Monday, 28 July 2008

Day Nine - Sunday, 29 June

Bill’s Road Book
Day 7, 29 June: 257 Miles, 5 hours
I-40: 26 miles to Painted Desert, Jct 325 turn right onto R66
R66: 60 miles via Navajo Chambers to Sanders; 20 miles to New Mexico border, turn left onto I-40 East
R66: 25 miles via Defiance to Gallup; 10 miles via Red Rock
I-40: 10 miles to Continental Divide, turn left on I-40 East
R66: 71 miles to Correo, turn off onto R66
I-40: 35 miles to Albuquerque, follow old highway to Albuquerque Central KOA

Well, you know they went back the next morning for more liquefied margarine, this time on pancakes, with maple syrup and coffee (on the side). The KOA people were very happy for the RV to be left in the campsite while they all we went off in the car to see the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. I've been to both many years ago and was well impressed by them, more the painted than the petrified parts. Looking at Simon's pictures I'm remembering how amazing it does look.

As usual, Simon managed to snap some of the wildlife

And a few people (Bill, Chris, Bob, Jane). I started to say a few Old Gits, but then I'd need to apologise to Jane.

Simon seemed really taken with this bird and given the number of pictures and the proximity it allowed, I'm thinking the poor thing wasn't very well. Either that or he expected a little payment in return for his patience. Bob tells me it was posing!

There were apparently some interesting rocks,

the latter of which inspired someone to a little creative effort of their own.

They drove to Albuquerque in the rain. I don’t know how much it rains in NM, but it always rains when Bill is there – sheets of rain. I think some of the electrical storms I’ve been in on the flat desert at night are among the most beautiful and frightening things I’ve ever seen. Bill says the whole place was awash and there was a major traffic jam on the way to the airport.
The purpose of going to Albuquerque was to meet the next additions to the group: Helen and her fiancée, Martin, and Simon’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. This meant getting another vehicle, one which Martin and Chris could drive. Also that the RV was now full to capacity, which meant it was no longer going to be that comfortable, so Chris & Jane went off to stay in a motel. Helen & Martin stayed in the motel as well, which they did most of the time. We all agreed they were having their pre-wedding honeymoon.
Anyhow, the motel was handy as it was around the corner from the RV park where they could go straight out and up onto I-40, which all three vehicles did the next morning, eventually.
Oklahoma City
I spent some time weighing all the stuff’ I had acquired and looking at the US Airways website and calculating whether 2 bags weighing less than 50 pounds would be cheaper than posting some stuff home or having one bag that weighed up to but not over 100 pounds, then again how much might I be able to stash into Bill or Bob’s suitcases and what should I carry in my backpack that I kept with me… I had 115 # of stuff, not counting me.
A large part of the stuff was Rita's collection of jewellery. As Rita had mentioned once that she'd wanted me to have it, Jack showed me the 4' tall piece of furniture that was her jewellry box and said to take what I wanted. At first I only took what I thought I would likely wear. Rita was taller, bigger-boned and had darker colouring that suited ethnic styled pieces. I told Jack I had passed over the large rings with the genuine stones, thinking they were too valuable. He said to do what I thought best. As I was dropping off to sleep, the thought came into my mind: That's the stuff she was talking about, silly, not just the costume jewellery. So the next day I went back and collected those. I thought about some of the ethnic pieces and considered I might take them apart and make them into smaller ones; or, they might be sold on Ebay intact. So I took those. Finally there were many sets of earrings, numerous bracelets and the odd craft bead collection. I realised that whatever I left would leave Jack more decisions to make, so I cleared out all but a couple of things that related very specifically to Jack's previous career. This is the stuff that weighed the most.
One thing I noticed was that the Village is more integrated now and that the black people I encountered there were quite friendly and approachable, not like when I lived here 17 years ago. I was at 7-11 getting gas and as I was going back to the pump an older black man came around the corner and just addressed me in passing, “Do you think I could get a tan in this (weather/sunshine)?” I had to smile. I was pleased that things had moved on and seemed to be so much easier for everyone.
I drew out more cash in order to have the money I owed Bill for my part of the RV and to pay towards gas and food for the rest of the trip. By now I had a stack of $20 bills. I put it in a drawer of Rita’s sewing cabinet and later got an envelope from Jack to carry it. I told Jack that I felt certain I must being going to do something illicit, carrying that wad of cash in a brown envelope. For the rest of the trip I referred to this stash as my ‘drug money’ - but I was careful in whose presence I made this reference!

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