We got to see wonders like under-$3/gal. diesel, mountains blue with distance and black rock peaks rising like islands from a sea of gold fall grasses, a family-run diner with dozens of trucks parked outside, a family-owned diner/bakery with a full parking lot at 3pm on a Sunday, and single gold cottonwood blazing amid a slope of evergreens.
At 80 mph, I saw a stream overhung with gold and green cotton woods, surrounded with gold grasses, and a black horse with its head down grazing at the water's edge. No way I could have taken a real picture, so I may have to paint it.
Yeah. The Southwest isn't that keen on speed limits, and when we have 'em they're a bit... lax about enforcing anything but the wildest of infractions. We were doing 80+ on 75 mph freeways and were probably one of the slower vehicles. I love bombing along like that, and the Passat loves the smooth, long runs.
We did see a whole stretch of freeway where folks had parked along the side in order to go into piñon forest to pick nuts as it's that time of the year.
The morning was pretty solid. We dragged ourselves up around 9, got cleaned off, and Jet was recruited for cookie making while John and I made a quick run to Wagner's. It's the local chile-stop, and we bought a gorgeous, fat, still juicy ristra of red chilies. The bins no longer have green chile, as they've all gone red and ripened and sweetened. In New Mexico, if they offer you red or green chile, it's not a matter of which is hotter, as even the hottest chilies can turn red. It's more a matter of sweeter and fruitier or rawer, like the difference between a red sweet pepper and a green sweet pepper. They had bins of sorted chilies; but with a simple string of chilies, it's a little like culinary Russian Roulette. It might blow your head off one day and be sweet and fruity on the next batch.
Jet really wanted to play Mille Bournes with Walt and Cathie, so they played with John, and I got a few moments on-line through their wireless. It was nice, but when they were done, we had to leave immediately, which is why the partially completed entry for yesterday. I finished it today if you want to peer at it.
We then ran for Trader Joe's as it was a little ways away from the house, but towards the freeway. Yeah. Trader Joe's. We went an extra half hour's drive just to go there and really stock up. It was good, as I was able to get a few things that I normally wouldn't have tried, as we had a cooler. So I bought one of the frozen Opera cakes and some of the refrigerated hummus as well as bakery goods that I could freeze when we got home. Mmm... crumpets.
And as an added bonus, they had a Boba Tea Company in the very same complex. So I got a lavender milk tea with lychee jelly instead of boba, and Jet and I shared it for as long as it lasted.
The run north was pretty relentless. Did one pit stop three hours later, and then lunch at Charlie's Bakery at 3pm. The parking lot, as I said, was still full, obviously the local place to be. It was a family-run bakery, and served breakfast and lunch, and I had the machaca, which is shredded, slow-cooked beef scrambled with eggs, green chilies, corn tortillas, tomatoes, and onions and topped with cheese. Yeah, basically everything and the kitchen sink and served with nicely crisped hash browns and tortillas or toast. *happy sigh*
I drove from then on, and one rest area stop, and the sun went down at 6:30, and the western sky turned such intense lava colors that if I tried to paint it anyone that looked at it would go, that's impossible. The sky itself had filled with haze and clouds, and the clouds made these incredible wave patterns from the wind flows off the peaks of the mountains. The whole drive was alongside the Front Range... so mountains the whole way. Easy to know which way was West.
We hit the Biscuits Diner ("Butter's favorite place to be") in Promise, Colorado, just south of Colorado Springs (famous for ONLY having fast food along the whole I-25 corridor), and got the tired waitress with the big black shoes and that hip cock, you know the one. And she took our orders in an instant, filled our drinks right in front of us, and was great about asking Jet exactly what he wanted. He loved that.
The food was good. John's salad raised no eyebrows and my chicken fried steak was lovely, crisp and so huge I couldn't eat it, and the waitress that cleaned up laughed when I said, "I really loved it but there's no way I could finish it." I suspect that passed her quality inspection, then. Jet's pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs disappeared into him pretty quickly and he was very tickled to have pancakes for dinner.
The next several hours were a little fraught as the DVD player decided that only three Looney Toons could be played in a row before it would scream from overheating and just stop. So Jet and I talked while it cooled, and he doled out peanut butter cookies to both John and myself. That was fun enough, and he got home with enough energy to do his own bedtime routine, and by the time he was in bed it was 10pm... and I was surprised he didn't fall asleep while we read his Paddington Bear story. But it was the one where Paddington takes a blow torch to Mr. Curry's pipes. So I don't exactly blame him for not wanting to miss a moment of it, nor for pounding his pillow as Paddington decides he can do it all himself. Heh.
Jet slept soundly. I think we all did.