I’ve been spending a lot of time looking through old photos, now that I’ve got the time to do it, and I’ve been scanning them into my computer.
I found these, the ones I’m posting today, and they are from our 2005 trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Danusia and I were together for barely a year, and it was my first time out west. We were going to my son Javier’s High School graduation, so it was in June. The pictures are from my old Minolta auto-focus and Danusia’s Nikon SLR.
Danusia on the Santa Fe Southern Railway. We went to Lamy NM.
This was my first actual real vacation; I could count on one hand the times I’d left New York before. The first time was when I was 12 and I had won some kind of writing contest in Junior High, and the prize was two weeks on a farm in upstate New York. That in itself is another story, so I’ll save it.
The second time was when I was 20 and I spent a summer in Provincetown, Mass, but I worked most of the summer, first as a wharf rat and then as a sandwich maker at a local deli, so it really doesn’t count as a vacation. I did the same thing the following summer with my then girlfriend Anna, I had not known Provincetown was basically a gay community the first summer and I had to bring my own girl if I wanted one. I’m going to count that as one, since I went to the same place.
Then came Columbia, S.C., where Ft. Jackson is, I spent 3 days there. From there I went to Ft. Benning, GA for three months followed by a very short 2-day stay in Chicago to see my old high school buddy Richie. I ended up in Ft. Bragg, N.C. for 18 months, with a short trip to Germany in 1980 as a member of the 82nd Airborne. To me it all counts as one since I was in the army and did not have much choice in the matter. I also went to Camp Lejeune and Ft. A.P. Hill in Pennsylvania during my service time.
Finally, I went to Martha’s Vineyard twice, once in 1982 with my first wife Kathy to meet her mom and again in 1991 when we took Javier up to meet her. I guess that’s more than one hand’s worth of trips, but not much compared to most Americans. Between 1991 and 2005 I went nowhere.
I was excited to fly again; my last flight was in 1991 when Kathy had gotten me a seat on a People Express Cessna that took me from Martha’s Vineyard to LaGuardia. Her brother Tim worked at the airline and had gotten me a seat.
I love planes and I love flying, though it scares me, but I guess that’s part of the thrill.
So the lovely Danusia and I boarded an American Airlines jet bound for Sky Harbor International airport in Phoenix, AZ. We rented a car in Phoenix and drove the 500 miles to Santa Fe, sightseeing along the way. We stopped in the Painted Desert and spent a night in Sedona. We had breakfast on the top of a Mesa in Sedona where there was a small airstrip. We watched some guy do touch-and-goes while we ate.
We drove all day and made it to Santa Fe after dark. On I-40 in Arizona I was amazed to see flat desert as far as the eye could see. I could see some mountains in the distance and they were in Mexico.
As we neared Santa Fe, just north of Albuquerque, my son called.
“Dad, do you think you can come in August instead?”
“Son, I’m on the road somewhere between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, I don’t think I’m turning back. What’s the problem?”
“Well, you see, I didn’t pass a test, so I wont be graduating Friday.”
While I was disappointed not to be seeing my son graduate High School, I would at least see him and get to spend some time with him. I missed him since he and his mother had moved out west the year before.
We had a great time, the three of us.
We’ll be climbing down the mountain.
One day we went to Bandelier National Monument and climbed up and down a steep trail on the side of a mountain with Javier, who had a tough time of it because of his asthma.
Danusia and I went to Abiquiu, NM to see Georgia O’Keefe’s house. We couldn’t find it, and we saw a house that had a little hand lettered sign that said “Maps to Georgia O’Keefe’s house- $1.” We knocked at the door and a 70-ish Hispanic gentleman who said he’d worked for Georgia and implied he’d done more than work sold us a map. The house was around the corner from the map seller, but it was closed to the public. We peered over an adobe wall at it and went to the small museum in town.
Me and Javier on the flatcar. He’s wearing the duster I got him for Christmas the year before.
One of the last things we did with Javier was to ride the Santa Fe Southern Railway. The passenger cars were vintage and so was the steam engine. There was an open flatcar and we went out on that to get a feel for the “High Savannah” as our tour guide called it.
Out on the High Savannah.
Most of these pictures are from that trip. We also went to Los Alamos, NM and I was surprised it was on top of a mesa. It was a harrowing drive up the switchbacks to get up there.
Javier no longer lives in New Mexico, he lives in Omaha, NE now. Maybe that should be our next vacation.