Mary Beth Writes

We are back from our big road trip to New Mexico. I took a lot of photos with my phone and put some on Instagram.  Len took even more photos with his Nikon. I want to post some of them, but I need to learn how to do that more easily. Currently it is as simple as washing a cat.

Road trips are awesome. And awful. It took us three days to drive 1500 miles to New Mexico, three days to drive home. While we were there we drove an extra 600 miles, here and there.

Here is why we love road trips. Because one doesn’t know what’s around the next corner or over the next hill. Gas stations are parachute drops into a culture that exists no place else. Two-minute conversations with people one will never see again; people who are kind and laughing or bitter and rude. Young males hauling 36-packs of Buds to their trucks. Old people with sensible shoes pulling themselves slowly out of sensible cars, groaning and stretching. Or the people climbing into gigantic motor homes; those homes catch wind and waver crazily in front of us as they sail wide mesas and skinny mountain passes. Professional truck drivers, in and out. 

We drove into New Mexico on US 40 from Oklahoma City. We’d been driving since 8AM and it was early evening. We'd already waited out a terrific rainstorm at a rest area. Now we were driving fast and intently, hoping to get to Santa Fe by dark. Turned north on 285 and came up over a low rise – and before us was all of creation, rimmed by purple mountains. Swaths of evening light falling across the land. What was in front of us was as quiet and wild as earth can be. We both uttered a “Wow.”

And that is why we drive. Because, yes, one pays a lot of highway - and in return gets back surprises and beauty and wows. It humbles you. It tells you, by the weary seat of your pants and low ache in your back, just how enormously big this country is. It tests your relationship to the other person or people in the car. A road trip is a way to be oneself in a different venue. Sometimes the new place you explore is your own self.

Driving into Santa Fe at dusk

The blue mesas. In the 1980's Len and I often ate at a restaurant called The Blue Mesa (on Halsted) and it wasn't until this trip that I understood why they named it that. 

The sun setting in the west lights the mountains for a few moments. 





Lovely pictures! Nice experience for you two. Thanks for sharing.


So glad you posted this. We leave for a family road trip (to CO) on June 1 and will be gone for the month. Stopping at Airbnb's along the way, spending a week in Boulder with friends, and 2 weeks farther west in a little town called Rico (with Mark's parents, who go there every year). We'll be packing our little subaru hatchback with 2 adults (front seats), 2 kids (back seat), and 2 pups (hatchback). Plus, we're adding a little trailer hitch cargo box & cargo up top. Should be interesting and EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE, I'm sure. Ha ha. We last went two years ago and kids got along great w/o any technology. Now we have a teenager who has his own phone. We'll see how that shifts the dynamic along the way! Most looking forward to views, open space, freedom, seeing my pups run in wide open fields, and not feeling like I have to log on to something every day.
Mary Beth's picture

It will be an awesome trip, I am sure. We brought our bike helmets with because I'd heard that 90% of tornado injuries happen when something falls on people's heads - so put bike helmets on in terrible weather! So, why not take on a trip? Then, if you find a place to rent bikes, you are ready! Some of our adventures with our kids didn't pan out swell, but I regret none of them. Have a wonderful time!

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Quarantine Diary #682 Did YOU ever save something from social media?


 I have a lot of pictures; most are photographs Len or I took, but I also have an incredibly random collection of internet stuff saved over many years.

I’m feeling random today, so I’m sharing a few of them. There will be no rhyme or reason to this. Some days one just deals with what comes along.

This first photo - above - is dedicated to the Lab Workers everywhere. 

Quarantine Diary #681 "If this were easy ... "


Thanks to you who responded to yesterday's post with affirming comments. It feels awkward and sad to cancel activities we want to do with people we like and love. As our friend David so helpfully reminded, “Just because we’re paranoid doesn’t mean it isn’t out to get us.”

Are you also are confused about quarantining? This HuffPost article is the clearest article I’ve read yet about how long to isolate if one has Covid, or one is positive, or if one has been exposed.   

Quarantine Diary #680 Too Close Covid


Judy suggests a podcast that her daughter-in-law, an infectious disease physician, listens to and recommends. It’s The Osterholm Update: COVID 19. Osterholm is an epidemiologist and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He’s on President Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board.

The podcast is a little wordy here and there but one can fast-forward. Here is what I learned that makes a difference to me.

Quarantine Diary #674 - MLK Day


It’s Martin Luther King Day.  I read this last week (in Soul Matters for those of you who are UU). 

There is no such state of being that can be called - “I’m not a racist.”

There is only racist and anti-racist.

Quarantine Diary #668 Making an Effort

We hiked on Sunday.


How was your weekend?

Have you noticed that with this omicron iteration of covid isolation – if one is not an employee - it’s tricky to tell what is a weekend and what is not? I think about what my kids might be doing and maybe we call them and that is the main way weekends are different from weeks. By what other people are doing.

Quarantine Diary #664 Whine, whine, whine.


Lincoln gave a speech in January of 1838 to Americans alarmed by mob actions.

He begins: “In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American People …

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