lake view

The view from Serenity’s window and the reason why this small site was the best site available. Unfortunately, it’s reserved as of tomorrow, so I can’t stay, even if I wanted to pay $31/night.

After I left Cochita Lake, instead of driving north, I went south, and spent a single night in Albuquerque. I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures, because it was my first internet-friend driveway, and I mostly braved the uncertainty to see her baby. Her adorable, adorable baby. He’s two months old, just thinking about smiling and only occasionally finding his thumb to chew on. His hands were still clenched into fists a lot of the time. So cute!

When I emailed her about coming to stay in her driveway, I wrote a whole paragraph about food and then edited it down to something like, “May I cook you dinner?” She said yes, so we ate spicy chicken breast, corn-on-the-cob, and salad of mixed greens, avocado, pea pods, goat cheese, beets, and toasted hazelnuts, with a balsamic vinaigrette made from my “trying to save the frozen herbs” chimichurri sauce.

Two thoughts on that: one, I’m never going to want to cook corn-on-the-cob any other way than sous vide. It’s delicious, even when the corn is questionable. Two, chopping up herbs and covering them with olive oil is an excellent way to keep fresh herbs useful long past the time when you would have thrown the leftovers away. I used my (modified) chimichurri sauce for basically everything for ten days — salad dressing, flavoring quinoa, topping on fish & steak, marinade… The herbs wouldn’t have lasted that long, even if they hadn’t been accidentally frozen, but they still tasted like fresh herbs down to the very last bit used on yesterday’s salmon. And it was so efficient to just whisk a teaspoon of them into some olive oil and vinegar, or add a tablespoon to some meat. I would obviously not call myself a lazy cook — I’m willing to do some work in the kitchen. But the simplicity of an multi-herbed vinaigrette in a minute definitely appeals.

When I left Albuquerque, I headed north. I was torn about whether or not I wanted to make my drive scenic and whether I wanted to spend more time in New Mexico. I loved New Mexico, it was beautiful, the sky is stunning… but I also really just want to find a place to sit and write for a while. Moving all the time takes a lot of energy and my head is in Grace, not in the real world right now. Which is nice, except that I keep being pulled back to the real world by things like needing to find a place to spend the night, needing to find electricity to run my computer, needing to do laundry, needing to buy dog food.

Not to mention how much real reality is just horrifying. I’m trying to avoid the news, because I cannot do anything about all the pain that is out there in the universe right now, but I did donate $50 to Worldbuilders for Puerto Rico yesterday when I was making sure that the dogs were getting clean water and feeling so sad for the parents in Puerto Rico struggling to do the same thing for their kids. I trust Patrick Rothfuss (the founder of Worldbuilders) to have put thought into the appropriate charity and so it felt like a right thing to do, even though it also feels like nothing. In the grand scheme of things, does my $50 do any more than make me feel better? But if everyone who could donate $50 did, things might be a lot better, so it felt worth doing.

At any rate, I did not take the most scenic route north, but stuck to a fairly direct route, which was still pretty scenic. I was surprised to get to this park and find it reasonably crowded, though. And reasonably expensive, too, at $31/night. Why are people camping in Colorado in October? But I found a spot, one small enough that I actually had a terrible time backing in. I was laughing at myself after my third or fourth try when fortunately my nice neighbors came over and helped me out. In my defense, B was whimpering because he wanted to go out and I was backing straight into the sun so the rear view camera was useless, and also the site is pretty small… but mostly it was just klutzy. Somehow once I screw it up once, though (in this case, by getting too close to a tree and scraping the branches), it gets harder and harder to get it right. Hmm, that feels like a metaphor for Grace, but I’m not going to let it be.

I wasn’t sure I’d stay longer than one night — it’s the kind of campground where I am literally listening to my neighbors’ conversations at the moment and this blog post has taken me about two hours to write, rather than the kind where I settle in and get lots of work done. But I really didn’t feel like driving this morning, so I’ll be here for another night. And then tomorrow… I don’t know. More time in Colorado? Moving on to Kansas? I am seriously tempted to go for a fast drive across the country and get back to PA, so I can sit still and write for a while. On the other hand, the month that I spent in PA this summer where I was determined to finish Grace actually ended with me starting over yet again, so I don’t think PA gets credit for being a good writing destination.

But it’s noon already and I have yet to even make the bed, so I think I’ll at least stop writing this and see if I can accomplish anything today. At the very least, I need to take my electricity opportunity to try to bake some more granola.