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New Mexico

On the second day of the trip, we started out from my great aunt's place in Amarillo, Texas. We followed I-40 up the long climb to Albuquerque (8,000 feet above sea level) fighting a mean headwind the whole way. The 75 MPH speed limit mocked me as I had trouble maintaining a top speed of 60 MPH for most of that stretch of the trip. Things got easier when we turned south.

My mom and I drove to Columbus, New Mexico to pick up a papercrete mixer that a guy there made for me. Mike McCain, the guy, has done a lot to popularize papercrete (though he calls it "fiberous cement" or "fibercrete" -- apparently some company in California claims to own the word "papercrete") and with not-too-much arm twisting, he can be persuaded to build mixers for folks who want to get into fibercrete construction.

Mike lives in Mexico, but he uses an intentional community called City of the Sun in Columbus, NM as his north of the boarder base of operations. City of the Sun residents have build some pretty wild papercrete structures. As I heard it, curiousity seekers made a nuisance of themselves taking photos of these private homes at all hours, so now that portion of City of the Sun with all the funky domes and Tatooinesque houses remains closed to the public.

This entryway to a papercrete dome has a cane and papercrete roof. Beer bottles collected from the side of the highway set in papercrete make for a groovy effect on the inside. The outside with the narrow necks of the bottles sticking out of the wall didn't hold quite the same charm for me as did the effect on the interior.

Note the tires in the fence walls of the dome and in the roof of the house in the background. I plan to build my papercrete house in a more conventional style. I don't think my country neighbors would take kindly to any City of the Sun style cribs inside The Steward Bend Estates.

I bet I could build a Hobbit Hole on the downhill slope of my property (not visible from the road) and get away with it.

We crossed the US/Mexican border a couple of times. After working on one of Mike's projects in Mexico for part of an afternoon and having dinner in Las Palomas, we headed back to the US to bed down in City of the Sun for the night. Mike's dog, Tommy, shows me the proper 'tude for dealing with deadly earnest US Border Guards.


Driving southwest on highway 26 and then later driving south on highway 11 into Columbus, I saw a shape hovering seemingly motionless above the desert. I drove and kept it in sight for about 20 minutes before I dug out my camera and tried to get a photo of it. At the time I took this photo, the thing in the sky remained a UFO. The next day I found out what it was. The blurry thing in this photo is not a UFO, as it did not fly nor constitute an object. The auto-focus grabbed onto the background and blurred out the bb-sized chip in my windsheild.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 30th, 2003 07:00 am (UTC)
i dont think i have been to NM..altho' i might have driven through it...i saw The Missing recently...it was supposed to be NM in the 19th century and it was awe-fucking-somely stunning...didnt know it snowed down there...heartachingly beautiful..well..in the 19th century anyways..its probably not sweeping and desolate like it was supposed to be in the movie...beautiful...that sums it up...thats all i am saying.

p.s. on a movie related note, i also saw The Last Samurai last night in a sneak preview showing. it wasnt overdone...i enjoyed it a lot...made me want to grab Shogun and plow through it all over again...of course, just like shogun, its not a historical tome...but historical fiction is fine with me as long as they dont twist the facts and pass it on as 'true story'...dont miss it..(or The Missing for that matter)
Nov. 30th, 2003 07:15 am (UTC)
Sweeping and Desolate
New Mexico is beautiful, no question.

It's also kinda creepy in a Big Brother kind of way. On the way home, we drove thru the White Sands missle range. Didn't see any missles flying, but we did have to stop at a military check point. Soldiers with rifles asked my mother and I about our citizenship and destination without asking us to provide any documentation to verify our claims. I imagine they just needed us to stop long enough to take our photographs and get our liscense plate and the questions were just time-fillers.

I'll look for The Missing and The Last Samurai on DVD.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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