Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Like Laura said, New Mexico pretty much ruled in its totality. While we were driving from Roswell up to Albuquerque we decided to stop in Truth or Consequences and hit up one of the natural hot water mineral baths. The one we ended up visiting was across the street from a trailer park and operated by a quiet-talking woman who looked like a cross between Mia Farrow and David Bowie. Us being newbies at this specific type of hippie activity, we opted for a half-hour stay in a room at around 100 degrees. We had no idea what we were in for. We've both spent a fair amount of time in jacuzzis and saunas in our lives, but the level of heat and humidity in this place was borderline unbearable... but in a pretty good way. Think about how long it takes to get into an unheated pool, it's about the same pace as it took to get into this one. After about ten minutes it literally was making my stomach lurch; it also made Laura's heart start beating quicker and took both our breath away. When we finally got out we both tookice cold showers, only to start getting dressed and realise we were still sweating and took another freezing shower. It was an interesting and weirdly refreshing experience.

After staying in Albuquerque, we went on a hike to Macauley Springs, near the Jemez Pueblo. We loaded up our packs and hiked in through some gorgeous and huge rock formations and small mountains to do some back country camping. The path wasn't all that clearly marked but somehow we found our way to a series of clearings and warm springs. It was surrounded by Ponderosa Pines, more of the bucolic stones and best of all completely devoid of other people. It was far and away the most magical (yeah, yeah it's a hippie word) place we stayed. We inadvertently set up camp next to a boneyard of an elk skeleton and ate a great Laura-prepared dinner after I took half an age getting a fire going successfully. The next morning we actually went down to the springs. They weren't exactly hot, but they were warmer than the air. Laura being the braver of the two of us got in first and was the first to get acquainted with the hundreds of tiny minnows living in each pool. I loved these guys. When I eventually settled in and found a good place to stand still these fish would swim up and start to nibble. The best way I can describe it was like feeling a tingling sensation all over. I don't mean to make it sound like it was a swarm of piranhas or anything like that, it was more like a feature in some Japanese spa where some aquatic life exfoliates a customer. I missed those fish as soon as I got out of the water. Anyway, it was a totally awesome experience in an unexpected "nature, you creepy and pastoral simultaneously" way.

i call this one "SUNSHIIINE".

i know, i know, i know.

it has been a long while since the last update.

we ended up spending a few more days in new mexico than we factored in, because new mexico is so damn beautiful. we went on this amazing backpacking hike to a place called macauley hot springs, which i wont write about since aaron has plans for that.

we went to some ghost towns along the turquoise trail... though i have a hard time not putting ghost town in quotes. if you have a petting zoo and gift shop, can you be a ghost town? i know there's a formula out there somewhere for how to figure out if a town is a ghost town versus just dusty and filled with hippies, but i can't find it.

from there we went to the grand canyon (north rim, as i can't be trusted around the combination of screaming midwest children and vast canyon expanses that the south rim promises). the trail into the canyon was lovely when it wasn't, literally, streaming and steaming with piles of mule excrement.
also notable were the signs (with pictures of braying, sinister mule faces) warning you not to touch, talk to, look directly at or make any sudden moves around the mules. shit. i spent a good portion of my adult life without the knowledge that they were fundamentally unstable creatures. i guess there's a reason that they're sterile. that is mules, right? i'm too lazy to look it up.

our first night near zion we tried to find a campsite that wasn't a trailer/rv park and ended up stopping randomly at a motel in orderville, utah called the parkway motel. IF YOU ARE EVER IN UTAH PROMISE ME YOU WILL STAY THERE.
the proprietor was unsure whether aaron and i were boyfriend/girlfriend or brother/sister (he later asked aaron) but he still offered us a special on the "Fallin' in Love" room. the room, people, oh my god. it was decorated with gold trim and fake branches glued everywhere. the bed was supposed to mimic a treehouse and was thus elevated about three feet off the ground, putting us approximately 12 inches form the MIRROR ON THE CEILING. i need to post the pictures from this place because i'm seriously not doing it justice. trust me, it was grand.

incidentally, i later saw the owner pantomime whipping his 6 year old son, who was riding belly down in a wagon in the middle of a driveway with his arms outstretched. i think they are probably both geniuses.

i think the zion hikes were my favorites (again, i'll let aaron write in depth about those), even the narrow river hike was great in retrospect.
river hike...i think that i have great endurance; that i am a fairly athletic person... apparently that goes out the window when i am cold and wet. i ended a six hour hike laughing uncontrollably. i was, for real, standing in a river, shaking and cackling so hard that i almost urinated on myself. people were staring at me and i just laughed. my knees were locked up and i couldn't walk effectively. it was kinda great.

we're more than likely going to be home tomorrow. then we're moving into a house. then we're going to san francisco. then i'm taking pictures for McSweeney's (!!) (and a thank you to Miss Sumerton does NOT seem sufficient, but THANK YOU AMY).


