columbus Wuz Here Columbus Lighthouse, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

There is controversy whether this is a lighthouse and whether Columbus’s bones are really inside the not so small ornate iron box in the center of this ornate display.

Columbus found this island on the first of his four voyages to the New World. Interestingly enough, he never set foot on America’s soil but set up his family  comfortably in the Dominican Republic to give them a good life and claim to  lands he discovered for the King of Spain.

He was a visionary, as well as a businessman, and having audience with Kings and Queens is no easy task because, being important people, their time is worth more than ours. Mounting an expedition that was going to the ends of the world was a dangerous  enterprise.

This memorial is not really a lighthouse, and,not attractive. I’m guessing the great man would have rather remained in the Cathedral in Parque Colon, but, he had no choice. His bones couldn’t stand up and speak up for him.

The big things I learn today are that, when walking, things you see are much further to get to than they look. Whenever you get lost, call a taxi and pay a few bucks to get where you want to go so you don’t  spend your entire trip walking in  circles.

It seems odd to celebrate a man who discovered America, and odd I’m standing here taking a photo of what we are told is the explorer’s final resting place?

He and his beloved Santa Maria , right now, are most likely somewhere north, northeast of Mars navigating under celestial lights on dark dark seas with only a compass and telescope. He is doing in the next world what he did in this one.

His bones might be here, but he doesn’t need them for his new discoveries.

 

 

Lucky Chair Horseshoes for luck

Under the ” Home of the Big Rib ” rib, as you walk towards one of several back dining rooms at the County Line Barbecue, is a lucky chair.

We all have our favorite chairs. Yours might be an old recliner that you found on the sidewalk with a ‘ Take Me ” sign pinned to it like a donkey’s tail. It might be an ancient folding chair you drag out of your garage and open up on your front porch like folks did in the old days. Your favorite chair might have a hard back, torn cushions, scratched legs where your dog or cat wanted to get your attention.

My favorite “LUCKY’ chair, this evening, is made from horseshoes. I sit down in it to improve my luck as I listen to the ” Radiators ” slip into a blues tune in the bar.

Some artisan has collected these worn horseshoes and has welded them into a quirky,quite comfortable chair, and, as I sit ,and tap my right toe to the music, I feel my luck coming back in spades.

Barbecue, horseshoes, cattle, branding irons and the Old West go hand in hand and those old time cowboys sure didn’t live on just jerky, pitching horseshoes and playing poker.

You can’t tell me they didn’t fix themselves an occasional barbecue dinner in the middle of a long cattle drive across wild and hostile Indian country and blame Indians for the lost steer.

On reflection, if my new luck starts to weaken, me and this chair are going to have another therapy session.

When I come back next time, I’m going to try this chair again for a luck recharge, eat all the ribs I can, and ask for a sarsaparilla root beer.

Luck, these days, is hard to come by, and the Sandia Indian Pueblo Casino is just down the street.

 

Barbecue Blues County Line Barbecue

In the shadow of the Sandia Mountains, the County Line Barbecue is packed this Friday night. I am on the band’s e mail list, and got my invitation via e-mail. Judging from a plate of ribs on another patron’s plate, on the bar counter next to me, the barbeque doesn’t sound shabby either.

The music tonight comes from the  “Radiators”, and they sing and swing with an upright bass, mandolin, lead guitar and vocalist. They play blues, country, rock, and even do a bossa nova for folks in the audience still looking for the ” Girl From Ipanema.”

This restaurant is the home of ” The Big Rib” and a huge fake rib hangs on one restaurant wall with a big sign above it. The rib is way too big for anyone to eat, and, by itself, would feed a high school football team, if you could swallow the plastic.

I also like the real Texas longhorns on the walls, pictures of cowboys and horses, and acoustic guitars signed by musicians who have played here since it opened. In the men’s bathroom is a poster with pinups of the 50’s that is nostalgic for guys over seventy..There is an unusual horseshoe chair in a passageway to a back dining room, and, in the front entry of the restaurant, a  “Love Testing Machine” only costs a quarter to test the strength of your passion.

In the shadow of the Sandia’s, the County Line is the place to be on a Friday night,enjoying a Pabst Blue Ribbon, and listening to tight four part harmony and popular songs.

Live music is always a treat and good barbeque makes it sound even better.

