The gypsy mojo…

…is back.

Yesterday I wrote that this trip felt different from last year’s since Max had his accident.  I said I was focused on getting from Point A to Point B and letting him rest as much as possible to recover. I ended by saying I hope we both get our gypsy mojo back.

Well, today was exceptional!  First of all, we were driving through some stunning New Mexico landscape.  Crystal clear blue sky, sun hot on my left arm and cheek, nothing on the radio (which is another whole story), and an alert dog in the back.

It isn’t that I forgot how much I love this magnificent big sky, red rock, undulating, bony landscape.  It’s that I forgot it was there.  I’ve been so focused on my wounded pup that I wasn’t anticipating getting knocked over by the beauty all over again.

And I did get knocked over…

Starting with a quick glimpse of a roadside shrine about an hour west of Roswell.

photo of roadside shrine in new mexico

I just got a quick glimpse of this shrine, carved into the rock way up above the road.

I couldn’t just keep on driving, so I made a safe U-turn and went back for photos.

photo of roadside shrine in new mexico

I got almost all the way up to the shrine and couldn’t take another step…

As I made my way up the steep path to the shrine, I started thinking what a crazy-ass idea it was to do this.  Bone-dry gravel, bone-dry vegetation… If I slip, there’s nothing to stop me until I get to the bottom.  Heart pounding, unable to look back down, I took a deep breath and held my iPhone up as high as I could to get this shot.

All the way back down, as I encouraged myself with each careful step, I also was saying, “What a stupid thing to do.  All by yourself…” Yada, yada, yada…

Obviously, I made it safely down!  I didn’t even look at the photo until I was back in the car.  I’m just glad I got a decent shot, because I wasn’t going back up there!

Back on the road, calm again, taking in the day, the light, the deep blue, the dry red, the warmth, and the joy of being alive, of being on the road, of having this great opportunity once again to be out here in the midst of all this aching beauty.

We went through several small towns, each time with me thinking that maybe this one would be worth stopping to walk around in.  And each time, just keeping on, keeping on. Mostly we were just passing by on their fringes, but they were so small, so rundown, so sleepy, so… whatever, that I just wasn’t compelled to stop.

We did stop once to gas up, and have a bathroom break, but other than that it was onward through the brilliant day. Until.

We came to White Sands National Monument.  And I turned in, stopped at the information center, and decided to take us for a side trip.  This was one of the best things we’ve done yet on this trip!  (Well, since we haven’t done that much since Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina, I guess almost any side trip could qualify for this distinction!)

This is also the least expensive National Park admission I’ve encountered anywhere – three dollars, and the pass is good for six days!

When we first drove in, the dunes made me think that I could be driving on Cape Cod.


At the beginning of the drive into White Sands National Monument, you could almost think you were on Cape Cod…

The further we drove, the less vegetation, and the more it looked like snow.  When I found a good spot, I parked Tumbleweed, and got Max out on the 16-foot flexi-lead so he could have some fun.

photo of honda element by sand dunes
Tumbleweed looks pretty darn good there in the sand dunes.

We hiked up some dunes, Max got goofy and was actually running and digging in the sand – a lot like he does in the snow at home.  It was great to see him frisking around again after a week of slow walks, and lots of rest!

I’m going to let the following photos take over, since we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words!

photo of Max at white sands national monument

I guess you can use this one. I look pretty good, don’t I?

photo at white sands national monument

Looks like a snowscape, doesn’t it? They actually have to plow the roads here to keep the shifting sands at bay!

photo of Max at White Sands National Monument

I think this is my good side…

photo of dog paw and foot

Rufus and I used to take pictures of our feet in the water wherever we traveled. I thought a photo of Max’s paw and my foot in the sand was a nice memento of our visit to White Sands, NM.

photo of sand in shoe

Don’t you love the tracks and footprints in the sand? And doesn’t it look like that great dry snow that sort of squeaks underfoot?

All in all, it was a great side trip.  We  got outside in an alien, yet somewhat familiar, landscape, and played around for a little while.  I think Max thought it was snow.  I wonder if he was curious about why it wasn’t cold.

As we continued on, I saw this billboard somewhere and snapped a photo:

photo of billboard with the word BELIEVE

I couldn’t resist this photo. No attribution – just that one word…

And this is the landscape we saw as we left White Sands and headed for the other side of the mountains and our arrival in Las Cruces:

Today, we got our Mojo back.

heart in sand white sands NM

Happy Valentine’s Day from White Sands National Monument!


About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in National Parks, New Mexico, playing with a poodle, South Carolina, traveling in a Honda Element, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The gypsy mojo…

  1. kathy b says:

    i remember going to white sands as a kid what a blast…….

  2. Good post, Momo! And I am so glad to hear you got your Mojo back! xoxo, love, Cin

  3. Buzz Masters says:

    Love it.

  4. hank says:

    wow, momo. wonderful post. great photos and photo captions.
    i particularly loved this (though there was an abundance): ‘this aching beauty’

    • Maureen Farr says:

      yeah, I know. I need an editor sometimes! I corrected my overuse of some other term but I guess I was too carried away to notice all that “aching beauty”! The boy is not feeling so good this afternoon. He opened up the scab on his left shoulder and all he wants is for me to leave the room so he can lick it again! we are safely in Silver City. 64 degrees and sunny…

  5. been 2 that dune makes one swoon like a goon ,hows dah max doin lool n hersh send get well happy valentine to maxie

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Dah Max is feeling a little tender this afternoon. he opened up the scab on his left shoulder again and it looks really raw and sore. I’m monitoring to make sure he doesn’t lick it any more. (he cheated while I left him in the car for a brief time to get groceries)

      We are safely getting settled in Silver City. It’s 64 degrees and sunny! our street is so quiet. all we hear are some birds, and the occasional car on the next street over. I think this will be a good place for him to recuperate…

      Monday the vet wil remove stitches and check over the ouchies. Monday afternoon we have a date with a good dog trainer to work on stop, stay, and recalls.

      thanks to loolie and hershey for the get well wishes. he needs all he can get xoxo

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