Saturday, April 3, 2010

Kansas Has Company

*This originally wasn't intended as a two-part post; it started as a one-time entry, from what started as a very unhappy life event in 2006; but thanks to one very disgruntled reader, it became a two-part entry, and amused at least a sure to read the comments at the end, and Part II will make perfect sense*

The reason for the trip was anything but enjoyable. But the reason made the trip necessary: I had to drive from Denver, Colorado, to Phoenix, Arizona. Cost negated the flying option, leaving me only the choice of route.

SW across Colorado and into Utah, then straight south to Phoenix, or straight south from Denver to I-40, and then straight west into Arizona, traversing a fair portion of New Mexico. Those were the choices.

For expediency, the choice was dictated by interstate highway: I-25 to I-40 to I-17, destination Arizona, by way of New Mexico.

Having now made the drive and returned via the same route, I am armed with an opinion based on personal experience. And personal experience renders an opinion somewhat more viable from one what's been there. And that experienced opinion is thus: Kansas has competition for *yawn*.

Or put another way: driving across New Mexico is like wiping ones' bum with a cactus*. At least, the route I took, anyway.

Less than an hour into New Mexico, I was already bored with the flat, endless vista of not a helluva lot, punctuated by little else, interspersed with several mega herds of antelope. After passing perhaps the fifth such mega herd, I dared to mindlessly venture a set-up line to my equally-smart ass younger brother:

Me (in a mind-numbed state): I wonder what the antelope's main predator is here?
Lil' Bro: Kenworths...


A hundred miles more -- and nothing else added to the scenery -- it was his turn to lazily stumble into a set-up line:

Lil' Bro: What do you think the New Mexico state slogan is?
Me: Roadrunner...the coyote's after you..


Of course, there were a few breaks in the scenery vacuum that defined New Mexico south toward I-40 at Albuquerque. One such was Santa Fe, New Mexico. Which my brother slept through. Waking up 30 minutes later, this brief conversation:

Lil' Bro: Where are we?
Me: About 40 miles south of Santa Fe.
Lil' Bro: Missed it, eh?
Me: Yep.
Lil' Bro: Miss much?
Me: Dunno...I slept through it, too.
Lil' Bro (tilting his head back to resume his nap): Good. Then we both have something to look forward to on the return trip.

We approached Albuquerque with some trepidation, knowing that not only did we need I-40 west there, but from our distant (sorta) childhoods, we recalled the sh...crap that Bugs Bunny used to get into, everytime he missed that infamous "left turn at Albuquerque".

On the trip down, a turn left simply wasn't in the geographical cards, short of circling the town and approaching it from the south. Ideologically, it was even less in the cards, but I digress. Anyway, it worked out okay: no stuttering pigs or maniacal ducks were encountered as a result of turning right at Albuquerque.

Instead, once clear of it, we re-encountered that signature geography that so well defined this part of New Mexico: nuthin'. Save for some curious rock formations that straddled the interstate for a period of some miles: my rocket-scientist brother suspected that they were lava bed formations; my less-geologically-educated self suspected that they were large deposits of petrified dinosaur dung. While Lil' Bro was probably right, we spent a few miles considering the warped notion of some NMDOT engineer -- probably off at a donut shop giggling to him/herself -- over routing I-40 direct through a massive petrified Jurassic outhouse.

And, of course, there were the various and sundry Indian reservations we motored through. Each marked by a sign noting the entry to a particular tribal reservation, a sign noting the exit from a particular tribal reservation, and somewhere there betwixt -- in the middle of absolutely nuthin but petrified lava or dino dung, depending on ones' education level -- were ornate, even lavish, tribal casinos.

We figured that the only craps we needed to chance were the fauxpetrified ones we passed at 80 mph.

As we continued west, a discussion briefly landed on an issue that cuts across national politics and science fiction:

Me: do we pass anywhere near Roswell?
Lil' Bro: *scanning map*...nope. It's behind and well south of us.
Me: So much for alien encounters.
Lil' Bro: There's still Arizona.
Me: Not the same...these here have big heads and eyes, and those ahead have fake IDs.

