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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Three Things 9/11/2021

The photo is from a trip to Arizona that Len and I took several years ago. His employer had said he had to take vacation time.  We sat here in our office not knowing where to go or what to do; it came up that fast. We looked up cheap flights from Milwaukee,; Phoenix popped up for $150 round trip. That was how we decided.

Of course, we rented a car and stayed in motels and ate in restaurants so no, it wasn’t a $300 vacation.

Three Things 9/3/2021

1. This morning I was texting with Franc about our heritages. He was born and raised in the Midwest although his ancestors are from Puerto Rico. Being the child of children of a Caribbean Island means he probably has Taino DNA as well as African and European. Heck, he probably has Phoenician and Viking and Pacific Islander because island people and sailors have always thought each other cute.

Three Things 9/2/2021

Regarding Texas: I’m so angry today.

From The Buried: An Archeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter Hessler

Hessler is making a case that a significant reason for the failure of Egyptian governments is because citizens are not looking for competent political leaders. They vote for men who lambast the “corruption and immorality” of present leaders. They vote for those who promise a “return to our traditional Islamist values.”

Three Things 8/25/2021


Where did these damn fruit flies come from? I borrowed a 400-page book from the library yesterday and just finished it an hour ago. ONE fruit fly bumped me every twenty minutes through the whole damn tome. I hit at it every time it zipped past but I never zapped it.

I’ll get him (or her?). I put an inch of apple cider vinegar into a glass, covered it with plastic wrap, punched some tiny holes, set it next to our fruit.

Bugs bug me.


Is it really August already?

I woke up this morning feeling wistful. It’s the third week of August. Where did this summer go?

I have not ridden my bike even once (there are giant construction trucks all over my favorite route). We’ve hardly entertained friends at our Bistro (the apron of the garage that I painted last year). We’ve not traveled other than to see our kids. My six tomato plants are producing an unenergetic number of tomatoes. Didn’t see the Perseids. Didn’t serve umbrella drinks by our pool. Oh wait, we don’t have a pool.

Len is Raising $ for the MAAC Fund Again

About this photo: these are the four guys who first started riding together, years ago. Jack heard about the MACC fund, so they all did it together. Last year, out riding one fine day for the fun and exercise of it, Tom, the tall guy, suffered a terrible accident and passed away. Sometimes when they ride together now, Tom's humorous and kind spirit accompanies them. 


This is the MACC Fund

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