Maybe I’ve been avoiding writing about Santa Fe. I used to write poems for the City Different, for the people there, and the smells, mountains, the sky that swirls constantly into its folds like blueberries into batter.
For years, I’ve been wanting to stay at Riverbend Hotsprings, a modestly fancy resort in Truth or Consequences, NM. A room there is pricey, and in the times I’ve been down that way, either I haven’t had any money, they haven’t had any room, or some combination thereof. Evan and I had been talking about going there for a while, and conceded on spending the night boondocked outside of town and taking a dip in the springs.
Terlingua. Now that’s a town I could bug out in for a while. It’s a small town between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park, and has two towns coexisting: the old ghost town remnants and the hippies who moved there to grow old in the early 90s and never left.
When we stopped in Memphis, we met a couple who told us to stop in Marfa and stay at El Cosmico, a spacey tripped out trailer lodge, like a fancy hostel or outdoor hotel.
Since all my bellyaching after riding the Jay Hoggs trails at Georgetown Lake (okay, maybe it was the all the bean tacos I’ve been eating), I redeemed myself to my bike and again feel worthy of owning such a complex yet simple machine. Evan and I nursed our egos with a short, spry 15 mile road ride around the farm towns just East of Austin.
The funny thing about road trips is that the immediate surroundings don’t change all that much. The weather may change, for example, but the temperature is the same. So I didn’t truly feel like I was in Texas until I stepped out of our van onto the field behind our pal Josh’s house and smelled the dry sagebrush and juniper that settled in the air.
Over the past month, our bike riding had declined as we were fully immersed in closing shop in Pittsburgh and preparing for life on the road. We had been staying with a good friend of ours who lived just a little bit outside of town, so commuting by bicycle wasn’t always an option when we were on such a tight time schedule.
After being caught in the rain for four days, Evan and I were happy to drop anchor for the night at Gulpha Gorge Campgrounds in Hot Springs National Park, where we tried to dry out.
Today is Evan’s 31’s birthday. We are both a little under the weather but in good spirits. He’s replacing a part on the van while I take care of some work business. Today’s our third day on the road and we are in Jackson, TN.
All things considered, I want to live. The pain my loved ones would endure is palpable enough for me to never want to die; although I have no fear of death, the love I have for my family—and, possibly more importantly, that they have for me—gives me a firm sense of self-preservation. While I do have a nagging sense of invincibility (despite having never stepped into oncoming traffic, there have been plenty of other close calls), I know eventually my family and friends will have the option to attend a memorial service of some sort in honor of yours truly. Hopefully not for a very, very long time. Hopefully my parents aren’t here to scatter my ashes.