Barbecue and blues go well together and even though their marriage has been tempestuous, they would take the ” Love Machine ” all the way to the Moon.

 

 

 

Model A “Phaeton” In McDonalds parking lot - Thursday - June 13, 2019

According to Art, this is a Model A, a ” Phaeton.”

He spells p-h-a-e-t-o-n out for me, this morning, when the two of us are conversing at our usual McDonalds, down the street from the Candelaria street McDonalds where I saw this beauty yesterday afternoon.

It’s owner was an older man, a car nut, who drives his dream car to car shows and likes to meet with other gentlemen and talk shop about their pride and joy automobiles, and, of course, their pride and joy wives and/or girlfriends.

This convertible, with its white removable top, immaculate paint job, upholstery that smelled factory new, and sparkling details, stood out for me in the McDonalds parking lot, way too nice to be there. I took photos for my scrapbook and compared her to newer models that didn’t compare to her, half as well.

With all comparisons, there is some prejudice involved.

I tend to like old vehicles, old buildings, and, even some old people. They have character and miles on their odometers that proves they run and have lasting power.

Inside the McDonalds, I complimented the car’s owner and he smiled with pride and nodded his head as he sipped his black coffee with two sugars, now costing a dollar instead of a nickel when his ” Phaeton ” was brand new.

I thought, as I left, that getting compliments is one of the big reasons he drives her to McDonalds.

You don’t want to keep a show horse like this cooped up in the barn.

 

Mineshaft Tavern Local Watering Hole

State Road 14 takes you to Madrid,New Mexico, and to Cerrillos,New Mexico, if you stay on it.

All the way to Madrid we are passed by overweight motorcycle riders wearing pony tails and Bandito Leather jackets. Madrid is an old New Mexico mining town that busted a long time ago and left old mining shacks that were snapped up by 1960’s alternative lifestyle people. Today, most of these shacks have become watering holes, eateries, jewelry shops, art galleries, antique stores, botiques for unusual clothes, cramped homes for  bearded and balding hippies who have outlived their generation.

At eleven thirty in the morning, the Mineshaft Tavern, a local institution, is still not open and bikers stand outside with their women and take pictures on their cell phones to post on Facebook. After a long ride to Madrid, from Albuquerque, it makes a nice afternoon to have a few beers and tell biker stories before going home. On Monday, most of them will be wearing suits at a desk in City Hall or designing weapons to make a more peaceful world at Sandia Labs.

The mural painted on a wall outside the tavern sums the town up.

There are two dogs for each resident, horses and cowboys are allowed, and no one has to dress up or put on airs.

If I were a dog, I would want to live here too where there are no leashes, plenty of shade, free snacks from tourists and not a lot of traffic.

 

 

 

 

Cerrillos, New Mexico Road Trip

New Mexico, before statehood, was an American territory wrested from Mexico in one of America’s many wars.

In 1912, we became a state and were lucky to do so.There were plenty of critics, then, as now, who suggested  New Mexico has more in common with Mexico than the United States, has a backward uneducated population, is not nearly close to being civilized. In our early days, outlaws like Billy the Kid shot up people, miners lived a tough and tumble life camped out in nearby ravines looking for gold, and cattle ranchers hung cattle thieves from cottonwood trees.

Cerrillos, at one time, was a bustling community and was considered for the location of our state capitol. When the mineral reserves played out though, the town shrunk, and, today, this back roads thin spot on a thin road is just a few hundred souls living a quiet life not far from movie star Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the biggest city in the state.

The Cerrillos Station is a new, remodeled version of an old General Store that our family visited back in the fifties.The coffee is fresh, the owners cordial, the merchandise arty and fashionable. The repertory theater that produced melodramas in the 50’s for families is no where to be seen but this little town is still typical small town New Mexico with adobe walls, pinon rail fences, garden plots in back yards, fifth wheels pulled up to utility poles, dogs running around unattended and without leashes. 

Friends Robert and Eric, who came along for the ride, enjoy their coffee, and we take a quick break before heading back down the road to Madrid, another New Mexico mining town turned into a hippie hideaway and retreat for non-conformist souls who aren’t much different than the neighbors they live next too.

The old pictures of Cerrillos, in black and white on the shop’s walls, make me wonder how the Hell this territory  ever made it to being an American state?

I guess those back room politicians just didn’t want to see a gap on the U.S. map between Arizona and Texas? 

Where you have gaps you always have issues.

