We delivered the napkins we had printed as a surprise for the Ben and Maria Elena. I got a tour of the building which was altogether wonderful, and even better for Holly who had helped clean up the yard, and had seen it pre-painting and repairs.
The open/closed sign was fantastic.
Then Holly and I walked a few blocks to a restaurant and were seated next to a great aquarium with big exotic fish and a little spikey-headed orange thing that might have been a squid with ferny parts on its head.
Holly had lasagna and I had grilled chicken, and we had a nice time not being in a moving vehicle.
It was raining. We had the umbrellas we got in England in July 2000.
We walked back up to the gallery, arriving at 6:25 for a reception that was to have started at 6:00. The rain was down to a sprinkle. The place was packed, every room and the porch. Holly and I overheard someone who had walked out onto the sidewalk and was calling her friend and saying "You've got to come to this gallery opening..." I would've taken more photos, but I felt guilty about photographing people who hadn't agreed to be photographed, so apologies to those who wish I hadn't and I wish I'd gotten everybody. Mixed feelings.
Of course, as usual, Holly took the really good photos, but she left again Saturday morning and is still not home from Ruidoso yet.
It was cool.
We might have stayed over, but Holly wanted to go to Ruidoso and Carizozo with a friend of hers the next day, so we started home. It started to rain so hard we couldn't see the road. We were on a two lane highway, and when we'd meet a truck we were drenched and momentarily even more blinded, and we slipped in invisible puddles and fishtailed a few times. Once it seemed we had a blowout. We got out in the rain but the tires were fine. Maybe we had run over part of someone else's tire.
It was so dark and wet that we missed a turn and didn't know it for a while. We ended up ten miles south or so, on (what I see on the map is) 185, also marked as E. Hall St. and North Valley Dr. There were arroyos running across the road. We finally got where the road seemed to be ending (though the map says it doesn't), and there was a border patrol station. We weren't at the border; we weren't even to I-10, but we were at mile marker 24 or 26 (I forget what the solitary young guard said it was) but he said if we went back north to mile marker 31 there was a right turn to Rincon (a teeny town) which would lead us to I-25.
At 31 there was not a road. Holly K-turned to go back and look. REALLY dark. We were squinting through sheets of sky water to look for a road. Nothing. A farm with corrals.
So we called my friend Jeff, in Albuquerque, who looked on a weather map and a road map and helped us get to the freeway. I didn't call my friend Ben for a couple of reasons. He might have wanted to come and save us in person. And also they had just had a really great gallery opening, and they've only been married a couple of years, so I figured they might likely be home having celebratory hot-monkey conjugal relations.
We ended up staying in an antique motel in Truth or Consequences. There were less-antique motels at the far north exit, but we didn't know that until the next morning. Our choice was two rooms with a bathroom between them, or one bedroom with one bed. I was afraid to be separated from Holly in what Marty has referred to in the past as "an Alfred Hitchcock motel," so we shared a bed.
There was a piece of art (a print of a painting, I guess). I believe I understood its message.
It said this to me: "Just be glad there's a bed, and a door you can lock, and running water. You don't have to gather firewood or worry about wolves, bears, snakes, hostile Indians or horny French trappers. There's a flush toilet. So don't even complain." (Click it for more detail and then click again for real close-ups of the work I was not having to do even though we had just left the relatively wild west town of Silver City, New Mexico.)
Here's what we didn't complain about, then:
It was after midnight and we slept.
I woke up at 5:30 or so, we took the key to the mailbox at the front door as requested, and saw this interesting internet sign:
I don't know whether that meant only in the lobby or everywhere. It was down at ground level, unlit, visible through the glass wall of the lobby.
It wasn't on the big sign, which was last really updated when color TV was new:
But when we got on the road there was a great view. Better in person a few seconds before when the sunrise was gold on facets of the mountains in the distance. This one's clickable too. Click twice if you want to. The signs say "Gusty Winds May Exist." I can drive in the morning, but not at night, not for many hours. I get sleepy. But I did drive us home.