Monday, September 25, 2006

The Trip Back.

It has been a few days since our last blog entry and email issue of Tribal Artery. There are several reasons (but no excuses, as the cliché goes, doesn’t it?)

First of the reasons, but of no special significance is that writing is work. Yes, I know. I am a writer (sometimes) and I really do love words and writing. Still, I have yet to meet anyone who writes who doesn’t find it to be work, and time-consuming work, at that.

So, enough about that, except the time-consuming part.

Leaving Early

We left Santa Fe on Monday morning, September 11. Since we always try to travel early in the morning, there simply was not time to write a blog entry and email message the preceding Sunday night, not withstanding my commitment to publishing each Sunday night as a minimum. Actually, we had planned to leave around three o’clock in the morning. We went to bed early, all packed up anticipating departure. At one a.m. both Sue and I sat up in bed and realized that we had run out of sleep. We decided to get in the car and take off even earlier. So, rather than being on the road at four a.m., we were leaving Santa Fe at about two a.m.

In fact, that worked out well. There are few cars on the road during the early hours and it is easy to make good, safe time. We were through Albuquerque and well on our way into the rising sun, crossing into Texas, before first light.

We had decided to try to make the trip one day faster going back. We had traveled for four days and three nights going West. This being our first trip with Taos, the greyhound, and not being sure about how she would travel – or how difficult it would be to find accommodations that would accept pets, we planned our outward-bound trip quite methodically..

It's Always Something

Things went so positively that we figured we could travel longer daily segments and cut the trip down to three days and two nights on the way back to Fort Myers. Our first overnight was in Denton Texas, just north of Dallas. I good long haul from Santa Fe, but not oppressive. We went to bed early that night and expected to get up at three or four the next morning, continuing our early morning mode. Well, morning didn’t come until eight a.m.. Simple math tells you that we were four hours behind from the start of the second day.

We pressed on. Passing around Dallas the eastern leg of the Interstate at about 9:30 a.m., just in time to catch the end of rush hour. Smart Bill, the driver, figured that, with two passengers in the car, we qualified for the high-speed car-pool lane. (Does anyone know what HOV stands for?)

We were zipping along at top Interstate speed as we approached the exit warning signs for Route 20 east. We maneuvered across four lanes to get into the right hand lane. We were rolling along without a concern when, “BLUEY!”

The Worst Sound on the Highway

We lost the right rear tire to a blow out. We said our thanks that we were not in the express lane as we started to hear the wheel rim make breakfast scrabble out of the tire. We were further blessed that we were less than 100 yards from an off-ram. Furthermore, it was a ramp that was under construction so that there was no heavy traffic coming on to it and orange cones to hide the Element behind as we waited for AAA to show up. We even considered it a blessing that the ramp had a grassy knoll (only in Dallas) so that Sue could walk Taos away from the traffic while I kept and eyes open for the AAA truck.

In no time it seemed, a truck pulled up and a guy got out. He surveyed the damage. Like Santa, laying a finger aside of his nose, he went straight to work. All I had to do was unload some of the extra gear we were carrying on the back deck so that we could get at the 50-mile-max temporary spare. In about 10 minutes, he had the spare on the axle. Then, it turned out he was not from AAA but he was a worker on the road construction crew. He saw us broken down and came over, like a Good Samaritan, to help. I didn’t learn that until he was packing up to go. With great gratitude I offered what cash I had in my pocket – we hadn’t gotten to the ATM yet, given our late start.

He declined to take anything, saying, “This just something I do.” As he drove off, the AAA service truck pulled up.

It's Also Alway Something Good

The blessings didn’t cease. At the base of the off-ramp was a u-turn lane going almost directly to a mall with a Sears Tire Center in it. As a result, we put less than a mile on that 50-mile spare before we could get a new tire ordered and mounted. Even that took place quickly since we had beaten the crowd to Sears.

All things considered, as bad as the event of a blow-out on an Interstate could have been, everything fell into place to remind us that, even when bad things happen, there is plenty of “good” to be grateful for. Later, we reflected that even oversleeping had been a blessing. Had we left at our our normal three a.m., we would have been sitting in the dark on the Interstate with a flat tire at about five a.m., before sun-up. And before any stores were open.

We continued east on I-20, taking a different route back, thanks to AAA Trip-Tik routing. Our I-20 destination was Jackson, MS, at which time we would turn south and head for Mobile, where we would meet up with I-10. Eventually, the stress of the day caught up with us so we layed up for the night just south of Jackson.

An early morning departure had us back in our routine and on schedule. That was until we hit Mobile. In a few words, my advice is never get off I-10 in Mobile. It is a carnival of crazy streets, signs and drivers. Granted, there was construction of the bridge over Mobile Bay, due apparently to Katrina damage and recovery. Nevertheless, next time we go near Mobile, it will be through Mobile. Do not collect $200. Do not stop for gas. Just keep rolling until Mobile is further away than it appears in the side view mirror.

Then Came The Rains

Continue on we did, hoping to make it to Fort Myers that night. Hmmm, that’s more miles than we thought. We pressed on, though. After 15 hours on the road, heading across Tampa Bay bridge, we rain into a rainstorm that continued almost all the way to Fort Myers. It was one of those kinds of torrents where smart drivers pull over to the shoulder waiting their wipers to catch up while other drivers find their tires tending to hydroplane. Never fear. This intrepid driver continued driving. What a frightful last two hours of a 17-hour day on the road! Still, it did keep me from getting drowsy.

We arrived in Fort Myers at about 10 PM, unloaded the car and hit the sack. That was Wednesday night. We are still unwinding, unpacking, and getting last minute purchases up on the web. This incurs labeling, inventorying, pricing, photographing, photoshopping, entering items into the web program and uploading pages to the Web service provider. That must be done for each item.

I wish we could say we are done with that. We are not. Although the last of Salvador Romero’s and Lionel Sanchez’s carvings have been posted to the website, there still is some jewelry to go up. We did get a couple dozen Native American cross pendants posted, however. If you are looking for a nice religious pendant, starting as low as $30, check out the crosses pages at Native-JewelryLink. While I am at it, I might as well send you to Salvador’s page at and to the new page we build there to for Lionel Sanchez.

So those are the adventures of William, Sue and the greyhound Taos pretty much up to today.

I do hope to blog some more thoughts on Santa Fe and Native American arts shortly.

I hope I can get something written before the weekend, when I will travel to East Lansing, Michigan, for the 50th homecoming since my graduation. It should be fun since we all are now at the age where we have nothing left to lie about and we have already heard all the lies anyway.

More to come.

Tribal Artery is the blog about tribal art offered periodically by Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its allied web sites at Native-JewelryLink, with gorgeous, genuine American Indian necklaces, bracelets, pendants, pins and earrings; ZuniLink, for hundreds of authentic Native American fetish carvings by Zuni , Cochiti, Navajo and San Felipe artists; Tribal Works, offering a wide selection of tribal art from Africa, Aboriginal Australia, the Arctic and Native America, including Navajo folk art, and Native-PotteryLink, home to the finest in contemporary and historic Native American hand-created pottery, storytellers and nativity sets.