Today was not a sight seeing day. Today was a getting to day! I left San Antonio for Las Cruces and I covered a total of 597.7 miles and achieved a fuel economy of 17.7 mpg and my average speed was excellent!
Almost as soon as I had left San Antonio the landscape became one of limestone (I think) rocky hills and ultimately a high sierra. The road was reminiscent of the N1 which runs from Madrid in Spain to Malaga via Granada. This was definitely blue sky country. Having left the rush hour behind in San Antonio and with light traffic conditions I was able to make excellent progress but on the way I encountered some very interesting people.
Lunch was taken at The Plateau Restaurant west of Van Horn and apart from a rather mediocre burger it was probably one of the most surreal experiences that I have ever had! Upon entering the restaurant I was plunged into the twilight zone not only due to the ambience but heightened by my server. I took my seat at a plastic covered table next to a pair of longhorns that adorned a half wall that separated the dining area from the two pool tables. A customer at the adjacent table was avidly watching a cable news channel on the large flat screen television that had been mounted on the wall. I later realized that the news channel was the english speaking version of the Central Chinese News Agency and was earnestly reporting, in depth, the forthcoming French elections that Mr. Sarcosi was definitely going to win! My server started to approach me and I could see that this was a lady in her eighties beautifully dressed in a striped blouse and perfectly pressed long trousers. As she approached I observed that her flawless face make up had glitter highlighting her cheek bones and her hair was rigidly held in place by a copious quantity of hairspray and I was relieved that there were no naked flames in the immediate vicinity. She somehow reminded me of Lola, the dancer who once worked at the Copa Cabana. My well dressed server took my order and retired to the bar area. While this lady was taking my order I noticed that there was a young woman dressed in a more traditional server’s garb lurking within earshot and also writing the order down and at the time I thought that perhaps this young woman was a trainee. The trainee then approached the bar area where the well dressed octogenarian was now wrapping silverware in paper napkins and quietly but discretely the trainee substituted the order my server had taken for her own paperwork.
In due time the trainee delivered the burger (a euphemism for an overdone piece of ground beef) and I managed to eat some of it but quickly decided to eat the salad and leave the rest. I approached the bar to settle my account and was received by the younger sister (in her seventies) of my original server and she explained that the two sisters owned the restaurant and things had not being doing too well lately as their eldest sister (also an owner) was ill and now very weak. During this conversation my original server (the middle sister) was smiling and nodding to herself while continuously wrapping the silverware while “the trainee” was keeping a watchful eye on her! These two sisters in their younger days would have been fine looking women and I’m sure that they have stories to tell. Unfortunately, time waits for no man and I had to take my leave but I feel that I have just missed an opportunity to experience someones story.
Later in the afternoon I stopped at a road side rest area and I heard and then saw a man, his dog and his Harley Davidson arrive. The bike had Washington State plates on it and that is a long way to drive with a dog on the back of a Harley. I fell into conversation with this adventurer and his story was after divorcing his fifth wife he sold everything, bought the Harley and trailer and had a metal dog basket made and fitted to his Harley. He had just spent six months in Mexico and was now on his way to “a couple of gigs to perform his music”. He told me that life was now much simpler that he just had his dog, his music and his Harley and asked “What else would a man need?”
Finally, I stopped for my second tank of gasoline this afternoon and enjoyed a conversation with a Texas Ranger who regaled me with the tale of two young men on an all terrain vehicle that went by him on a mountain trail at such speed that they nearly blew his rear doors off. For the full effect you need to read that last bit in a deep southern drawl. I asked my new Ranger friend if he pursued these miscreants and he replied that he thought about it but decided to take his dog for a walk instead! At the word “walk” an enormous Bloodhound’s head looked over the rear cargo wall of the rangers truck and eyed his master with a quizzical look.
Today has been a weird, sad and enjoyable day. I feel that I could have been a verse in Fruitcakes by Jimmy Buffet and if you’re not familiar with the song go look it up!
Until my next post, toodleoo!