Going home means something different to each individual, and for me, this journey meant a road trip to Farmington, New Mexico. Painted skies, ancient history, and mom’s home cooking were what a-waited following a trek through two states with the top down and two dogs in the back seat.
It had been about five years since I’d fled the desert for the greener pastures of California, so going home was both an homage to the past, and a symbol of my progress since leaving the land of “enchantment.” But boy was I ready to pay homage to some green chili burritos! After passing a few signs in the desert that read “turn AC off to avoid overheating” in the 100 degree desert, I arrived in Phoenix.
It was getting late as I pulled up to an old high school friend’s house near the center of the city, and swept her away to the local Applebee’s for a Girls’ Night Out. Memorial Weekend was nearing, and apparently the party crowds were out and about. I can honestly say karaoke night was my least favorite part of the trip. Cheers to being hard of hearing, and to Applebee’s.
Walmart, a Cultural Melting Pot:
An early morning departure meant another day of driving through sand, sun and cacti. I always used to imagine being a pioneer, and there would be no warnings about saving the AC, or about rest areas and food along the path. There would only be desert, more and more desert. Downing about three Ices on the road made for a safe alternative to overheating by way of air conditioning. I pulled up onto an overwhelmingly nostalgic street, which lead into my memories of canyon bon fires and sneaking out.
The Four Corners is a land where cowboys and Indians really do exist, and where they all go shopping at Wal Mart. In fact, the population of my home town almost doubles on the weekends due to the influx of the surrounding cities (Aztec and Bloomfield) in addition to the people of the Navajo Indian Reservation, thanks to the retail giant.
Memorial Weekend also means Riverfest, which is an annual festival in Farmington, where one can experience the enjoyment of weenie dog races and roasted corn. Some years, the river is full and fast, and others, there is hardly a river at all. This year seemed to be abundant, currents flowed and people laughed, I was home again, and it was a beautiful day.
Even More Nightlife?
Night fell, and as I mentioned Wal Mart previously, I need not mention the nightlife in Farmington.
The best part of my trip (to make up for the karaoke) was a hike in the Bisti Badlands. Full of colorful eroded sand stone, with unique carvings almost too elaborate to be natural, 4,000 acres of amusement sprawl before the human eye. Petrified wood can be found in pieces atop the unstable clay and sand ground, and underneath the soil lays entire trees and even caves! Each time I go out to the Bisti in hopes of finding an arrow head or a dinosaur bone, but I always come back empty handed. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story for you.
Just as I said when I was young, New Mexico is a beautiful place but you get sick of looking at the land after 18 years. Back to the City of Angels full of Runyon Hikes and smorgasbords of opportunity and choices!