Tumbleweeds are rolling: a chance encounter in the Black Range


After six weeks and six days in Silver City, NM, Max and I loaded up Tumbleweed and headed for home this morning.  Okay, I loaded Tumbleweed.  Max did the heavy panting and pacing – ready to make a mad dash for the car if I somehow “forgot” the poodle.

Tuesday night, my Silver City homegirls gave me a great sendoff dinner:  roast turkey with dressing and gravy (Ellen), roasted brussel sprouts with hazelnuts (my contribution), champagne (compliments of Sue), and ice cream for dessert. Elizabeth came for the preparations and a farewell, but left early due to allergies…

I had been packing and organizing the car all afternoon, and Max must have been having some sort of anxiety about it because he was (in my humble opinion) a pain in the ass for about an hour, before he settled into his usual routine when we all get together.

After hugs and more farewells to Ellen this morning – and vows to return again next winter – we headed downtown to the Three Dogs for my last hit of Silver City’s best java.  Today, I opted for the NOLA (New Orleans style iced coffee) and a cherry housemade poptart.  I said my farewells to Ron, who said he was already missing me, and we went to the dogpark so Max could get one last romp before the road.

His good friend, Jeremy, was there – a long, lean, tan-colored mixed breed (the same age as Max) who is a big goof.  They had a great time running from one end of the park to the other, wrestling in the grass, and just being two goofy overgrown pups together.

As I finally drove out of Silver City, heading east for NM 152 through the Black Range and over to I-25 North, I started crying.  I’ve really come to love Silver City, the vast, omnipresent blue skies, the brown hills, and the gradually greening trees.  Best of all, I’ve come to love my new friends, and the simple life that I carved out of my time there.

I sniffled and snuffled my way out of town, wiping my eyes and feeling a little silly… and as I turned onto 152 about 6 miles out of town, I began to smile.  My old Tumbleweed energy kicked in, and I was ready to make my way once again.

Route 152 through the Black Range is one of those twisting snakey mountain roads that I wrote about on last year’s trip.  As I wound my way up, down, and around, I couldn’t help but think of Rufus – that great and wondrous seeker of adventures and travel.  I think he’d love knowing that I have gone off on these gypsy rambles.

Just before 152 begins its last major descent on the eastern side of the Black Range, there’s a scenic turnout at Emery Pass.  I turned in and drove to the parking area, only to be surprised by a man and woman on horseback, each with a loaded pack horse.

I got out quickly – afraid they might be heading off before I could speak to them – and went over with my iPhone ready to snap a picture.

“I thought I was a Tumbleweed, but look at you two!” I said by way of greeting.  “Are the two of you out on your own, horse camping or what?”

Well, yes and no, as it turned out.  Seems that in the summer of 2008, Art Lamely took off with his horse, Big John, from Broken Bow, Nebraska, to see the US.  Along the way, he met Sue Hemming in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.

She joined him, and the two have been traveling and living on horseback ever since.  They were in Silver City for two months while one of the horses recovered from tangling up in a wire fence.  I had even seen them once or twice but never realized they weren’t a couple of locals!

photo of Art Lamely and his horse, Big John

Art Lamely and his horse, Big John, at the Emery Pass overlook, Black Range, NM.

horses heading off down the road in the Black Range, NM

After they started out down the road, I got Max out for a little stretch and “walkabout” (translate: a pee break).  When we continued our way downhill, I passed Sue, Art, and the horses, and we all wished one another safe journeys and “happy trails.”  I have to say, seeing them really brightened my mood.

We stopped in Williamsburg, just outside of Truth or Consequences, for a late lunch of leftover turkey and dressing.  Max sat so nicely, that I just had to share my lunch with him…

After lunch, I took off my (sort of new) cowboy hat and put it on Max.  He was more than willing to let me take a couple of pix:

photo of Max, the standard poodle wearing a cowboy hat

I think I see that nasty varmint that tried to rustle our turkey!

photo of Max, the standard poodle, wearing a cowboy hat
photo of Max, the standard poodle, wearing a cowboy hat

This is definitely my good side!

Tonight, we are holed up in Albuquerque, and heading off to Amarillo, Texas tomorrow – the site of the infamous 2011 crash of the tumbleweeds…  I expect we’ll make it out the other side just fine.

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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 Arizona, Black Range New Mexico, Coffee, Friends along the way, New Mexico, On the Road, playing with a poodle, Silver City, traveling in a Honda Element, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Tumbleweeds are rolling: a chance encounter in the Black Range

  1. Gandalf says:

    I LOVE the hat! Did you remember all of your friends back home when you bought it???? SM and I are off to Portland tomorrow to see the Pres and stay with Phil, and Karen. Good sweat last night at Chip’s and at Gandalf’s three nights before where the piece de resistance was a mustard curry glazed pork tenderloin on the grill with three different accompanying chutneys. Go ahead. Drool! Oh, and Babe? It’s really good to hear from you. I thought you’d fallen into a cavern! 😉

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Gandalf, do you mean was I thinking about all of you enough to buy one for you??? sorry. not when I bought the boots in El Paso, either! Say hi to the Prez for me tell him the Heartland is in cardiac arrest and needs to be rejeuvenated.

  2. Yay! Tumbleweeds are BAAAACK! Good post, too–love the chance encounter with the horse riders and their story you told me yesterday. Glad you are on your way home, just PLEASE don’t take that wrong left toin at Albakoykee! love, Cin

  3. what a great sendoff for you n max! we look forward to your return visit 🙂 xo

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Katy – it was a great sendoff! It looks like I will hit Asheville next Tuesday. what’s the name of the dog friendly place you and Scott stay there? can’t wait to see you guys! xoxo

  4. Diana Richardson says:

    Mozelle! God, GREAT HAT pics of Nureyev! Esp. the third one; that goes on the cover of Urban Canine.
    I envy you your travels now. What an inspired meeting in the Black Range…..I’d love to do what they’re doing(as you may have guessed). Thanks for sharing the pics. Happy Trails, Homegirl!
    (Wished I’d been to your send-off supper, too! Hi to Silver City Dames!)
    xxooo,
    Diana

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Diana, I agree on the hat pix! He’s quite the stylin doggy ANd I thought of you when I was writing that post. Youd be up in that saddle and raring to go! You and I had some adventures and I hope we get more next year… xoxo, Mozelle

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