I’d meant to continue my post about my road trip last weekend (patterns in the middle of nowhere) but this week’s been too hectic. I figure Saturday is a better day for casual posting anyway. As I’d mentioned last Friday, I went to Estancia NM to visit my pal Sally who is also a pattern maker.
[post edit 12.07.06, photo of border patrol agent deleted upon request. A pity really, he was quite charming and affable but it seems some local bad guys have a $200,000 bounty on border patrol agents.]
Anyway, my trip starts from Las Cruces where I live, moving north on I-25. I’ve come with only the essentials: an extra pair of socks, a hairbrush, toothbrush, bottle of red wine, my digital camera, some patterns, a sample coat, my portfolio notebooks and of course, my Vionnet book. My first stop just north of Hatch NM (the chile capital of the world) is at the US Border Patrol checkpoint. I was hoping to get a picture of the dogs they use at the station but had to settle for this guy [deleted 12.07.06 for safety reasons]. If you live near the Mexican border, station stops are common. Having traveled quite extensively in the southwest, I’d have to say that the fruit police in Arizona are rather humorless and far less accommodating than the border patrol.
Above you can see proof of your tax dollars at work.
Another hundred miles up the road I stopped at a rest stop (an award winning station no less) that had been an original fort about 400 years ago (literally); the region having been settled 150 years even before that. People on the east coast are always very surprised to know the southwest was colonized well before the east coast ever was. ‘Course, many locals suspect this history is ignored since the first colonists on the north American continent had surnames ending in vowels. Regardless, I thought this picture would be funny for people back east. Yes, the west is wild so you’ll need to watch out for rattlesnakes but that doesn’t mean we’re savages. The ADA compliant bathrooms are potty parity, no?
Continuing north on I-25, I got off at San Antonio NM (Hwy 380) because I’d been dying to take a picture of this sleazy roadside motel I know about but it was gone! Instead I took a picture of this sign that basically says that yes, San Antonio is one of the armpits of New Mexico; and (other than the Owl Cafe) its only saving grace being that Conrad Hilton was born here (nobody believes me when I tell them he was born in nowhere NM). Although you may know him better as great-grandpa of Paris Hilton, his first claim to fame was for building the Hilton hotel chain. Anyway, back to the ratty motel that’s not there anymore, it was operated by the Hilton’s and demonstrates Hilton’s very humble beginnings. I wonder if Paris had something to do with the thing being razed; it probably conflicted with her image. Conrad Hilton was another cool guy; he was devout and believed that natural law obliges all mankind to help relieve the suffering of the poor, sick and hungry. When he died, he left all of his money to charity. Unfortunately his heirs -lacking the same enlightenment- weren’t happy about having been disinherited, so they sued. And won (about 335 million)! DH mentions he doesn’t know how the descendents could have won but guesses that the jury -judging from recent history- didn’t want this particular family to become wards of the state.
From San Antonio, I continued north on I-25, bypassing Socorro where I got a ticket on July 3, 2003 -on my way to a String Cheese concert in Santa Fe- for doing 66 mph in a 65, so you can see why I try not to spend any money in city limits. They have a good university there tho, New Mexico Tech -Institute of Mining and Technology. Just north of Socorro is Bernardo which was my exit to Mountainair which is where I was going to meet Sally at Gustin’s Hardware Store. We picked the hardware store because -well- I like hardware stores and as many times as I’ve been through Mountainair, I’d never stopped there. Sally said it was a trip because there were a “lot of stuffed animals” all over the store. I thought that it was funny that a hardware store would carry stuffed animals -thinking of plush toys- but then country stores carry a lot of strange items, not realizing she meant these kind of stuffed animals.
(check that jpg’s properties/file name for an idea of what I think about that). Sally was running a little late but I amused myself taking pictures of more dead things. This was particularly heart breaking; why would someone kill a bobcat?
If you’re from the city, you might not know what these are, these are brands. I think it’s pretty cool that they have the brands of all the locals posted. That way if somebody finds your cow, they can go to Gustin’s to look you up by graphic.
Oh, and I did want to tell you about these animals.
This is an oryx. I know this one is dead but you’d be surprised to know this area is full of live ones! Somebody imported these guys from Africa and set them loose at White Sands. Many of the oryx gravitated to White Sands Missile Range where they’re protected (by default, WSMR is a top secret facility so nobody’s allowed in but rarely). While I know about the oryx now, when I first moved out to Fort Stanton and had to drive Hwy 380 -prime oryx territory-, I didn’t know about them. I had no idea they were there. Once I was driving on 380 about 4:30 in the morning to catch a plane in Albuquerque and one of these jumped over the hood of my car and I was sure I was losing my mind. I didn’t tell anybody about it either, no way. What was I going to say? That my car was nearly totaled on the way to the airport by a huge -aggressive- African antelope?
But I digress. Sally was running late (this post is about Sally and me) so I walked across the street and found a storefront internet cafe. I’ll be darned. Actually, it’s not a cafe but it’s a community internet center. Earl and Darlene got a grant to bring computing to Mountainair. Here is a picture of Terresa (fashion-incubator is loaded on the screen) who gave me a tour of the place. About this time, Sally showed up. Not that I knew it was her but she was looking up and down the street in front of Gustin’s so I flagged her down and she came over to the internet cafe. Here is a picture that Terresa took of us.
I’m the one who’s on the left. Sally is the pretty one. I swear I was smiling but it took so long to take the picture I guess it faded. I hate having my picture taken anyway. As you can see, both Sally and I are quite the fashion plates. As it turns out, we both buy our clothes at thrift stores. Designers, you’ve got to start making attractive, well-fitting clothes with value or the pattern makers of the world will continue to buy used clothes. You may be able to sell consumers with marketing but we are picky.
After that we went to have lunch at Ancient Cities- a place that has been one restaurant or another for years so I’ve eaten there under several different ownerships. This particular owner was set up as the sort of New Mexican food place that serves saltine crackers with Mexican food. Weird huh? They do that in Albuquerque a lot too. I always thought the practice was bizarre. Anyway, after lunch we headed over to Sally’s place outside of Estancia. I was really impressed that Sally was driving a WRX, most chicks don’t know much about cars so I was in for a real surprise because it turns out that Sally is serious about driving fast cars. She’s driven lots of race cars; it’s kind of a hobby. Sally says the best thing anybody could ever do for their driving would be to take one of those fancy driving courses (costing $1,500-$2,00) to learn how to manage a vehicle under any kind of driving conditions.
I have to go be a mother and housewife for awhile. I’ll finish tomorrow.