The promise of the open road is unscheduled time, an ever-changing route, and solitude. Between Colin’s isolated campsites and Rocinante’s self-contained essentials of food, water, shelter, and s’mores, we can go days – even weeks – with no need for greater social interaction than what it takes to show our National Parks pass or fill up the gas tank.
But no little trailer is an island, and from time to time we love to reconnect. From sea to shining sea lies a small and mighty network of good people, who kindly reach out with open arms and an offer for us to come stay – with electric plug-in, showering facilities, and load of laundry put through as part of the hospitality. Expat British friends with whom I’ve reconnected on Facebook. A dear previous neighbor with mountain property. Family in California, Washington, Utah, Oregon.
We tuck Rocinante into her driveway, and when Patrice opens the door, it’s like we’ve rolled back the clock and I’m ambling into her home in our old neighborhood again. “Same stuff, different place!” she laughs. Katie can stretch her legs off leash in the backyard, beginning her favorite past time of ‘circumnappigating’ the yard (sun, shade, sun, shade) while we gossip.
That evening with a fresh haircut we fill our bellies at a local Chinese food restaurant and imagine how we might make fried crab cheese wontons over a campfire. Later we take a sunset stroll. She shows us the cable car up the mountain which she rode as a kid, and points out rounded corners and adobe, signs of thoughtful (and building zoned) architecture that echoe the iconic style of nearby Santa Fe.
So I’ve got my new camping-ready “wash (optional) and wear” hairdo. We’re planning the route out of Albuquerque, when I get a DM on Facebook; a friend from my schooldays in England has seen my blog posting, she’s a mere 200 miles away. Do we want to come by, park the Little Red Trailer and stay a night? Casita and a llama hike included.
A LLAMA HIKE? Well, yeah, of course! Colin shuffles the mental rolodex of planned day hikes and camping spots, rethinks the route, and we’re on our way to Misfit Farm II.
Before we know it, we’re meeting the dogs and horses, giving nose to nose hellos with Yin the llama and Brexit the llama-alpaca, being treated to crispy-fried green chilis at the local, and catching up on old stories of our brave, beleaguered teachers and the foibles of girlhood.
Sarah has gone beyond hospitality and gifted us treasures – wooly llama-hair hats made just for us, a dozen fresh eggs, treats for Katie. The casita is charming, with queen sized bunk beds and a bathroom straight from cowboy cute central casting. S. Michaels folks, take note! Sarah is smart and creative and loves her animals, Dean is insightful and amiable, and a stay with them is a taste of New Mexico ranch life. This is a visit to put on your list.
The next day following breakfast at a classic pancakes ‘n’ eggs home cookin’ joint opposite the Smokey Bear Museum (the famous little bear was found nearby), we head out to remote places again.