Seven hours after crossing the Rue-it-con, we exited New Mexico for the distinctly similiar geography of NE Arizona. Relieved as we were, we both knew that, in roughly three or so days, we'd have to do it again. And neither of us fancied another seven hours of wiping our bums with cactus*. So we pondered the alternate route north to Utah, and east to Colorado.

But after three days in Mesa, AZ (a SE 'burb of Phoenix) -- where every restaurant we stopped in, WE were the youngest people present; and on every other block in the town sat a mortuary, as if we needed constant reminders as to why we were making this trip -- we were ready to face about anything other than another meal with false teeth in the mashed potatoes.

Even New Mexico.

And that was how it wound up: weather to the north and a rockslide along western I-70 in Colorado made it necessary to revisit that which we'd just yawned through. Dadgummed Roswellians: they were going to make sure we took that left turn at Albuquerque.

Which we did, without incident or interference from animated animals, aliens of any kind or local/state gendarme, strangely enough (since we passed through at 80 mph enroute, and returned through averaging 85+).

And even with the left turn at Albuquerque, nothing had changed. New Mexico remained exactly as it had probably been for eons: the equivalent of wiping ones' butt with a cactus*.

At least in Kansas, they don't have cactus.

At any rate, that's my fauxtravelogue for New Mexico. Great people, I'm sure. Wonderful place to avoid, I know (at least the route we took).

In a brief aside, I did leave out one aspect of the Mesa experience: the encounter we had with the hooker at the Travelodge we stayed at in Mesa. But that's for another time.


* of course, I was kidding about the wiping the bum with a cactus. But as readers will note, one reader took mighty offense at my poking fun at the state to our south...

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Blogger header5 said...

You had me at hooker...Ummm, I mean, New Mexico.

15 October, 2006 22:02  
Blogger Miss Cellania said...

Your description of New Mexico and Arizona makes me want to vacation in New York. The only thing this post is missing is the encounter with the hooker... how can you do that to us?

15 October, 2006 22:33  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

MsC: next installment ;)

16 October, 2006 04:10  
Blogger Monica said...

Hmmm, that hooker better not be the blonde you "mentioned" in an email to me.

Having driven through New Mexico many times when we were living in California, all I can say is "karma".

16 October, 2006 06:36  
Anonymous Joe the Troll said...

First off, it's spelled AlbUquerque.

Second, how the fuck did you drive so far with your eyes closed? I mean you must have. Flat? I guesss you slept past the Sangre de Cristo and Sandia mountain ranges, both part of the Southern Rockies. You might have heard of those. You must have taken a huge nap while driving through the Pecos National Forest. Or perhaps your seeing eye dog forgot to yap and let you know something was there.

I'm not from NM, but I have lived here for ten years, and I can honestly say that although I have enjoyed this blog so far, this post is entirely full of shit. New Mexico is one of the most beaautiful places on Earth. ODDLY ENOUGH, they failed to put the INTERSTATE through some of the more scenic places, like MOUNTAIN RANGES and NATIONAL FORESTS. But then again, many people are capable of finding these places on a map.

It seems, however, that your idea of scenery is restricted to large cities. If that is all you are looking for, NM probably isn't your thing. If you want to see what NM scenery is like, try looking at this

or this

The latter has pics taken when my friend O'Tim visited NM last month.

Really, if you aren't willing to learn anything about a place, why write about it? Especially if you're only going to put it down? Do people still believe that being snotty and sarcastic makes them seem intellectual and discerning? If you want that effect, try knowing what you're talking about. At least do enough research to spell the damn name correctly.

16 October, 2006 06:42  
Anonymous Joe the Troll said...

Whoops! Here's the link to O'Tim's pics.

16 October, 2006 06:50  
Blogger header5 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

16 October, 2006 12:31  
Blogger header5 said...

I am pretty sure that Skunk is entitled to his opinion of what he thought of New Mexico. This is his blog and he can say whatever he likes about whatever he wants. I wouldn't be offended by someone not liking where I live or have lived. He is entitled to his opinion.

Some people don't like the mountains, the beach, the flat lands, rolling grass. Some people do. And that's ok.

