I got up this morning
with the thought that one-twenty-fourth of the year was already
gone, and my accomplishments have so far been minimal. I did
not want to contend with such negative thoughts, so I knew that
taking my walk was imperative. It helped.
Last Tuesday I had
ended up in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it wasn't a vacation. My
daughter Kylene, her best friend and another girl had decided
to move there; and I was elected, by acclamation, to be in charge
of moving them. Kylene and her best friend had been living in
Albuquerque, in a second-story apartment without access to an
elevator. I thought moving them out of that place was harduntil
I discovered they had chosen a third-story apartment in Las
Vegas, also without access to an elevator.
We set out about
4 in the morning on the previous Saturday, in a three-car caravan.
The early hour was necessary, because we had to be at the apartment
complex by 5 in the afternoon. After that, the office closed
for the weekend, and we would not be able to get in until Monday
morning. My daughter, accompanied by a young male cousin and
another male friend, was in the lead. Kylenes best friend
and a neighbor were in the second car, along with the young
lady who will become the third roommate in June, after she finishes
a teaching contract. My wife, Linda, and I brought up the rear,
pulling a U-Haul trailer containing my daughter's and her friend's
personal belongings and the few pieces of furniture they possessed.
For Christmas I had
made Kylene a coffee table out of walnut and flagstone. The
flagstone top weighed about 200 pounds; so when we arrived in
Las Vegas and discovered that the apartment was on the third
floor with no elevator, I was extremely grateful that the young
men had accompanied us.
Due to the September
11 disaster, I was not allowed to drive the U-Haul trailer over
Boulder Dam. Instead of turning north at Kingman, Arizona, I
was forced to drive over to Laughlin, Nevada, and from there
head on for Las Vegas. Kylene went straight through. She arrived
in time to pick up her key, and was waiting for us. We decided
to move everything into the apartment before dinner. We figured
we wouldn't be too eager to pick up heavy things after eating.
We spent Saturday night and Sunday resting.
On Monday I returned
the trailer to a U-Haul agent in Las Vegas. Then I spent the
rest of the day doing odds and ends that were needed to make
the apartment more livable. I did manage to make a contribution
to one of the casinos before the two young men and I drove off
Tuesday afternoon back to Santa Fe. My wife and the young schoolteacher
had returned Monday night by air.
Our plan was to drive
to Williams, Arizona, and spend the night. On Wednesday morning
we wanted to go see the Grand Canyon, which is a little more
than 60 miles off Interstate 40. That adds up to 120 miles of
Because this time
of year is the off-season for the Grand Canyon, all the nice
hotels were closed. We ended up spending the night in a place
I'll call a motel, but the cost for three of us was $44! The
carpet hadn't been vacuumed for a long time. When I mentioned
this to the night clerk, he told me the owners were planning
to put in a new carpet, and until they did, they were not worried
about the old one I'm sure something shared my bed that night,
and it was not anything easily seen by the human eye.
The next morning
we got up at 5, and had breakfast at a restaurant called Smokey
Joe's. There we definitely got our money's worth. I ordered
three pancakes, and they were bigger than the plate. I had to
punch a hole in the center of the pancakes in order to have
a place to put the syrup. Neither of the two growing young men
could finish their breakfast orders, either.
By 7 we were off
to see the Grand Canyon. I hadn't been there in 40 years, and
it was every bit as spectacular as I remembered. Because of
the off-season, we moved around the South Rim with ease. After
two hours of touring, we headed on home. Although there is nothing
to compare with the scale of the Grand Canyon, just west of
Taos we have the black Rio Grande Gorge, which to me is every
bit as exciting. I'm much more familiar with the Gorge, having
walked to the bottom many times to fish the Rio Grande.
I guess no matter
where I go, my heart will always belong to New Mexico. When
we arrived in Gallup on our states western border, I just
could feel in my bones that we were back in the LAND OF ENCHANTMENT.
Have a great day.