Monday, July 6, 2009

They don't look like New Mexicans

I'll apologize at the start that we've become a little lax at updating this thing. We've been spending a lot more time out in the woods and in the desert these days than we have in swanky internet cafes and hotel rooms.

Right now we're at Hotel Blue in Albuquerque getting ready to head to the National Museum of Nuclear Science before we hike and camp near Jemez Springs. Laura and I both agree that New Mexico is thoroughly amazing. We've spent four days here so far. The first day we camped out in the middle of the desert off an unpaved road. There was no one around for miles and aside from the occasional prolonged yip yip of a pack of crazed coyotes it was actually really peaceful. We went to Carlsbad Caves and saw the bat flight in which hundreds of thousands of bats flow out of the caves biggest opening like a cloud of smoke. We also took a walking tour, which in comparison to the crawl-on-rocks-bruise-everything tour we did at Mammoth Cave was super tame, but we both enjoyed it. It's an incredibly beautiful thing to see.

We headed up to Roswell after that. Their annual UFOfest was going on and we arrived just in time to catch the "parade." It consisted mostly of a firetruck, a bunch of kids and adults in very homemade alien costumes and a car with the Grand Martians of the parade: Jefferson Starship. I'm not even kidding.

The Fourth of July was spent mostly at White Sands National Monument, which is a nature preserve in the middle of a stark white desert. It's also in the southern portion of the missile base where many of the atomic bomb tests took place. We didn't run into any irradiated nature that I know of, although we did see a lot of creepy albino lizards and who knows maybe we've become radioactive ourselves which is what I've been really hoping for.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A few days late.

Hey guys,

This blog was written a few days ago, but we've been away from internet contact for awhile.

New Orleans was a grand place. I loved every second of the time we spent there and like Aaron said in his blog: the hotel was amazing. The town itself features a wealth of squat, loaf shaped dogs (corgis, dachsunds, etc.) and even the dogs belonging to street people were glossy and well-kept.
We met a man in a bar that organizes a Husky rescue in New Orleans, and he has his two with him. Here’s a picture of Aaron dancing with Frankie Blue Eyes, at his owners insistence.

There are a lot of odd people in New Orleans, which I’m certain comes as a shock to no one. We saw overly tanned twin-guys that looked like Gary Busey, drunken swaying karaoke singing prostitutes, old men in flowered hats and a lady with fish scales tattooed up and down the entirety of her legs.
One day we walked down to the Garden District to find Jim Russell’s Record store, which turned out to be closed. We did get a chance to stop in a place called the Abstract Bookstore and Café, which appeared from the outside to be a bookstore or café, but inside was filled with chain-smoking drug addicts who smelled slightly of diaper. Turns out that the Abstract is a non-profit center that serves the homeless drug addicted males of New Orleans and we, essentially, walked into their living room. This (understandably) upset one of the gentlemen, who attempted to express his displeasure vocally but was having trouble doing so, as he apparently lacked a tongue or any ability to speak a language.
So that was nice.

I think we could have easily stayed a few more days, but I kept spending money and we had to get the hell out of there before I spent up my college fund.

We drove from there to Austin, where we stayed with Adam and Karyna. They took us to four amazing bars, one of which was in a haunted hotel and we also saw the Hangover at the Alamo Drafthouse. If you haven’t heard of this place, it is essentially a really nice movie theater with a full bar and restaurant and service at your seat. I kinda fell in love with it.
I got to sleep on a couch with Maxwell (one of Karyna’s giant cats) for the first time in over a year, and I spent a good hour rubbing his chin this morning.

It’s notable that upon our arrival in Texas were were almost run off the road by a total maniac with a super-disturbing facial disfigurement (it involves enormous amounts of purple and swelling and jiggling, and trust me, that’s all you want to know).

I’m loving the desert landscape and vegetation as we drive through West Texas, and I’m really excited that the moon is getting full. It ought to make for some gorgeous pictures out in Carlsbad and White Sands AND I can’t wait for Aaron’s transformation into a werewolf to be complete

Right now I’m watching a cloud that looks like a killer whale meander across the giant Texas sky and there is not a chainsaw or mutant hillbilly in sight. All is right with the world.


(In the intervening days we've been to Carlsbad Caverns, which was amazing. We camped under the moon on on huge deserted stretch of national land and saw the bat flight and walked the caverns. We took a two mile hike today that didn't seem like it was going to be strenuous, but we did not factor in the fact that it was 96 degrees, uphill both ways in the direct sun and we hadn't eaten since 9:30 in the morning.
We then went to Roswell and saw the 4th of July/UFO celebration parade, ate some nasty Mexican food and I barfed 4 times on the side of the highway... onto my own boots, no less. I feel better now and we are going to spend the night in Roswell at a posh joint called the International 9 Motel.)