16 October, 2006 12:33  
Anonymous Joe the Troll said...

I never said that he didn't have a right to an opinion. However, when that opinion is the result of insufficient data, or lack of research, then you can expect to be called on it. It happens to everyone else. Why should anyone be exempt?

It's also true that some people just like to put down anyplace they don't live. Is that the case here?

If I don't like mountains, does that mean that a mountain range is "not scenic"?

BTW, I covered your second point in my 4th paragraph, above.

16 October, 2006 14:33  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

If your gonna write a blog, once in a spell someone will take exception to what you write. Eh.

Troll, if I'd been doing a travelogue, my research and data would have reflected that. I wasn't. I put a humorous twist (to me) on a trip I didn't enjoy making. Period. Frankly, for mountain views, it's hard to beat those I see daily. But I digress.

Speaking only for me, I could care less if someone makes fun of Colorado, or my home state, Iowa (I hear jokes about both, and don't go into blog meltdown). If poking a little harmless fun at New Mexico puts a burr up your ass, that is your choice and your problem, not mine.

Feel free to visit and or comment if you wish; feel free not to, if it so disturbs you. You're as free to be full of shit as you seem to think I am. No doubt, some blog reader out there has found you thus on something; I know I did with your emotive comments.

You do get one point: I did misspell Albuquerque ;)

16 October, 2006 18:56  
Blogger Monica said...

Ok, here's my two cents' worth...Troll, CHILL. You claim you've read this blog before...IF SO, then you know of the humorous twist Skunk puts on most of his posts.

What IS IT with people who have to try to make one feel worse when going through a really rough time such as losing a family member?


17 October, 2006 06:26  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Troll, dis Colorado all you want. Won't bother me a wit. I stand by my earlier comments, period. End of the story.

17 October, 2006 20:52  
Blogger The Dental Maven said...

Wow, I'm originally from New Jersey and people LOVE to talk trash about that state. I can't remember ever getting that worked up when someone launched into the recycled and tired "You from Joisey? What exit?" I'm sure there's a 12 step program out there for the overly-defensive-about-their-State crew.

03 April, 2010 05:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ur writing sukd then, you suk now. y do anybdy read ur crap? new mexico rocks. ur an asshat.

03 April, 2010 07:03  
Blogger She Writes said...

we exited New Mexico for the distinctly similiar geography of NE Arizona.

Yeah, been there, done that!

03 April, 2010 07:51  
Blogger Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, my...Joe's back? I love Santa Fe and Albuqueque...and Phoenix...but I found this post to be written with your usual tongue-in-cheek hilarity...When I first moved from the east coast to beautiful Arizona (now back in the east)...the lack of vegetation was quite frankly shocking to me...but in time, it "grew" on me...(LOL) I came to love the southwest...and would willingly retire to Scottsdale...but I refuse to set up housekeeping next to a mausoleum...LOL...Very, very funny post...You're the best! Hugs, Janine

03 April, 2010 07:55  
Blogger Eva Gallant said...

Poor Skunk...getting someone else's feathers up! I agree that there are parts of the country as a whole that are boring and parts are beautiful. But it's your blog, and you certainly can write any old thing you want! It's is possible to choose no to read something that one finds offensive. There are several blogs I don't read for that reason. But I don't get all up the writer's backsides about it!

03 April, 2010 19:53  
Blogger Andy said...

Heh! Good, civil conversation there, Skunks...

Oh man...when I lived in SW Colorado (Durango), all our folks were back here in Louisiana.

I made that drive across NM, and West Texas about 20 times. I always tried to plan "take off" time to coincide with night driving through NM.

But, it really is a pretty place in spots. The last time I drove I-40 from border to border in NM, the wind, rain, and other drivers made it a hellish experience. Thank God, I was dropping off a truck in California, and flying home!

04 April, 2010 07:52  
Blogger Sandee said...

Joe the Troll sounds like a democrat Skunkfeathers. Exactly like a democrat. Shame on him for not seeing the humor in this post. Hell, you haven't done one serious post that I've ever read over here.

I want to know more about this hooker. What it a threesome? Bwahahahahaha.

Have a terrific day. :)

04 April, 2010 16:46  

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