 

Custom Golf Cart very comfy

Golf carts are standard equipment at most courses. They speed up play,bring revenue to the course, make the course more accessible.

This one is parked by the Paradise Hills Clubhouse while it’s owner-operator fills up with hot dogs and cold beer before tackling the back nine.

This chariot would have been the cat’s meow in San Pedro Town, Belize where golf carts are a preferred, and much used, mode of transportation.

These golfers are also obsessed, ostentatious Denver Bronco fans.

Bronco football hasn’t been up to par the last few years but they will turn it around if they can find another Elway type quarterback who can throw the football with accuracy,the entire length of the field, and shake off hard charging linebackers with mayhem on their minds.

If people weren’t in such a hurry we could all drive golf carts, save gas and a few lives, and let everyone know what our favorite NFL team is.

This cart does the 1950’s proud.

 

 

 

 

Just Statues Lincoln and Reagan

At the entry to the Fountain Hills Park are a number of statues, some seated on benches, some standing, all with commemorative plaques and praising comments at their feet.The figures cast shadows, some longer than others. Most of the statues are of men and most have been Presidents of the United States.

Presidents, as we know from watching those we have voted for, have lots of good speechwriters, lots of philosophy and confidence.They enter office with one mindset and leave with another. Leading the United States, on a day to day basis, is like trying to keep water in a glass that keeps springing holes. You enter office believing you can benefit the country knowing that half the voters believe you are aren’t worth the time of day. Presidents leave office hoping they didn’t have to deal with war, a disastrous Depression, or any number of calamities that come upon a nation. You are glad, when your term is up, to let someone else drive the stagecoach.

This morning Lincoln and Reagan look like old friends and it would be revealing to sit on a bench on a moonlit night listening to their stories about unruly cabinet members, hostile Congressmen and women, an unrelenting negative press, and military misadventures.

There are those who would like to cart these two men and their memories away, store them in a warehouse providing props to the movie industry,

We  expect far too much from our Presidents, and our Government.

This country will rise and fall on the efforts of us who will never have a statue of ourselves in a park..

 

 

 

Grand Canyon State Welcomes You Building a shed

Henry David Thoreau got tired of his rat race in the 1800’s and retreated to Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts to live a simpler life.

As a transcendentalist, he believed getting close to nature would get him closer to truth, wisdom, God, and peace. He built himself a little cabin on Walden pond, took daily walks, observed nature, documented his thoughts and daily chores in a book he called ” Walden, or Life in the Woods. ”

My road trip goal is to help Chip and Lori get a start on their simpler life in the middle of Nowhere, in Arizona, thirteen miles down a dirt road off a narrow two lane highway taking you from I-40 past Gallup to Show Low, Arizona. There are no ponds, but plenty of nature.

With 80% of Americans living in cities these days, the things you can’t do, in a free country, are astounding. 

The 20% of Americans who live outside city limits are an independent breed.These folks move to a different drummer, value individual liberty, work, helping your neighbors, keeping government at bay, They used to be everywhere, be your neighbors. go to your church, run for office. Now, they are scurrying out of the city as quick as they can get their resources together.

When all Hell breaks loose, do you really want to live in a city, anywhere?

Henry David Thoreau’s book is still resonating, a hundred and fifty years later.

I’ve heard, though, that even he would sneak back to town to have dinner with sympathetic readers and talk shop with Ralph Waldo Emerson  over a glass of wine and a big piece of the widow Smith’s award winning Angel Food cake.

 

In Billini Plaza 19th Century Museo of Tostada

Across from Billini plaza is a well to do man’s home of the nineteen hundreds.

His home, which I am shown through, is several hundred years older than the Alcazar de Don Colon and several hundred years behind homes you find now in the Zona Colonia with modern refrigerated air, jacuzzi’s, fancy kitchens and garages. In another two hundred years, the homes of the future will be with us and who knows what rich people will demand that might filter down to the rest of us.

The Zona Colonia has transported me back to earlier times and works on me slowly, gradually moves me to slow down, realize that people were happy in the nineteen hundreds too, even if their houses are not up to modern code.

This home, compared to even modest homes of our time, is not even up to American middle class neighborhoods.

What is more worth weighing is whether this man and family of the eighteenth century, compared with another man and family in our twenty first century, flourished and lived a happy life, in spite of the house they lived in..

 

 

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